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Lawn Aeration Services & Guide

Posted on December 13th, 2022

Lawn Aeration Services & Guide. Many homeowners work tirelessly and pay a lot of money to maintain a healthy lawn all year round and still fall short due to soil compaction. Soil compaction brings about many lawn issues, such as root decay and increased acidity.

One way to solve compaction issues is through lawn aeration. So if your lawn care regime only includes watering and mowing, you fail to reap the benefits of an aerated lawn.

This blog looks at lawn aeration, its different techniques, and its costs.

What Is Lawn Aeration?

Lawn aeration is the procedure of puncturing the soil to facilitate the absorption of nutrients, air, and water. This procedure encourages the roots to expand deeply, which results in a more robust and vibrant lawn.

However, the term aerate means to introduce air. So the primary objective of lawn aeration is to provide your lawn with the support it needs to breathe. For compacted, muddy, and sandy soils, aeration is very beneficial.

The Benefits Of Lawn Aeration

Here are a few ways that lawn aeration helps you achieve a healthy lawn:

Reduces Soil Compaction: When soil is compacted, air, water, and fertilizer cannot reach the roots of your grass. This can result in thinning and dead grass. By removing cores during aeration, soil density is reduced.

Increases Nutrients: Soil aeration aids in the deeper root zone penetration of nutrients. This procedure increases the efficacy of fertilization and irrigation.

Thickens the Lawn: Aeration encourages root growth and development. As a result, when you overseed an aerated lawn, you provide the best conditions for development.

Reduces Weed Growth: Weed growth is encouraged in compacted soils. When weeds are present, your lawn is considerably more susceptible to dryness and stress.

Enhances Seed Germination: Aeration enhances seed and soil contact, accelerating germination and levels of moisture in your lawn.

Reduces Water Runoff and Puddling: Aeration lessens the likelihood of puddling and runoff by allowing water to sink into the loosening soil.

Keep Thatch Layers in Check: Thatch is a layer of withered grass and decaying organic matter in your yard. This includes grassroots, shoots, and stems. While a thin covering of thatch helps with insulation, it can be problematic when it’s thicker since your lawn will have little airflow. In addition, thick thatches also attract pests. 

How To Perform the Lawn Aeration Techniques

Compacted, dense soil prevents roots from accessing nutrients, restricting root growth. Here are lawn aeration techniques that can help address this:

Core Aeration

A core aerator, also called a plug aerator, has hollow tube spikes instead of solid spikes. Compared to a spike aerator, it leaves behind a relatively large hole when the hollowed teeth are punched into the grass, and a soil plug is pushed into each tooth’s core.

While this process leaves behind noticeable punctured areas on the surface of your lawn, it effectively improves ventilation.

Spike Aeration

Spike aeration is a straightforward procedure that involves poking a hole in the soil of the grass with a spike. It often entails using an apparatus with a revolving drum or wheel covered in solid steel spikes, but the process might also be accomplished by simply making holes in the turf using a rake or fork.

The spike’s primary distinguishing characteristic is that it only creates holes and doesn’t extract any soil. With this process, you should choose a spike aerator with a steel tray you can step on to add extra weight, maximizing penetration.

Due to the absence of unsightly dirt clods on the top of the lawn that you would get with core aeration, spike aeration can be employed more conveniently in high-traffic areas.

When To Core and When To Spike

The condition of your lawn and how you utilize it should be taken into account when choosing between core or plug aerators and spike aerators. 

Spike aerators are suited when the soil is not overly compacted. However, they are less successful at releasing the ground because they don’t extract any material. Since spike aerators push dirt aside to produce holes, they may worsen compaction if done poorly.

Spike aeration can help prepare the lawn’s surface for overseeding or enhancing access to the grassroots level during fertilizer rather than loosening the soil. This technique works best when lawns have just slight to moderate compaction problems.

Core aerators are best for highly compacted soil. With its build, it considerably breaks up compaction more easily than spike aerators. In addition, the holes they leave behind promote healthy root growth and greater grass access to water and nutrients.

The main drawback of core aeration is the dispersion of unsightly soil plugs left on the turf. However, once they’ve had time to dry up, you can readily break up the plugs with a mower or rake.

Signs You Need To Aerate Your Lawn

By being aware of the telltale indicators of grass needing attention, you can figure out whether you need aeration. For example, aeration may be necessary if you notice the following:

  • Stunted Grass Growth: There are areas in your lawn where the grass is growing more slowly.
  • High Traffic: Increased activity levels on the lawn, including children playing and pets walking, can cause compaction, and the lawn will then require aeration.
  • Standing Water: Water pooling or runoff problems are a call for aeration. Irrigation using the cycle and soak method can also help.
  • Rapid Soil Drying: A lawn with low moisture retention due to compaction may dry out more quickly than healthier lawns.
  • Lawn Disease: A compacted lawn is more prone to infections. Lawn diseases that could occur include fusarium or red thread.

When is the Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn?

You should aerate during your lawn grass’s peak of growth, depending on the type of grass you have. As such, you should consider the current weather conditions and the following season.

Timing is crucial when it comes to aeration. If you aerate your lawn at the incorrect time, you might do more harm than good to your property. With that said, you must avoid droughts, heat waves, and cold spells to keep your grass from becoming more stressed after aeration because it may cause root damage.

While the soil should be damp, it should not be soaked because this can cause the soil to clump and prevent adequate aeration. Also, if the ground is icy, put off aerating until later in the morning, after the frost has melted.

Proper aeration timing encourages maximal root system growth and helps your lawn swiftly recover from the light damage that ensues. Avoid aerating your lawn if your grass is entirely brown.

Cool-season turf, such as fescue, bluegrass, and ryegrass, should be aerated in the fall. On the other hand, you should aerate warm-season grass like St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Buffalo in the late spring or early summer.

How To Prep For Lawn Aeration

  • Make sure the ground is clear of obstructions.
  • Mow your lawn to a relatively short length, preferably the day before.
  • Consider performing optional mild dethatching and scarification, but not extensive scarification which would put the lawn under undue stress.
  • If the soil is too hard, you must moisten it for about an hour before aerating it.
  • Mark the locations of any pop-up sprinklers to prevent harming the sprinkler heads.

What To Do After Lawn Aeration

  • Leave the cores on your lawn.
  • Add worms to the grass to reduce the amount of future aeration that will be necessary.
  • Wait until the ground is dusty before watering your lawn. 
  • Only water deeply when you can see your footprints on your grass. You want the roots to look for subsurface water.
  • Fertilize and overseed with fresh grass seed when it’s time to water.
  • Return to regular fertilizing after the initial fertilization, using a slow-release organic fertilizer at least twice annually.
  • Mow your lawn regularly at an average or increased height. 

Is It Worth Spending Money On Professional Lawn Aeration?

Aeration might be completed in a matter of hours by a professional lawn care provider. By working with a lawn aeration expert, you also take the workload off your shoulders while guaranteeing the procedure’s success. So instead of taking on this project alone, which might take an entire weekend, call in experts who know the ins and outs of lawn aeration.

The Factors That Determine Lawn Aeration Costs

Many factors influence the pricing of lawn aeration services, including:

  • Lawn Size: The price you pay increases with the area of the lawn. The majority of lawn maintenance companies base their fees per square foot.
  • Aeration Technique: Lawn aeration costs highly depend on the method required for your lawn. As mentioned, spike aeration is generally more affordable than core aeration since the technique is less labor-intensive.
  • Location: In general, lawn-care solutions are more affordable if you live in a rural town than in a bustling city. Regional taxes and company fees also impact the price of lawn aeration and other yard repair and maintenance.
  • Pre-aeration Work: A clear yard is necessary to undertake soil aeration. Additional fees may apply if a lawn care professional must rake dry leaves or remove other debris.
  • Obstacles: The cost may increase if your lawn contains many trees or boulders. Lawn care specialists will need to avoid sprinklers and other landscape objects when working around fences or sprinkler systems.
  • Packages and Plans: If you choose a lawn care package, you may reduce the price of aeration. Packages can include weeding, overseeding, and fertilizing. The precise amount you could save with this strategy would depend on the business and its specials and packages.

Lawn Aeration Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a short list of helpful information about lawn aeration.

Does aeration actually work?

Yes, aeration promotes the breakdown of organic matter, assisting in fertilizing your lawn. Your grass can get thicker, greener, and more resilient by using a lawn aerator since it also promotes deeper and stronger roots. In addition, your lawn will be more resistant to drought, heat, and insects with aeration. 

Is lawn aeration necessary?

Yes, lawn aeration is fundamental to the health of your lawn, even though many homeowners approach aeration as optional. Aeration makes it easier for water, air, and other nutrients to penetrate compacted grass and lawn thatch quickly. 

How often should I aerate my lawn?

Yearly aeration in the fall is advised for the ordinary lawn. However, constantly used lawns may require aeration a couple of times a year. Aerating too frequently might be detrimental to your lawn, so consult a lawn care expert.

How much would DIY lawn aeration cost me?

Between $60 to $90, assuming you rent the necessary equipment from your local home depot. However, even with the right equipment, aeration might be too much for you to handle, depending on the size of your lawn and how compacted your soil is.

Additional Lawn Aeration Tips

  • Refrain from aerating freshly sown grass for at least a year.
  • If you are sowing your lawn, ensure the fertilizer doesn’t contain a weed killer, or it will hamper seed growth.
  • To avoid damage, mark any shallow sprinkler lines before aerating.
  • Longer tines or spikes at least 4 inches long are an excellent choice, enabling the soil to absorb water and nutrients more deeply.
  • With core aeration, ensure the plugs are removed from your grass rather than just spiking.
  • Work with lawn care experts to clear up further issues due to improper aeration.

Turf Unlimited: Lawn Aeration Services Done Right

Doing aeration on your own is achievable, but only if you’re willing to work a couple of days and risk further damage to your lawn. However, if you’re seeking convenience and expertise, you’re in good hands with Turf Unlimited.

Turf Unlimited is a team of lawn care experts specializing in lawn aeration. On top of aeration, we have a wide range of services available for your lawn care. We are eager to accommodate any unique requests to keep your lawn lively.

Turf Unlimited can successfully incorporate aeration into your lawn care regime — contact us to let your lawn breathe again, or call (888) 649-9919.

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