Core aeration is when you remove small “cores” of soil from your lawn. It’s also called coring or spiking. Core aeration makes your lawn healthier and decreases the need for maintenance. It’s win-win!
Aeration occurs naturally through the process of air exchange between the atmosphere and the soil. When the soil becomes compacted or overloaded with debris, natural aeration needs human intervention. Plan to aerate your home lawn every year. If you need to aerate a busier lawn, such as on a golf fairway or in a public park, you may need to aerate up to five times annually.
- Increased intake of air, water and fertilizer to the soil.
- Fewer puddles and a decrease in water runoff.
- Turf grass roots become stronger.
- Soil becomes less compacted.
- Increased lushness and strength.
- Reduced degradation from thatch or debris.
Compacted soil has a hard time getting air, water or fertilizer, and each are necessary for healthy root growth. Take this test: if after it rains, you find puddles on your lawn, you should aerate. Compaction occurs from everyday use, such as kids playing or you simply mowing. Rain and irrigation compact the soil even more, shrinking the spaces where air can enter. Excavating does the most damage!
To increase the effectiveness of the aeration process, choose an aerator. The best response from turf comes from core holes that are close and deep. In order to most efficiently complete this process, is hiring a company to provide this service. A company who specializes in this will aerate, overseed and fertilize simultaneously.
Cool-season turf grass should be aerated in the fall, between August and November. This, along with some good fertilizer, will boost healthy root growth and give you a green lawn in the spring. Aerating in the warm season promotes weed growth, so try to avoid aerating during that time. If you must aerate in the spring, wait until after your first mowing.
Experts recommend you aerate before applying pre-emergence herbicides. If you aerate afterward, the chemical barrier becomes far less effective, and weeds can still grow. Apply fertilizer after aeration to help your turf grass beat the weeds. Also, water the lawn after aeration, letting the grass become completely soaked, especially in hot, dry regions.
How do I know the aeration is working?
After you finish aerating, you will see small “plugs” of soil over your lawn. About 7 to 10 days later, the aerated holes will have growing roots, a sign that the turf grass is getting the oxygen, moisture and nutrients it needs from the soil. Within about 14 days, the “plugs” will have broken apart and been absorbed into the lawn. These are signs that the aeration is working.
After irrigation or rainfall, especially on compacted lawns or sloping lawns, you should see a vast decrease in water puddling and runoff. Aerating enables your lawn to go longer between watering. Consistent aeration will improve lawn tolerance to heat and drought.