As a homeowner you probably recognize the benefit of fertilizing your lawn, but did you know the best thing you can do for your lawn is aeration?
Perhaps you find this surprising, but it is absolutely true. The healthy turfs on golf courses are aerated several times a year.
Let’s say, hypothetically, you face a choice in your lawn care regimen to either fertilize once less per year or skip aerating your lawn. Due to the benefits to your lawn health, I suggest forgoing one fertilizer application instead of skipping the aeration.
What Are the Benefits of Lawn Aeration?
The aeration we perform is called core aeration. It involves using a machine to tear out plugs (or cores) of turf. This process rips apart roots and makes small holes in the turf.
At the same time, the machine ejects the plugs of turf & soil to your lawn surface. These will gradually decompose and return the nutrients to the soil.
These holes benefit your lawn in several ways.
1. They open up compacted soil, allowing more oxygen, water, and nutrients to get to the roots.
Soil that is too compact does not absorb water and nutrients as well. It can cause water runoff and drainage issues. It also stifles grass growth because nutrients, including oxygen, cannot reach the roots.
2. They encourage new and deeper root growth because the roots will expand and fill those empty areas.
Strong grass roots are important to the long term health of your lawn. A good root system can help protect your grass against disease and drought.
3. The holes help reduce lawn thatch.
Although some thatch is a protection, too much thatch serves as a barrier preventing air, water, nutrients and fertilizer from reaching the soil. A heavy thatch layer suffocates your lawn.
What Is The Best Time to Aerate?
Really you can aerate at any time of year. It’s not going to hurt your lawn.
If you have to pick one time of year that is best, we recommend aerating in the Fall. This is especially true in the Northern IL area that we service.
Fall is a good time to aerate because it’s an active time of root growth for Bluegrass (the grass we have in our lawns locally). As temperatures start to cool, the roots grow more rapidly & store nutrients in preparation for the winter ahead.
Aerating in the Fall encourages grass root growth at the time the root structure is expanding the most.
Another benefit of lawn aeration in the Fall is that the grass in not under stress from extreme heat or temperature fluctuations like in Summer.
If you are planning to fertilize your lawn in the Fall, a good combination is to aerate first and then fertilize. Fall fertilizer focuses on nutrients to feed the root system, and core aeration will ensure more direct contact with the roots.
How Often Should You Aerate Your Grass?
Core aeration is best done every year.
Regular aeration encourages deep root growth and helps your grass absorb nutrients. This results in a healthy lawn that can fight off disease and withstand times of drought.
If you’d like to get on our schedule for core aeration, please give us a call or send an email.
Your lawn will thank you for it!