All the late winter rains have been great, and I can’t wait to see all of the wildflowers that should soon be blooming! Hopefully, most of the rain did some good on your property, rather than just runoff. One way to keep water on your lawn and help you have a stronger, healthier yard, is aeration. I know I’ve spoken about aeration before, but will do it again! It’s just so good for the soil!
Lawn aeration is a great way to help your lawn stay viable and healthy, it encourages deep root growth of the grass by providing space for the roots to grow, which helps with drought tolerance. With more space, the water that is applied to the lawn (either rain or sprinklers) will now go down further into the soil, rather than running off. I highly encourage everyone to have their lawn aerated annually to promote the root growth, help erase some of the compaction issues that some of our lawns face (I know I walk on the same trail in my backyard all the time, which only adds to compaction), and help with some thatch issues. This all boils down to the fact that you won’t have to water as much, which is a huge benefit too…we ARE still in a drought.
The picture to the right shows the soil cores that are removed from a lawn during the aeration process.
To make getting your lawn aerated a little more lucrative, the Water Conservation Program is introducing a new rebate program for a limited time this spring/summer–a lawn aeration rebate! The rebate is up to $50 rebated back to you, after you have your lawn aerated. You can rent a machine and do it yourself (but they are pretty heavy!) or hire someone or a lawn company to do it for you. Simply fill out the application and submit it along with a copy of the paid invoice for the service.
The rebate is only a pilot, to see how much interest there is in it, so no applications will be accepted after August 30, 2015.
I came across a good website (aerate-lawn.com) the other day about lawn aeration, and the numerous benefits associated with it. It was timely for me, as I was discussing the same topic with some colleagues recently. Lawn aeration is crucial to having a healthy yard that requires less water. We’ll discuss how, but first:
What is aeration? It’s the process of pulling soil plugs out of the yard mechanically, not just poking holes in the ground. (In the top picture on the right, you can see the round, tube-like plugs of soil.)
You want the plugs pulled out of the lawn, because that’s where the benefits happen, you’re creating space for the water, roots, and air to get into the soil. By simply poking holes in the ground, you’re creating more soil compaction.
- Reduces your dependency on water. Why spend more money watering your lawn than you have to?
- Aerating encourages your roots to grow deeper. Within two weeks of aerating, you’ll notice that the holes left by the aerator start to fill up with plant roots. These roots are growing thicker and deeper.
- Lawn aerator holes help to absorb water. Rather than water having to start penetrating from the surface, it can start penetrating from one to 2 ½ inches below the surface. Not only will the holes made by the aerator hold the water, but they will also help the water to sink 2 inches deeper into the soil.
- It encourages thicker turf. As your roots grow down, your grass will grow quicker and thicker, creating a thicker turf.
- Using a lawn aerator helps build organic material in the soil. Compacted soil just doesn’t have nearly as much organic material in it.
- Reduces soil compaction. Aerating also reduces compaction on the roots.
- Your lawn stays greener because it doesn’t need as much water to stay green, and because deeper roots have more access to nutrients.
- Aerating adds a layer of top-dressing to your lawn. Aerating your lawn is like giving it top-dressing. This reason alone makes me want to aerate my lawn twice a year.
- Lawn aeration reduces runoff. If you’ve ever watered your lawn, only to see it all run off into the street, you know what I’m talking about. When you aerate your lawn, the water goes into the ground and not just over the top of it.
- Lawn aeration, as the name implies, makes it easier for your lawn to breathe. Your lawn can more readily exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment when you aerate it.
After talking with landscape professionals, I heard various recommendations to my question, “when is the best time to aerate?” The overall answer is, really, there is no bad time, you can’t aerate too much! But really, you want to do it while the grass is growing, so not during winter months.
Locally, many landscape companies provide this service, and there is at least one place I know of that rents an aerator.
Find many more reasons to aerate your lawn online.