Breathing Space: The Benefits of Aerating Your Lawn

If you’re going to overseed or reseed your lawn, aerating is a vital step in the process. Even if you’re not doing so, aerating will give your lawn some breathing space and nutrients, keeping it green and strong.

Essentially, aeration is nothing more than poking holes in your lawn. However, this simple act is very powerful. Plants, like humans, need oxygen to live. After time, soil gets compacted which blocks oxygen – and vital nutrients – from reaching your lawn’s roots. Compaction results from mowing and even just walking on the lawn. The first two to three inches of soil get compacted the most.

In addition to making it easier for your lawn to breathe and be fed, aeration helps roots grow, prevents water runoff and makes your lawn more drought tolerant. These all work together to make a healthier lawn. Warm-climate lawns, mostly Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, Buffalo grass, and St. Augustine grasses, are best aerated in late spring or early summer.

Their cool-season cousins – fescues, for instance – are best aerated in the fall and spring. After which, they benefit from an every-other-year aeration. Thick lawns, though, usually need aeration every year to keep them healthy and green, as well as pest- and disease-free and easier to maintain. It will depend on how your lawn is accepting water and nutrients; whether or not to aerate more often.

Aeration is a really simple process. If your lawn is relatively small, a hand-held aerator will do nicely. You can pick these up at your local Hydro-Scape. Larger lawns can require a lot of labor, though, so we recommend renting a power-driven core aerator (also called an aerifier). These machines employ spoon-shaped tines or hollow tubes that are driven into your lawn. The machine removes small cores of soil that can be raked in or left for the rain to dissolve over a period of a few weeks. If you choose to rake them in, rake in one direction and then rake again in a perpendicular path.

Giving your lawn some extra boosters such as granulated gypsum and top-dressing with quality topsoil according to package instructions also helps your lawn stay healthy and beautiful. After aeration is a great time to add these boosters since the soil is less compacted and it it will further enhance your soil’s ability to take in water and nutrients.

Stop by your local Hydro-Scape branch for tips, solutions and necessary products such as rakes, aerators, gypsum, top-soil and lawn fertilizers.