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Blog: How To Aerate Your Lawn

how to aerate your lawn 30 Apr 2019

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 to alleviate these issues and improve the health and appearance of your lawn. Read on to find out more about aeration and how to aerate your lawn.

What is lawn aeration?

Lawn aeration is the process of making small holes in the soil, all over your lawn. This can be done in a number of different ways, but these holes help to 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 machine to get the job done quickly and professionally.

Why should you aerate your lawn?

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

What is an aerator?

An aerator is a machine that is used to aerate lawns, as well as gardens, golf courses, sports fields and more. These machines are mounted on wheels and they feature a set of tines or spikes that penetrate the ground in order to create holes in the soil and aerate the ground. 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. We have petrol lawn aerator hire available nationwide. Enquire online or over the phone for more details.

What is the difference between solid tine and hollow tine aeration?

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 helps to improve drainage. Whereas 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 grass roots 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.

When should you aerate your lawn?

You should aerate your lawn during growing season - either in spring or early autumn. This will give your grass the opportunity 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.

How to aerate your 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 up the machine. You can book a lawn aerator hire to get a high quality, professional standard machine to do the job properly.

Squeeze the operating handle to engage the tines. The tines underneath the machine 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 just as you would a lawn mower. 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 that 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 effectively aerate 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 lawn mower 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.

Then simply 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.

Lawn aerator hire

We have petrol lawn aerator hire available nationwide. You can book an aerator hire online or over the phone with our hire team and you can opt for either solid tines or hollow tines. Once you have booked a hire, you can collect the machine from your local store at the start of the hire period or we can deliver it to you. Please note that our aerators are in very high demand during spring / early autumn, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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