How to Aerate Your Lawn

April  2, 2018
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Ensuring that your lawn stays healthy takes time and effort. Apart from irrigation, fertilizer application, and mowing, homeowners also need to aerate their lawn. At times, the soil might be unable to get enough water, air, and nutrients to keep your lawn lush with grass . With our guide, you’ll quickly know how to aerate your lawn.

Aerate by Hand

While we recommend using more complex tools for aerating large areas, you can use a small tool if you will only tend to a relatively small area. A manual aerator can be operated using your hand or even your feet. The former varies a bit from each other, but they all tend to imitate a pitchfork.

One example of a handheld aerator is the spike aerator. With this tool, you simply stab into the ground until all of the spikes are down in the soil. Afterward, just pull out the spike aerator and repeat the process until you’ve covered the affected area. It can feel boring, but it does the job well.

Similarly, you can aerate your lawn with another handheld tool known as the hollow tine aerator. You use it the same way you operate a spike aerator, but its design leads to different results. When you pull out this aerator from the soil, it will also pull out soil plugs to thoroughly improve the entry of air, water, and nutrients. Also, a single pass over your lawn with a hollow tine or plug aerator is enough.

The third method of lawn aeration is to use aerator shoes. These are basically attached to your shoes or boots. Thus, your footwear will have spikes for breaking up the soil. All you have to do is walk around your lawn and make several passes to ensure complete coverage.

Aerate with More Powerful Aerators

If you have a large-sized lawn to aerate or you want to do it efficiently, you can use a bigger aerator. They are definitely more expensive than the handheld variants, but renting them at your local gardening supply store might save your money.

For one, you can use a pull-behind aerator. As the name implies, you just have to move it around your lawn. They are quite heavy and have better spikes, so they dig deep into the soil with ease. A gas-powered lawn aerator will likely have spikes that spin around for aeration.

Here is a video of a tow-behind spike aerator:


Essential Tips for Aerating Your Lawn

No matter the type of aerator you use for your lawn, you must do the following to have a successful operation. For one, the lawn should be mown several days before you aerate it. The grass should be cut down to just half their typical height. Second, the lawn must be adequately irrigated

a day before aeration. Thus, you can proceed a day after rainfall has occurred.

Third, remove any rocks, dried leaves, and any other debris. You could injure yourself if you step on rocks with your aerator shoes. Fourth, safeguard your irrigation tools. Put a mark on your sprinklers to denote their location. You wouldn’t want to hit them. Similarly, garden hoses must be kept away to avoid putting holes in them.
Fifth, try not to waste your energy or the fuel of a gas-powered aerator. Keep in mind which areas need aeration. Do not cover the other patches to save time and effort. After aeration, the lawn needs to be fertilized or applied with topdressing. We recommend using compost for topdressing. In addition, any bare patches on your lawn should be reseeded at this point.

Do not be worried if you just used a crabgrass weed control or any other pre-emergent herbicide. Some homeowners claim that aeration will affect the efficacy of your herbicides if aeration happens in spring, but this is merely a myth. In truth, aeration won’t reduce the potency of weed control products.

Utilize the Soil Plugs or Cores

If you used a core or plug aerator, your lawn will end up with many soil plugs after aeration. Instead of throwing them away, you should use them to improve the quality of your soil. If you break them up with a rake or a mower, they will eventually undergo decomposition and provide nutrients to the soil. Also, you can mix them to your compost pile.
Likewise, you can use them to level your lawn. Allow the soil plugs to dry first before using them to fill any low spots. While using the backside of a rake can help break up and level the soil plugs, you can do it faster and easier with a lawn mower too. However, do note that the mower blades might get dull and require sharpening afterward.

In conclusion, aerating your lawn isn’t as hard as it sounds. Just remember to irrigate, mow, and clean your lawn before doing so. If you only need to aerate a small patch, you can opt for a handheld aerator or for aerator shoes. For bigger areas, you can use a pull-behind aerator.

We hope that our guide helped you in improving the soil conditions in your lawn. If you have any queries, feel free to send us a comment.

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