Aeration, or core cultivation, is a standard in lawn care. Aerating a lawn means supplying the soil with air, usually by poking holes in the ground throughout the lawn using an aerator.
Aeation reduces soil compaction and helps control thatch in lawns while helping water and fertilizer move into the root system.
You can top dress in spring and fall with a light layer compost to help improve your soil. You can aerate the lawn before applying to help the compost work its way into the soil.
High traffic areas are hard to relieve without reworking the soil. Aerating twice a year during the spring and fall may help.
A lawn can be aerated at any time the ground is not frozen but should not be done when it is extremely hot and dry. Heavy traffic areas will require aeration more frequently.
Aeration is most effective when actual cores or plugs of soil are pulled from the lawn. Holes should be two to three inches deep and no more than two to four inches apart. Lawns should be thoroughly watered the day before aerating so plugs can be pulled more deeply and easily.
Mark all sprinkler heads, shallow irrigation lines, and cable TV lines before aerating so they will not be damaged.
On thatchy lawns, it is important to leave the cores on the lawn, allowing them to work back into the grass. Otherwise, the cores may be removed or left on the lawn. Lawns may be fertilized and seeded immediately after aeration. There is no need to top dress lawns following aeration.
Thatch is the tangled mat of organic matter above the ground and below the crown of the plant.
Thatch acts as a natural mulch to retain moisture, lower soil temperature, cushions crown, and discourages the germination of weed seeds.
Too much thatch can cause shallow rooting, nutrient imbalance, and invasions of insects and diseases.
Aeration is removing plugs from the lawn. Power raking is removing debris, generally around or between the grass plants.
Thatch is made up of organic matter and living plants.
Thatch develops when the organic matter accumulates faster than organisms can break it up.
These factors include improper mowing, fertilization, and watering too frequently with light applications.
Look for dry and dead patches and areas that are very spongy. Also remove a wedge of the turf and examine.
Thatch that is ½ inch or less is generally not a problem.
You can reduce your thatch problem by controlling your fertilization procedures and by watering and mowing properly.
Although there are differences of opinion, power raking should be done prior to the grass greening up.
Yes. By removing grass clippings prior to power raking, it means there is less debris to pickup.
After you have finished raking, fertilize and irrigate.
Aeration improves drainage and opens the thatch so water and oxygen can reach the roots. Coring aids in root growth and relieves compaction.
The best times are early spring and late fall.
Light watering before you aerate allow the tines to more easily penetrate the sod and remove the plugs.
Yes. In heavy traffic areas, the soil is compressed so that there isn’t a free movement of air, nutrients and water into the soil. Aeration helps to loosen the compacted areas.
Yes. Make one pass with the aerator, and then make a second pass at right angles to the first.
Leaving the plugs on top help break down thatch because they carry microorganisms that decompose organic matter.
Core aeration is the summer exposes roots to excessive heat and drying.