Yes, regular feeding, weed control, and proper mowing and watering is important when trying to maintain a thick, green, beautiful lawn. But did you know aeration is just as important as any of these? The benefits of aeration continue for months after being performed. So who cares if the soil is compacted? The best thing to remember about aeration is that “It Lets Your Lawn Breath.” Hard, compacted soils take your lawn’s breath away. They keep water and fertilizer away from the roots, too. Aerating your lawn will remove thousands of soil cores and deposit them above the soil surface. These cores are about a half inch in diameter and 2″-3″ long. That’s it. Aeration is such a simple process that results in good things for your lawn.
The first immediate benefit is the creation of pockets in your lawn to catch and hold air, water, and nutrients. This is very important in heavy, compacted soils that shed water rather than absorbing it.
The next benefit to aeration is that the soil cores begin to dissolve from rainfall and irrigation. These cores mix with the thatch layer, helping it decompose, preventing a thick blanket of thatch from forming on your lawn (Picture to right shows thatch).
Once, these soil plugs have been removed the holes in the lawn begin to catch water and fertilizer, the grass roots then begin to grow towards these holes, creating thicker roots. The extra space that these plugs provide now allows the compacted soil to loosen which means more oxygen is reaching the roots. Roots can now grow deeper without hitting hard soil.
The root system of a lawn is constantly renewing itself by sending out new growth. This new growth needs loose and open soil. If the soil is heavy and compacted, the new roots stay near the surface and then contribute to the thatch layer. This leads to a lawn that dries out too quickly and builds up thatch much faster than a deeply rooted lawn.
The important final result of aeration is a lawn that is thicker, greener, has less thatch and holds up to hot and dry weather better than before. It is a wise decision that will continue to play at the “grass roots” level long after the aerator is gone.
Things to Remember about Aeration:
- Reduces soil problems by relieving compaction. Compaction decreases the holding capacity of air and water.
- Creates stronger turf roots
- Enhances heat and drought tolerance of the lawn
- Improves the lawns ability to spring back after being disturbed
- Improves fertilizer uptake. A lawn that is compacted will not absorb nutrients the way an aerated lawn will
- Improved cushioning
- Breaks down thatch buildup
- Saves up to 50% on water
- Helps lawn become more disease resistant
- Creates growth pockets for new roots
- Prevents water puddles in your lawn
- Prevents clay soil from expanding and becoming compacted in warm weather
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