Lawn Aeration

Plan to aerate your lawn every year

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What is lawn aeration?

Using a machine to remove soil cores from a lawn and leaving them on the lawn's surface to breakdown reduces compaction, improves grass rooting and helps control thatch build-up. Core aeration also speeds applications of lime and fertilizer down into the root zone.


Lawns in the Northeastern United States benefit from one or two core aerations per year -- Spring & Fall -- with Fall being the preferred time of year if it is only being done once.

Having adequate soil moisture present while aerating will aid in the removal of longer and deeper soil cores, however, soil conditions should not be muddy.

Most equipment rental yards have core aeration machines and neighbors can go together on the rental cost to share the machine and save money.


Benefits of lawn aeration

  • Reduces soil compaction
  • Improves grass rooting
  • Prevents thatch build-up
  • Promotes thatch breakdown
  • Improves drought tolerance
  • Enhanced fertilizer uptake
  SOIL CORES  Hollow tines pull soil cores from the lawn. Leaving them on the lawn is beneficial, since it helps breakdown thatch.

SOIL CORES
Hollow tines pull soil cores from the lawn. Leaving them on the lawn is beneficial, since it helps breakdown thatch.



Why "plug your lawn?"

  • Construction activities on new homes compacts soil
  • Lawns (especially sodded bluegrass lawns) build-up thatch
  • Home lawns with heavy traffic become compacted
  • Compacted lawns buildup thatch faster
  • Lime & fertilizer penetrate soil faster
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Rhizomes

Spreading grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass have white roots known as rhizomes. This type of spreading grass tends to produce thatch faster than a "bunch-type" grass like Perennial Rye.


WHAT DO SOIL CORES LOOK LIKE?
Soil cores, pulled out by an aerator, provide a good cross-section of the lawn surface and soil profile.

  SOIL CORES FROM AERATION    The top of the quarter is at the soil surface. Above that is the thatch layer, which in this case is approximately 3/4-inch thick, made up of roots and organic debris. Lawn problems become much more common with thick thatch layers so it is best to be pro-active and prevent them!

SOIL CORES FROM AERATION
The top of the quarter is at the soil surface. Above that is the thatch layer, which in this case is approximately 3/4-inch thick, made up of roots and organic debris. Lawn problems become much more common with thick thatch layers so it is best to be pro-active and prevent them!


It's very important to keep thatch layers under 1/2-inch thick... aeration helps!