Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
As a lawn becomes more mature, typically the soil beneath it will become more compacted. This compaction will eventually harm the lawn as the roots are less able to penetrate the soil and get the moisture and nourishment they need. In order to rejuvenate your lawn, you should aerate the soil from time to time to improve its permeability.
There are several low-tech methods you can use to determine whether or not your lawn would benefit from being aerated. The simplest method is to drive a screwdriver into the soil. If the screwdriver penetrates the soil easily, aeration is not required at this time.
Another method is to dig up a small section of your lawn that is at least six inches deep. Examine how far the grass roots penetrate into the soil. If the grass roots are only one or two inches deep, the roots are having difficulty penetrating the soil, and aeration is recommended. The more clay there is in your soil, the more essential it is to aerate the soil every few years. Lawn aeration can be done in either late spring or early fall.
There are several different methods you can use to aerate your lawn effectively. If you have a large lawn, the most practical method is to rent or borrow a large lawn aerating machine for a day or two. The drums of these machines are studded with hollow tubes that remove plugs of soil from the lawn and deposit them on the lawn surface. Do not remove these dirt cores. They will disintegrate within a matter of weeks. You can also use a machine that simply punches holes in the soil, but this will be less effective.
If your lawn is quite small, you can use a manual method to aerate the soil. The simplest way to aerate your soil manually is to use a pitchfork. Simply insert the tines of the pitchfork at a forty-five degree angle several inches deep into the soil and push it into the soil using your foot. Space the holes three or four inches apart. This method of aerating the lawn may seem tedious but it has the advantage that it costs nothing and you will get several hours of exercise. One or two days before you plan to aerate your lawn, you should rake the grass very thoroughly using a rigid metal rake in order to remove the thatch cover that builds up on lawns over time. The day before you aerate, water the lawn very well in order to make the soil more penetrable. Whichever aerating technique you decide to use, you will find that your lawn will benefit from being aerated periodically.
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