The soil beneath your lawn becomes compacted naturally after years of mowing, foot traffic and other activity. The longer you wait before seeking aeration services, the more your grass will struggle due to the compacted soil. Core lawn aeration services can help reverse soil compaction. Following a successful core aeration, your lawn will be able to breathe fully, more water will be able reach the roots, promoting robust growth and allowing your grass to flourish.
What is Lawn Aeration?
Lawn aeration is a lawn maintenance technique where small holes are mechanically pulled from your lawn to allow water, air and nutrients to penetrate the soil’s surface. The proper method for aeration is with a core aerator. While many homeowners are tempted to use cheaper tools known as “spike aerators”, which come in the form of tow-behind attachments for lawn tractors or in handheld form, these push into the ground which causes more harm than good. A mechanical core aerator will reach into the soil and pull out a plug of turf, roots and soil.
These plugs are deposited from the machine onto your lawn and holes approximately 2-3” deep are left exposed. With proper watering, the plugs will break down over the course of 2-3 weeks and your grass will grow together during this time to fill in the holes. Think of it like working out where your muscles endure micro tears from lifting heavy weight, and then in the process they rebuild and come back stronger than before.
Why Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
The holes created during the lawn aeration process allow water, air and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. Without aeration, soil compaction makes it difficult for these elements to get down to the soil. Following lawn aeration, you may also notice better drainage as the soil can absorb the water better. After removing soil plugs during the aeration process, the water finally has a place to go instead of just pooling on the surface.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
Early fall is the best season for lawn aeration in Minnesota. Your grass will need ample time to recover, so scheduling an aeration at least 6-8 weeks before winter’s arrival is key. As your lawn fills in the holes, its root system will build strength and it will be better prepared to combat the heat and respond better to applications of fertilizer. Depending on the type of soil your lawn is built on, you might need to aerate your lawn more often. Clay-based soil is not as porous as other soil types such as sand and it may require aeration services twice per year – once in spring after the grass has begun to steadily grow and then in early fall.
Many also ask if fertilizer should be applied before or after aeration. The ideal time for an application is after aerating. Applying fertilizer before aerating will lead to wasting a lot of the product because the soil will not be able to absorb it properly. When applied after an aeration, the fertilizer can reach the down deep enough to condition the soil near the root system to encourage growth.