11 Nov LAWN AERATION: VITAL FOR HEALTHY LAWNS
Just like you, your lawn and its soil need to breathe. Over time, soil becomes compacted and “full” of solid particles in a constrained space, preventing the proper circulation of air, water and nutrients which are vital for strong grass roots. Aeration is particularly important in extreme weather conditions such as heat and low rainfall/ drought.
What is aeration and how to apply this to your lawn?
Aeration is the act of perforating the soil to loosen it, allowing air, water and essential nutrients to “flow” through easily. Landscape companies and instant lawn farms like ourselves have machines to do this but if you’re a ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of person, then a simple garden fork will do the trick! Push the fork into the ground (about 2-3cm in depth) and move it around slightly allowing the holes to widen. Alternatively, purchase a tool known as a spike aerator to make the job easier and faster.
Signs that you need aerate your lawn.
In general, frequent aeration of your garden is a must but life happens, and this important step is often overlooked.
It’s not hard to tell when your lawn needs a little bit of love and if the following signs start to show, you should seriously consider “aerating”.
- Dry hard soil.
If your soil is hard to the touch and you notice that rainwater is gathering where is used to be absorbed, you need to aerate. If you can slide a screwdriver into your lawn easily, you are good, but if the soil “puts up a fight”, you have compaction problems and it’s time to aerate.
- Thin and colourless grass.
In the puzzle that is gardens, if you are taking care of your lawn but it is still growing thin and unhealthily, then lawn aeration is probably the missing piece!
- Lawn is often stepped on.
Your lawn is often the playground for furry friends and children, but this also causes the soil to compact and become unhealthy. Frequent aeration will ensure a healthy garden playground.
When should you aerate?
Although aeration is important for your lawn, if timed incorrectly, it can further stress your grass; don’t aerate if grass is too wet or too dry, but rather after a light irrigation or rainfall from the day before. If your lawn is healthy or you have a sandy soil, which is hard to get compacted, you can aerate every two to three years. However, if your lawn seems stressed, or gets heavy traffic, or has a clay soil, it will need to be aerated every year.
Our step-by-step guide on aeration.
- Mow your lawn before aeration.
- Go over the most compacted places more than once.
- If you have a severely stressed garden, aerate the entire area several times.
- The second round of aeration should be done perpendicular to the first.
- Leave the plugs of soil on top of the lawn and let them dry. Later, break them down by running over them with a mower or beating them with the back of a rake. However, if you have clay soil, remove the core or plugs of soil altogether. Instead, top dress the lawn.
- Cover the aerated lawn with screened topsoil mixed with compost.
- After the full aeration, water your grass thoroughly.
- During the next couple of weeks water the lawn every 2-3 days to keep it moist.