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How To Aerate A Lawn

Last Updated: June 13, 2024

How to Aerate a Lawn 0 comments 13 Jun 2024

How to Aearate a Lawn

  • Mow the grass. You should mow the grass a couple of days before you aerate the lawn. Aerators work much better when the grass is shorter, and core collection is much easier afterwards.
  • Check soil moisture. The soil in your lawn should be moist when you aerate it, as aerator tines may struggle to penetrate the ground properly if the soil is dry. If there has been no rain recently, it is best to water the lawn a day or two before aerating.
  • Get the aerator into position. Position the aerator at one end of your lawn and use the pull cord to start the machine.
  • Squeeze the operating handle to engage the tines. The tines underneath the aerator will begin to rotate. Lower the tines on to the lawn using the lever on the machine. As you do this, the wheels will engage and you can begin to walk forward at a steady pace, to ensure consistent aeration throughout the lawn.
  • Work in straight lines. Use the aerator the same way as you would use a lawnmower. Walk in a straight line to the end of the lawn, raise the tines, turn the machine around and reposition the aerator next to the strip you have just aerated. Then you can lower the tines again and carry on walking to complete another strip.
  • Repeat until you have covered the entire lawn. One pass with a petrol powered aerator should be enough to aerate your lawn effectively.

What is an Aerator?

An aerator is a machine that aerates lawns, gardens, golf courses, sports fields and more. They have wheels and feature a set of tines or spikes that penetrate the ground, creating holes in the soil and aerate the earth.

Aerators can be fitted with either solid or hollow tines, to suit the needs of different lawns. These machines are either electric or petrol powered and they provide a professional way of aerating garden lawns and other areas of land.

What is Aeration?

Lawn aeration is the process of making small holes in the soil, all over your lawn. You can do this many different ways, and these holes help relieve soil compaction, improve drainage, and allow vital air, nutrients, and water into the soil, therefore improving root growth and the overall health of the grass in your lawn.

You can use a lawn aerator to get the job done quickly and professionally. Aerating your lawn is a key gardening practice for ensuring full, thick, rich and healthy grass growth. If your grass is patchy and yellowing and the soil is compacted, then aerating your lawn can help alleviate these issues and improve your lawn's health and appearance.

What is the Difference Between Solid Tine & Hollow Tines?

The difference between solid tines and hollow tines is that solid tines punch into the soil, just like a garden fork, and this allows air, water and nutrients into the ground and improves drainage.

Hollow tines penetrate the soil and remove small cores of earth from the ground and deposit them on to the surface of the lawn. This improves more severe compaction issues, gives grassroots more space to grow and allows water, air and nutrients to feed the roots.

Solid tine aeration offers a general maintenance solution for already well established lawns, whereas hollow tine aeration offers a solution for more severe compaction problems. Hollow tines are also the best option for lawns with high clay content soil.

Why Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

Grassroots need air, water and nutrients to grow healthily. If the soil in your garden has become compacted, often due to poor weather conditions or heavy foot traffic, it is difficult for water, air and nutrients to penetrate the soil and reach the grassroots.

Aerating your lawn alleviates compaction, improves drainage, gives grassroots more space to grow, and allows air, nutrients and water to penetrate through the soil and reach the grassroots. Over time, this results in richer, healthier and thicker grass growth.

Do You Need to Aerate Your Lawn?

If your lawn seems to dry out easily, feels spongy, features excessive thatch, or soil layering - you can benefit from aerating the area to resolve compaction and improve drainage.

If the lawn is part of a newbuild, or there has been recent construction work near it, aeration can help if the ground has become compacted by machinery and materials.

Well used lawns, such as playing fields, parks, public gardens, and anywhere else that could have a lot of foot traffic, often suffer from soil compaction. Lawn aeration is ideal for lawn maintenace in that situation.

When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

You should aerate your lawn during the growing season - either in spring or early autumn. This allows your grass to recover and grow to its full potential. If you aerate the lawn too early, before the last of the winter frost, you can cause more damage than good. For best results, aerate once a year to maintain the upkeep of your lawn.

After You Have Aerated Your Lawn

If you use hollow tines to aerate your lawn, the machine will leave small cores of earth behind that it has removed from the ground. You should try to avoid running the cores over with the wheels of the aerator, as this can make them difficult to remove from the lawn.

Leave the cores on the ground at first and allow them to dry. Then you can rake them together, collect them and compost them. Alternatively, you can break them down and spread the soil over your lawn and over borders, or use a lawnmower over them, without the grass collection box (if the instructions will allow). A rotary lawnmower will break down the cores and redistribute them over the lawn. This means that the nutrients within the soil can be recycled to benefit the lawn. You should not leave the cores to decompose on the surface of the lawn, as it may develop a bumpy and uneven finish.

Follow general good lawn maintenance practices, such as regular watering, mowing and the occasional lawn feed. Over time, this will result in a much richer, healthier, greener and more beautiful lawn.

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