Lawn Aeration — The Cure for Soggy Grass Carpets
Just like people do, plants need breathing room. While most plants can get the
air they need from the top, having adequate circulation in the soil is critical
for growing healthy turf. If you’re noticing that last year’s lawn is this
year’s sponge, it’s time to rent or purchase a lawn aerator.
Aeration keeps soil clumps from becoming rock-solid bits of earth, helps water
to drain through the soil, and removes excess thatch build-up. In addition to
benefiting your turf, it also helps the micro-colonies of beneficial organisms
that live in your soil to stay healthy.
Although aeration, especially core aeration, is best when done in the
springtime, you can aerate your lawn any time after the frost is out of the
Before you invest in aeration, you may want to check your lawn for thatch
buildup. If you can easily push your finger through your lawn to feel the soil,
then aeration isn’t a necessity. Still, it won’t hurt. Making a habit of yearly
aeration keeps your lawn healthy and keeps you ahead of clumping, thatch
build-up and poor drainage problems.
Small lawns with little thatch can be easily aerated by walking over them
wearing a pair of spiked shoes. The least expensive type of aerator is a spiked
pole, which you push into the ground. However, the most effective type of lawn
aerator is a core aerator. If you have large areas of turf, this is the type of
aerator that will do the best job. In addition, core aerators can be purchased
to attach to most riding mowers and lawn tractors.
The disadvantage of core aeration is that it does leave plugs of earth scattered
about your lawn. However, the plugs can be removed, broken up, or will quickly
decompose under heavy spring rainfalls.