What is aeration?
Aeration is a lawn maintenance procedure. Quite simply it is the process of putting hundreds upon thousands of holes in your lawn, either by machine and or manual labour with spiked rollers or pitchfork. This has been a common practice for years in the professional turfgrass industry due to its many benefits to improving turf and soil health, and is now performed more and more on home lawns for the same reasons. The main purpose of aeration is to combat compaction, as compacted soils will prevent the circulation and movement of air, water and nutrients within the root-zone which is vital when ensuring plant health.
Why does your lawn need aerating?
When looking at your lawn it is hard to tell whether compaction is a problem or not. Yes there are signs to look for such as moss, excessive water pooling and so on, but without the ability to look at the cross section of your profile it is difficult to diagnose. Compaction can happen relatively easy, and you might not know. It can be as easy as excessive foot traffic, pets, cars, and kids which all contribute to compaction.
What are the benefits.
- Reduce soil compaction
- Better oxygen transfer between your root-zone and the atmosphere
- Better uptake of nutrients and effectiveness of amendments
- Improve the root-zone moisture characteristics of your plot
- Minimise water run-off and erosion
- Increase water uptake by the turfgrass
- To provide pore space to help root promotion and strength
- Improve of plant health
- The ability to work on and adjust your pH levels through greater effectiveness from soil amendment applications
- Can also assist in reducing thatch
- The ability to add different soil mediums as top dress sand and organics to your profile
- Will help prevent the onset of dry patch
- Allow you to feed, amend and protect your lawn with ease during renovation - Improve your lawns resistance to disease
Mechanical hollow tine aerator.
This is the most popular and effective way to maximise this process. This machine can remove a core sample of soil from your root-zone and ejecting it onto your lawn as it goes through its motion.
Solid tine aerator.
Although making holes in your root-zone is a good thing, the difference with a solid tine aerator is that the soil around where the tine penetrates is compressed as it must go somewhere. Therefore, it can contribute to the compaction of the soil surrounding the tine hole.
A simple aeration hack that can be done by the homeowner is a drill and auger bit, it is hard work, but you can achieve the same benefits as a hollow tine aerator.
Aerating time - Simple pointers.
Investigate, locate, and identify all your services to avoid unforeseeable damage – electrical power, water mains, irrigation, stormwater, phone, internet.
Ensure the profile is moist to maximise penetration into the root-zone.
The soil plugs that have been removed during coring can be allowed to dry and breakdown naturally, spread with a level lawn as part of the topdress, or collected and removed. There are no rules here, it is completely up to the individual. After your lawn has been aerated there is no better time than right now to get your products out. This can mean soil amendments, soil wetters, fertilisers, insecticides and pre-emergent herbicides. The more you can do for your soil immediately post aeration the better the results later. For those that have already applied a pre-emergent herbicide prior to the aeration, there are now studies out that show aeration after the application of a pre-emergent will not affect the residual barrier you have in place.
When to aerate.
You can aerate all year round and as many times as you see fit. Generally, prior to the onset of winter and during spring or early summer as part of the lawn renovation when the growing season begins, are the best times to enhance plant health. Different soil types within a root-zone can determine how often you should aerate, with those on a clay base being aerated more often than those on a sandy loam.