Aerating lawns is the process of creating holes throughout the lawn's surface for the purpose of breaking up soil compaction to allow the lawn and soil to receive more oxygen to the root zone. Lawn aeration is also known as Lawn Coring.
The Reasons For Aerating Lawns
In most cases when sod is laid it is done for the overwhelming purpose of creating a recreation area for people, children and pets. As we continue to use our lawns for playing, and walking on, and sitting and picnicking on, and as Fido runs around the yard, all that soil underneath the sod keeps getting squashed and compacted slowly over time.
While it is very true that Lawns and all other plants absorb carbon dioxide and release fresh clean oxygen as a by-product, all lawns and plants require oxygen to their roots in order for the lawn or plant to both survive and do it's miraculous work. So when the soil gets compacted, it presses together and squashes out all the tiny air pockets throughout the soil which holds and transfers oxygen.
Aerating the soil simply creates a mass of new open air holes into the soil and root zone of lawns which then allows the roots to receive and take up oxygen.
How Does Lawn Aeration Work
Lawn aeration is most commonly done using a mechanical punch core aerator. Being controlled by an operator, the aerating machine travels across the lawn and punches out masses of plugs of sod and soil. These cylindrical plugs of earth and lawn are then left on top of the lawn as the aerating machine passes by, leaving many perfectly shaped holes in it's wake.
Finishing The Lawn Aeration Process
Once the Lawn Corer has finished it's work, the lawn will be covered with a large number of plugs of soil and turf laying on top of it's surface. The homeowner then has three options of how to proceed from this point.
The first way is to use a lawn mower without a catcher to mow over the top of the plugs and break them up. This is the simplest process and helps fill in the holes slightly and aids in levelling the lawn a little as well.
The next method involves mowing the lawn using a catcher, all the mess is cleaned up, and the holes are left empty. Leaving the hole empty is no problem whatsoever and they will eventually fill up with new roots and the spreading of surrounding soil.
The last method involves using a lawn mower with a catcher to mow up all the excess waste material. After the lawn is clean, a coarse sand can be applied and raked over the lawn surface to level and fill in the holes. This method is an excellent idea if ongoing drainage problems occur on the lawn. The coarse sand allows a continuing aid in allowing water to freely drain away from the root zone of the sod.
When Should Lawn Aeration Be Done
Lawn aeration should only be undertaken during the active growing season, this allows the lawn to adequately repair itself from the process while it's actively growing. For Cool Season grasses the best times will be Spring and early Fall, Summer will often cause too much stress to the turf.
Warm Season lawns can be aerated all year round, as their active growing season is in the heat of Summer. Provided that water is kept up to the grass after the process Summer aeration of Warm Season grasses is not a problem.
Completing The Lawn Aeration Process
After lawn aeration is completed we really do need to give the lawn the greatest boost possible at this unique opportunity. An application of Wetting Agents should be applied to the lawn after the process is complete, this will aid in further water penetration and drainage in the future.
The next best and the greatest addition to the lawn after coring is an application of good quality turf fertilizer. With the new holes in the lawn the fertilizer will reach directly into the root zone of the lawn very quickly, giving the lawn a great boost in health as well as greatly aiding in the repair of the lawn after the aeration.