Aeration is the process of using a machine to pull 2.5” to 4” cylindrical cores made up of soil, thatch, roots and turf out of your lawn. The cores are deposited on top of your lawn and eventually break down to top-dress your lawn. Aeration modifies your lawn’s thatch layer by incorporating more soil into it and making it a better growing medium for your lawn’s root system. The cores also introduce beneficial microbes to the lawn surface which help break down dead grass and return valuable nutrients to your lawn.
If you regularly aerate (every fall), your lawn will develop a stronger root system that in turn makes your lawn more insect and disease resistant and more drought tolerant. It also improves drainage problems. If you have minor ponding or standing water in your lawn, aeration can reduce or eliminate this issue because the holes allow water to percolate better.
Another reason your lawn may struggle is soil compaction. Compacted soil prevents air, nutrients and water from circulating so the roots do not get the essential elements that they need to thrive. Aeration relieves soil compaction and, as a result, your lawn’s roots grow deeper, become stronger and becomes healthier. Soil compaction can occur if your home is newly constructed, or your yard acts as a common gathering place. Construction equipment, lawn equipment, foot traffic and heavy soil types all contribute to soil compaction. Additionally, if you notice that your lawn has a spongy feel or dries out easily, resulting in dead, brown patches, then you may have a problem with thatch that can be solved by aeration.
Overall, aeration contributes to the development of a lush, healthy lawn. Like mowing, watering, fertilizing and weed control, aeration should be integrated into your regular lawn maintenance routine.
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