The who, what, why, where and when guide to core aeration…
Not so long ago, the term ‘aeration’ would have confused 8/10 people. But since lockdown began, people have started using this word 4 times a week as they compare their sourdough notes over yet another Zoom call, displaying images of their imperfectly sliced loaf in Powerpoint format. But for those who have managed to evade the baking-bug (or got bored of it), aeration is also something that can should be applied to your lawn care plan.
But first, you’re possibly-probably-definitely wondering what the heck lawn aeration is, so let’s do this shall we:
What The Heck is Lawn Aeration?
Not to get too sciency (and finally make my GCSE biology teacher proud of me), but aeration is a lawn care technique that’s designed to create holes in your lawn — and the soil structure below it — in order to penetrate through the thick layer of thatch and help more water, nutrients and air get deep into the soil, where your grass roots need it most.
Now I read your horoscope this morning so I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of effort for one person and a pitchfork, and you’re right. That’s why most people opt for something called core aeration, which is where you use a motorised machine to remove small, cylinder-shaped plugs (or cores) from your lawn, like tiny vertical caves that both rain and nutrients just looooove exploring. Some people hire these machines and do it themselves, others hire me and my technicians to pop round to make their lawn great again — either way, aeration needs to be part of your lawn care strategy. Here’s why…
Here’s Why You Need To Aerate Your Lawn
Think about your lawn and about all the heavy foot traffic it endures, from you walking over it to get to the shed to your kids playing football on it and even the dog endlessly chasing its tail across it. Well, all that trampling action means your soil gets compacted leaving very little space for water, air and nutrients to penetrate your lawn’s roots.
Aeration is the antidote.
Like I said, aeration works to remove small, deep plugs that allows more of the good stuff to get through your heavily compacted soil. But that’s not all it does because, even though scarification offers up the truest solution to your dethatching needs, an annual spot of core aeration will help prevent your lawn from suffering any thatch problems in the first place — and like the age-old adage goes, ‘prevention is better (and cheaper) than a cure’.
Now I know what you’re thinking again, “but pulling plugs out of my lawn has gotta hurt it, right?” Wrong. Core aeration does not harm your lawn in the slightest. In fact, it will make your patch of the green stuff look even healthier and more attractive than you ever deemed possible — just go and check out some of the before and after shots on our Instagram if you don’t believe me.
(*And, don’t worry: we’ll clear up all the small plugs of soil and turf before we leave, even if they do quickly break up and decompose on their own.)
Aright Mister, When’s The Best Time For This Aeration Stuff?
The simple answer is: whenever circumstances require it. For some that may be early-spring, for others that may be early-summer. It all depends on how compact your soil is and whether your existing grass is able to grow or not. If, let’s say, your soil is more compact than a bodybuilders muscle density, it could be necessary to aerate in the spring, although we’d usually discourage this because spring aeration can provide weed seeds with the perfect home to germinate.
If that’s the case with your lawn, late-spring or early-summer could be the most beneficial time to start the aeration party, when the ground is super-compacted and that top layer of turf is thinner than your uncle’s hair at 40. Ideally, you want to wait until all those common weeds have popped up but get stuck in before they start flowering and go to seed.
That said, there is one time of year that trumps them all and that’s autumn, when the temperatures have dipped a bit, there’s not a lot of hope left for weeds and your grass is still actively growing. Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world where we can aerate at the perfect time, so give me a quick call today and we can book you in for a free lawn care analysis. Yeah. That’s right: a thorough lawn care assessment… for freeeeee!