Lawn Aeration: Why, How, When?
Why does your lawn need aeration?
Aeration of the lawn relieves compaction, increases air, water and nutrient movement to the roots, and helps roots grow deep. Aeration also helps break down lawn thatch (the layer of dead grass and other organics) on the surface of the soil.
How is a lawn aeration performed?
Using a mechanical core aerator, plugs of soil about 2-4 inches deep are pulled out of the ground and laid on top of the grass. The holes that are created will fill in loosely with the removed soil. Some of the thatch layer will move to these holes where soil microbes can break them down. The grass grows sturdier with a new place to grow deep roots. The microbial community in the soil is stimulated and this helps the grass assimilate nutrients. Pest and disease resistance improves due to healthier grass. Removing the thatch layer also removes habitat for pests and fungal spores.
When should lawn aeration be done?
For cool-season grass like that in Northeast Ohio, we will typically aerate in the fall because the ground is soft enough to get good soil cores. It can be done in springtime but shouldn’t be done if the lawn has had crabgrass pre-emergent put down. This is because the mechanical action of the aerator disturbs the ‘barrier’ essentially making it ineffective. However, in an organic setting, spring aeration with an overseeding is a good cultural way to try to beat out the crabgrass.
For conventional lawns, an aeration in the Fall coupled with a Fall overseeding is arguably the most important thing you can do to get a thicker lawn and to increase a new, desirable grass species that are bred for being disease resistant. We time the overseeding with the aeration because the holes and plugs naturally plant the new grass seed. The weather is also very suitable for the grass seed to germinate.
To learn more about lawn aerations or to schedule your service, contact Thrive Lawn & Plant Healthcare today.