Turf Aeration

Techniques for aerating your turf

If you want that your lawn should look splendid and have a great life ahead then its important that the lawn should be aerated as much as it should be watered and fertilised in the right way.

Aerating a lawn is a simple mechanical procedure where you would pull out plugs of the turf or simply the soil out of the lawn. But don't confuse it with spiking the lawn, which is a completely different process.

Before we move on to the process of aerating the lawn, let's know the reasons why it should be done

Reasons for aerating your turf

Imagine if you had to grow grass in cement, it would be pretty hard for the root system to work its way. In a similar way after the rough hot summer is over, the soil becomes extremely hard or compact. This doesn't allow the root system to grow. To relieve the soil of this compactness, aeration of the lawn becomes necessary.

When you pull out the plugs from the soil, in the process roots are actually pulled out or sliced. This actually helps the root system as a new root shoot or a "rhizome" is formed. It helps the roots to become thicker and helps the lawn become healthier and fuller.

Now if you have a really dense lawn, then there won't be any space for the weeds to grow. This naturally means that with aeration of the lawn, you have an effective weed control mechanism.

When you aerate your lawn annually, the level of thatch is automatically maintained in the lawn. The aeration of the lawn brings microorganisms from within the soil that eat away at the thatch and control the problem naturally. Thatch can become a problem really if it exceeds between 2 ¾ - 3 inches.

When you plug out your turf, you are allowing for better water abortion and nutrients by the healthy turf and root system.

By simply doing aeration on a regular basis, you are able to combat a lot of problems all at once.

There are two ways in which you can aerate your lawn

You can of course do it on your own and rent the equipment. But be sure that it's quite a physically demanding work. You may have to shell out quite steeply, but then you could join hands with your neighbours and take turns at aerating the lawns as well as splitting down the cost.

Secondly you could employ a company to do the work for you. But remember that it will push up the costs by as much as 2-3 times than if you were do it by yourself. Make sure that the company that you have hired to do the work is reputable and has insurance.  The biggest advantage of hiring a company is that you won't be sore all over but of course your wallet will be a lot lighter.

How to aerate the lawn

It's very important that you use the right kind of tool for aerating your lawn. Buying a lawn aerator could cost you £100-150.  This equipment could be pneumatic and you should get at least 12 months warranty when purchasing the product.

Spike vs. plug aerators

There are essentially two types of aerators that are available and these are spike aerators and the other one are plug or core aerator. Many people find that using the spike aerator doesn't open up the soil like it should normally do. While the core or the plug aerator uses a spoon like mechanism too literally scoop out the plugs of the soil and the grass. The core or the plug aerator is also more expensive than the spike aerator.

The condition of the lawn also matters when you are trying to aerate the lawn. If the soil is extremely dry, then it becomes very difficult to aerate the lawn. Its better if you wetter the lawn and let it retain the moisture before using the aerator machine. The soil plugs come out easily and you don't have to spend as much time as you have to when it's dry.

Aeration can be done at any time of the year, but its done best when the soil is wet. Early spring is a good time to do aeration of the lawn. Aerate the lawn before any application of pre-emergent products as aeration can render the barrier set up by the pre emergent products useless.

Also its best if you use the machine at the same speed, as you would mow the lawn since it pulls out the soil plugs efficiently. But if you go any faster, then the machine isn't able to pull out the plugs very efficiently and the lawn isn't aerated well.

Properly done aeration increases the life of the lawn and makes it thicker