What is lawn aeration
Lawn aeration is the task of putting holes in the lawn to aid water and air movement through the soil profile. This operation can be carried out by using a purposely built lawn aerator or manually with a simple garden fork.
Why aerate a lawn
Over a period of time the soil become compacted, this can be caused by many things, machinery people etc. The result is the pore spaces in the soil that contain the air gradually decrease resulting in soil compaction.
Once this happens it can have a detrimental effect on the health of the lawn. Drainage is impeded, shallow rooted grass becomes dominant resulting in poor drought resistance and thatch build up is increased.
The benefits of lawn aeration
The benefits of lawn aeration are as follows:
- Improved drainage
- Improved drought resistance due to conditions that favour deeper rooted grasses
- Desirable grasses become dominant
- Increased micro-organism populations
- When used in conjunction with top dressing the soil profile can be improved
What is the best time for lawn aeration
Although lawns can be aerated at anytime (soil & weather conditions permitting) the ideal time of the year for lawn aeration is normally in the late summer/early autumn. Lawn aeration is part of the autumn lawn care renovation program which also includes scarifying & top dressing.
During drought conditions in the summer, lightly pricking the surface before irrigation takes place will also help.
The different types of lawn aerator
There are 2 main types of lawn aerator used for lawns.
Hollow tine aerator – This type of lawn aerator actually removes cores from the lawn to a typical depth of 4″ or 10cm. Hollow tine aeration can be carried out with either a hand fork aerator of a purpose built machine (expensive).
Hollow tining works by hollow tubes being punched into the lawn, thus removing the core, when it is inserted the next time the core is then ejected.
This type of machine is one of the most effective ways of removing thatch from a lawn. Hollow tining is usually carried out late summer with the autumn renovation program as top dressing is used to fill the holes.
Spiker or solid tine aerator – This type of lawn aerator is ideal for general purpose aeration, relieving compaction and can also be used during autumn renovation. Ideal for lightly spiking the surface prior to watering during the summer to aid water penetration.
Types of machine can range from a simple hand fork to purpose built powered machines.