What is lawn aeration? Lawn aeration is the process of mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from a lawn.
What does lawn aeration do? Lawn aeration reduces soil compaction, which improves water and nutrient uptake, giving your grass plenty of food, water, and space to grow and thrive. Every time you step on your lawn, mow your grass, and even every time it rains, the soil beneath the turf becomes more compacted. Compacted soil is bad for a number of reasons. It limits water, nutrient, and oxygen absorption and prevents grass from developing deep roots.
Lawn aeration also helps prevent or eliminate “thatch” problems. Thatch is a layer of organic matter consisting of living and dead roots, crowns, and lower shoots located between the soil surface and the green grass blades. While a small thatch layer can help prevent soil compaction (about ½ inch or so), too much thatch can act like a sponge, absorbing all the water and fertilizer and preventing it from reaching the lawn’s roots (and creating a perfect breeding zone for harmful insects and organisms). The aeration process breaks up the thatch layer allowing water, air, and fertilizer to reach the lawn’s root system.
When should you aerate and how often? In the seacoast, our lawns primarily consist of cool weather grasses, which are best aerated in the early spring or mid-late fall. We prefer to aerate in the fall because it really improves spring green and growth.
As for how often, most lawns benefit from annual aeration, but there are exceptions. Lawns that see a lot of activity (tractors, bobcats, etc.), and lawns growing on clay-rich soil will benefit from semi-annual aeration.
How do I know if my lawn has a thatch problem? A lawn with a thatch problem will have a springy, almost bouncy feel underfoot. But to be sure, it’s always a good idea to have a professional take a look. Give us a call. We’d be happy to help.