Lawn aeration is process of perforating the soil with small holes that allow water, oxygen and nutrients to be absorbed by the roots of your lawn. This allows the roots of your grass to grow deeper, stronger and fight off disease.
The main purpose of aeration is to alleviate soil compaction that prevents the proper circulation of air, water and nutrients throughout the soil. Aeration also helps eliminate the excess lawn thatch and heavy organic debris under the lawn that can starve healthy roots of the elements it needs to grow strong and healthy.
Furthermore, aeration helps with the removal of CO2 from the soil atmosphere. Accumulated CO2 hampers the growth of plant roots and starves them of the nutrients it needs to survive.
Should You Be Aerating Your Lawn?
One of the most common questions from homeowners is how to determine if they should be aerating their lawn. Your lawn is probably a good candidate for aeration if it:
- Gets heavy use, such as serving as the neighborhood playground or racetrack. Children and pets running around the yard contribute to soil compaction.
- Was established as part of a newly constructed home. Often, the topsoil of newly constructed lawns is stripped or buried, and the grass established on subsoil has been compacted by construction traffic.
- Dries out easily and has a spongy feel. This might mean your lawn has an excessive thatch problem. Take a shovel and remove a slice of lawn about four inches deep. If the thatch layer is greater than one-half inch, aeration is recommended.
- Was established by sod, and soil layering exists. Soil layering means that soil of finer texture, which comes with imported sod, is layered over the existing coarser soil. This layering disrupts drainage, as water is held in the finer-textured soil. This leads to compacted conditions and poor root development. Aerating breaks up the layering, allowing water to flow through the soil more easily and reach the roots.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating is most effective when done every fall, especially if it is done in conjunction with over seeding and fertilizing as part of a complete lawn care program. Aerating your lawn first gives your lawn time to de-compact so over seed and fertilizer can effectively penetrate deep into the soil and provide extra nutrients to help your lawn survive the cold and snowy Minnesota winters.