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.