One important step in attending to your lawn’s health is aerating your lawn. But what is the best way to aerate lawns to promote healthy lawn growth to the fullest extent possible?
To help you care for your lawn properly, we put together a step-by-step guide that will give you everything you need to carry out this necessary bit of lawn maintenance. Follow these instructions to keep your lawn healthy and looking its best.
Tools You’ll Need
Before you get the job started, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to successfully aerate your lawn. Here’s a list of what you’ll need to take care of this job:
- Sprinklers, hose, or other means of watering your lawn
- Irrigation flags
- Core aerator or steel spike aerator
- Grass seed
Keep in mind that a core aerator is ideal for handling large areas, while a steel spike aerator is more convenient to use for a smaller lawn. Once you’ve got the necessary tools together, follow our step-by-step guide to properly maintain your lawn.
Steps to Aerate Lawn Effectively
Water Your Lawn Thoroughly
Before you begin the process of aerating your lawn, it’s important that you water your lawn adequately. This will help the aerator penetrate deeper into the ground and do its job more effectively, giving you the results that you’re looking for.
Plan ahead so that you can water your lawn one to two days before beginning the aeration process. Apply around one inch of water throughout the area you intend to aerate to get the best results possible. If you’re not sure how much water to use, place a small inch-deep container in the center of the lawn as you’re watering. Once that container fills up, you’ve used enough water.
Set Up Flags Where Needed
Depending on the area you intend to aerate, there may be hidden obstacles like tree roots and stumps, sprinkler heads, septic systems, lawn decorations, or any other number of things that might get in your way. Running these objects over with your aerator could cause damage to the tool itself or to the object you hit.
To avoid these mishaps, mark any areas of your lawn where obstacles are present with signal flags that keep you aware of the obstacle’s location. We recommend using a bright-colored flag so that it’s easily recognizable to reduce the risk of a mistake.
Use Your Aerator
Once you’ve finished the preliminary steps, it’s time to begin the actual process of aerating your lawn. Be methodical in your movements to get the best results possible, going over the lawn completely in one direction. Then go back over the same area in a perpendicular motion to get a second pass over the area that you’re working to improve.
If you’re using a core aerator, you’ll notice that the tool automatically removes soil and grass plugs from the ground. We recommend leaving those plugs on the lawn to decompose naturally over the course of about a week. This will generate more nutrients, which will have an easier time penetrating deeper into your lawn thanks to the recent aeration.
Apply Grass Seed and Fertilizer
You’ve finished aerating your lawn, but there are a couple more steps to take before you call it a day. First, spread grass seed evenly across your freshly-aerated lawn. This will help fill in any scarce patches of grass on your lawn and achieve a fuller, healthier look. The seeds will have an easier time growing thanks to the increased air and nutrient flow your aerator allows for.
Once you’ve scattered the grass seed adequately, it’s time to apply the fertilizer. This will encourage the healthy growth of both the new seeds you’ve planted and the existing grass on your lawn by helping the plants absorb nutrients effectively. Fertilizer will also help keep the soil moist for longer, further promoting the health of your lawn.
Benefits of Aerating Your Lawn
Thatch is a term that refers to the layer of dead grass that can accumulate over the top of your lawn. Over time, this layer of thatch can grow quite thick, which prevents nutrients, water, and other resources that your lawn needs from penetrating deep enough for the grass to absorb them. Aeration helps introduce thatch-decomposing microorganisms that will help to alleviate this layer of thatch.
Reduces Soil Compaction
When not treated properly, the soil your lawn is growing in can become compressed and tightly packed. This compacted soil prevents water, air, and nutrients from absorbing deeper into the lawn to get to the plants that need them. Aerating your lawn will decrease the density of the soil to help your lawn get the resources that it needs.
Helps Nutrients Reach Deeper
When nutrients reach a lawn that isn’t aerated properly, the nutrients only get to the surface level of the lawn. This isn’t ideal for promoting a healthy lawn. When you aerate your lawn properly and then apply the nutrients you need, nutrients will be able to reach deeper down into the root zone of the grass. This allows for optimal absorption of the nutrients.
Balance PH Levels
If your lawn’s PH levels aren’t where they should be, aeration can help with this issue as well. Apply lime or sulfur to freshly-aerated soil to help them reach deep down into the soil, helping to correct the PH levels throughout your lawn.
Reduce Water Runoff
Have you noticed water pooling or excessive puddles on your lawn after it rains? This is a problem that aeration can help address. Aerating your lawn helps it to absorb water more completely, reducing the chance of water building up on the surface of your lawn.
Preparation for Winter
Aerating your lawn before the cold months of the year roll around will help your lawn get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy through the dormant season. This will help your lawn grow back full and green when the springtime comes again. The fast growth in the spring will also prepare your lawn for any drought stress it might face during the hot summer months.
Foster a Thick, Full Lawn
When your lawn is looking its best, it improves the look of your entire property. Properly aerating your lawn stimulates the growth and development of grass to help achieve a full and healthy look. Bare or thin spots on your lawn will be grown in more fully, giving your lawn a look that you can be proud to show off.
Get Quality Lawn Care in Connecticut
Leave lawn aeration and all of your other landscaping needs to the professionals in order to ensure that you get the job taken care of correctly. Using our service will help you find landscapers capable of taking on any job that you need to keep your property looking its best. Our tools also let you compare offers from multiple different companies to help you get the best deal. Search on Landscaper Locator today!