Id Buy Missouri Scannable com Premiumfakes Ids Id Buy Missouri Scannable com Premiumfakes Ids Well-maintained lawns produce healthy, lush, green grass. Mowing and fertilizing are only two parts of the process; aeration and dethatching are also in the mix. Aeration is the removal of grass and soil plugs. Dethatching thins out layers of dead grass and roots. Whether you prefer to use a manual or machine corer, aerating the lawn improves water movement and relieves compaction of the soil. The time to aerate your lawn, either in the spring, summer or fall, depends on where you live and the type of grass in your lawn.
Removing thatch is important for a lawn’s overall health and should be done before you aerate. Thatch consists of roots, stems, rhizomes and other debris that decay. It builds a layer between the soil’s surface and the grass blades, making it hard for water to get through. Dethatch your lawn at least once a year or when the thickness of the layer is more than 1/2 inch deep. The best time to dethatch, for both warm- and cool-season grasses, is when the turf is growing -- late spring or early fall.
You can aerate a lawn by hand or with a machine. Core aerators extract small plugs of grass and soil, about 1/2 inch wide, and leave them on the lawn. The holes are generally 1 to 6 inches deep and about two to six inches apart. Some models use spikes to dig into the soil but they do not remove sod. Manual aeration tools have hollow cylinders to push into the grass and extract the plugs. Choosing the type of aeration system to use may depend on how large your lawn is and the type of grass in it.
Simply put, aerating the lawn helps it breathe better. Removing soil plugs helps to increase oxygen levels and strengthen the grass’ roots. It allows water and nutrients to travel to the roots. The aerator severs rhizomes, stolons and roots so grass plants can produce new shoots. The grass turf thickens when cored holes are filled by spreading roots. Aerating the lawn helps it store more water and tolerate drought better.
When to Aerate
The time for lawn aeration depends on where you live, the type of grass growing and the weather. Late August to mid September is the best time to aerate Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-season grass lawns, such as tall fescue, because the grass begins growing again after its summer dormancy. If the weather is good, you can safely aerate into October. For warm-season grasses such as zoysia, centipede, Bermuda, carpet and Kikuyu, June and July are good months to aerate. These grasses grow well in the hotter climates of the southern and western United States.
How to Aerate
Choose a time when the soil is moist but not soaking wet. If the soil is too dry, the corer tubes will not be able to push deeply into the sod. If the grass is saturated, the tubes may get clogged with dirt. Each square foot of lawn should have about 20 to 40 holes in it; the number will depend on the type of aerator coring system you use. After aerating, go back through the area in the opposite direction. Crush up the cores with a rake and let them settle into the grass or leave the plugs intact; they should break down within a few weeks.
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How Often to Aerate
Frequency of aeration depends on the individual lawn. Test the soil by driving a screwdriver into the turf. The lawn does not need aeration if the screwdriver enters the soil easily. If the screwdriver must be forced or is difficult to get through, it's time to aerate. Testing the soil when it is moist is generally easier than doing so when it is dry.
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: When to Dethatch 2009 cdn Index 627 5 Of
- California Department of Pesticide Regulation: How to Have a Healthy Lawn, Healthy Environment
- Iowa State University Extension: Home Lawn Aeration
- Ohio State University Extension: Natural Organic Lawncare for Ohio
- The Lawn Institute: Improving a Lawn: Five Common Mistakes
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images