The job of Aerating is one of the leased used and undervalued lawn care tasks that can give huge benefits and instant results for a better lawn. Over the season the lawn will have many feet trampling all over and lawnmowers pushed over it. When the soil is wet any traffic at all will greatly compact the soil around the grass roots. This in turn will result in many lawns deteriorating over time due to soil compaction. This along will poor management of thatch (dead grass and organic matter just above the root zone) can add further to a poor lawn.
What is aeration?
Aeration is term used to describe the task that helps fight against the problem of excessive thatch and soil compaction.Soil compaction is best described as the soil particles begin crushed together and leaving very little spaces between them. This results in very little room for root growth and hugely reduces the oxygen levels in the soil that is so important for root growth and plant health. Having no spaces in the soil particles also tend to hold water leading to poor drainage and general wet soil.
When to carry out aeration?
Aeration is a job that should not be dictated by the time of year more of when it is needed. The process will greatly encourage strong growth and produce an all round healthier turf that will be more resistant to disease and weed infestation.
There are three types of tines used in the aeration of lawns. Solid tine can be as simple as using a garden fork and it is good for lawn where the soil is very compacted. Secondly is the slit tine, this is used to severe the roots and stolons to encourage root and shoot growth. Thirdly is the hollow tine, this relieves compaction by removing a core of soil and root and is great for reliving drainage problems as a very sandy mix can be incorporated afterwards to the root zone.
All of the above can be used as hand tools but where a larger lawn is concerned then mechanical options can be bought of hired.
How to aerate
Always work in straight lines moving backwards as you go, this will make it easier to see where you have been. Try and make sure that you aerate the lawn evenly as this will ensure a uniformed look to your lawn. Ideally this should be spacing of 10 - 20cm and to a depth of 15 - 25cm. If you are treating a heavily compacted lawn then remember to pull back on the fork when inserted until you see the lawn lift. This may be very physical work and time consuming but it will make a huge difference to your lawn.