07/07/2014

The ins and outs of aerating your lawn

Aerating your lawn is essential if you want to have a healthy, green lawn all year round. It’s quick and easy to do, and will make sure your other lawn maintenance activities are worth all the hard work and effort.

What is aerating? 

Lawn aeration is the process of punching small holes into your lawn allowing essential oxygen to reach the grass roots. This encourages grass growth and can be done by using a garden fork or by using a mechanical aerator. 

Why aerate? 

There are huge benefits to aerating your lawn. By adding small holes in your lawn it allows oxygen, water and other nutrients to enter the soil more easily, providing essential nourishment for the grass to grow. Aeration is in fact one of the biggest wins for getting a healthy lawn and helps all your other lawn care strategies that you may be undertaking. Aeration is also thought as a better solution than scarification in lawns with a slight thatch problem. 

When to aerate? 

The best time to aerate your lawn is during the warmer months when grass growth is at its fastest. Avoid aerating in periods of high heat as the sun will dry out the soil and stress the grass. It’s recommended that you aerate your lawn throughout the year for best results. 

You are likely to need to aerate your lawn if; 

1. The soil is compacted. This is most likely to occur if the lawn gets plenty of use. For example children playing in the garden or sections of the lawn are used as walkway or path. 

2. When the lawn feels spongy / springy under foot. This is a sign that your lawn may need de-thatching. An excessive amount of thatch prevents sunlight and water from reaching the grass blades limiting healthy grass growth. 

3. When you water your lawn or it rains, water pools on the grass or it runs away. 

How to aerate your lawn?

Before you begin aerating your lawn it is important to prepare. You should always try to aerate your lawn when the soil is moist. This will allow you to penetrate the lawn deeper allowing for a better result. Next you need to remove any debris, stones etc. from the lawn. This will enable you to aerate the lawn evenly. Remove any weeds before aerating as aerating the lawn before you remove them will encourage weed growth and help spread them further across your lawn. 

If your lawn has an excessive amount of thatch or moss, it is recommended that you remove this first. You can do this with some effort using a handheld lawn rake. Alternatively Flymo has an easy to use electric lawn rake that removes thatch and moss quickly and easily from your lawn.

Using a garden fork (GARDENA garden forks are highly recommended) plunge it into the lawn about 2 to 3 inches deep and move it backwards and forwards a little to widen the holes. Do this every 3 to 4 inches until you have aerated the entire garden. 

For best results once you have finished aerating your lawn you should fertilise your lawn by laying down some compost or other fertiliser. The nutrients will be absorbed more easily since the lawn has been aerated.

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