Lawn aeration all you need to know

Lawn aeration explained

Lawn aeration is the process of creating small holes in the ground to improve drainage, prevent water-logging roots, aid air circulation and help improve nutrient uptake.

Compacted soil can prevent air, water, and nutrients from reaching grass roots. Aeration alleviates compaction and allows these essential elements to reach the roots, resulting in a healthier lawn. Over time, a layer of dead grass clippings and other organic matter can build up on the surface of your lawn, creating a barrier that prevents air, water, and nutrients from reaching the roots. Aeration helps to break up this layer, called thatch, and improve the health of your lawn.

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Process of a lawn aeration:

There are two common ways to carry out an aeration of a lawn:

Solid tine

Solid tine aeration is a process used to improve soil structure and promote healthy grass growth by creating small holes in the soil without removing any material. This allows air, water, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the soil and reach the grassroots, promoting stronger and healthier growth. Solid tine aeration is typically done using a machine with solid tines that puncture holes in the soil, breaking up compacted soil and reducing thatch buildup. This process helps to improve drainage, reduce soil compaction, and promote a healthier root system for the grass.

Hollow tine

Hollow tine aeration is a process used to relieve soil compaction and improve air circulation within the soil. It involves the use of a specialized machine that removes small cores or plugs of soil from the lawn or turf area. These cores are typically 2-3 inches deep and allow for better penetration of oxygen, water, and nutrients into the root zone of the grass plants. This process helps to promote healthy root growth, reduce thatch buildup, and improve overall turf health. Hollow tine aeration is typically done in the spring or autumn when the grass is actively growing and weather conditions are conducive to recovery.

Once either method has been put into practice it is then optional to follow this up with an overseed, top dressing, fertiliser application all of which will be aided by the small holes that have been created from the aeration.

How often should a lawn be aerated?

The ideal aeration schedule for your lawn depends on a few factors:

• Soil type: Clay soil is more prone to compaction and benefits from aeration more frequently, as much as twice a year. For other soil types annually is a good rule of thumb.

• Lawn age: New lawns with less mature root systems can benefit from aeration annually to help them establish strong roots.

• Traffic: Lawns with high traffic and that are regularly used by children as well as lawns near patios and walkways tend to get compacted more easily and will need aerating every year.

• Lawn health: If your lawn is patchy, has poor drainage, or is generally unhealthy, aeration can help. In this case, aeration may need to be carried out more frequently until the lawn recovers.

• Clay soil or high traffic: Aerate up to twice a year.

• New lawns: Aerate annually.

• Other lawns: An annual aeration is recommended.

Ideal conditions:

The ideal ground condition for aeration is moist, but not soggy. Here's a breakdown of why:

Moist soil:

• Moist soil is easier to penetrate with aeration tools. This allows you to create clean holes without crumbling or compacting the soil further.

• Moist soil also allows the holes to stay open, which is crucial for air and water to reach the roots.

Not soggy:

• Soggy soil will compact easily under the weight of the aerator, making the process more difficult and potentially counter productive. Additionally, when very wet, the sides of the holes can smear shut, defeating the purpose of aeration.

• The best time to aerate often coincides with the naturally moist seasons, like spring or autumn. By aerating with moist soil, you'll create clean holes that stay open, allowing for optimal air and water movement to reach the grass roots.

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