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Is Lawn Aeration Necessary and Why?

Lawn aeration

Lawn aeration is one of the pillars of lawn care. Try to picture the most beautiful, lush lawn in Chester County. There are great chances that this thick green lawn was aerated.

During this time of year, you may even start to see lawn care companies perform the first lawn aerations. Usually, lawn aerations start mid or end of August in our area of Pennsylvania, depending on the weather, until late fall; usually, they end right around Thanksgiving before the ground becomes too wet or hard with early frosts.

You probably loved spending time on your lawn this summer, playing with kids and pets, and having friends over. Although these activities create beautiful memories, that traffic stresses your lawn and creates soil compaction. Of course, lawn aeration helps fix that issue.

What is lawn aeration?

Lawn aeration is a simple mechanical process where plugs of soil are removed from the yard. In other terms, the principle of lawn aeration is to punch holes in the ground. 

To punch these holes, the lawn care technician uses a piece of special equipment called a “core aerator” – a machine specifically designed to remove plugs of soil. 

Lawn aeration aims to alleviate soil compaction to create straight access to the root system. 

Why is that a big deal for your lawn’s health?

The answer is straightforward. 

Just like any living organism on earth, your lawn needs several things to grow:

  • Oxygen
  • Water
  • Nutrients

Your lawn feeds through its root system; oxygen, water, and nutrients should penetrate the soil and reach the root system. Suppose your lawn plants cannot feed as well as they should; progressively, your lawn weakens and becomes unable to fight diseases. Over time, different plant species appear and start to invade your yard, and weeds take over and win more territory than the lawn species you need to prevail.

What can prevent oxygen, water, and nutrients from reaching your lawn’s root system?

Why your lawn needs aeration

Multiple causes can affect your lawn, and identifying them can help you immensely. For instance, your lawn is subject to different types of stress:

  • Traffic and activity on your lawn
  • Accumulation of thatch layers
  • Excessive lawn watering creates runoffs
  • Seasonal weather conditions
  • Chester County’s soil with high clay content

All the above contribute to soil compaction, which occurs when soil particles are compressed. As spaces between particles reduce, soil density increases and the soil becomes more impermeable. Consequently, less oxygen, less water, and fewer nutrients reach the roots.

Compacted soil does not drain well, which has other dire consequences for your lawn. When water cannot be absorbed fast enough by the soil, water runoffs erode the topsoil and wash away all nutrients. 

Ultimately, lawn aeration becomes necessary if your soil is compacted. Ideally, you want to aerate your lawn once a year when the soil is not too dry, too hard, or too wet.

How to rock your lawn aeration

If you decide that you need lawn aeration this year, here are some helpful process steps that we recommend:

  • If you have invisible fences or irrigation systems, ensure you know where they are before using an aerator. Aerators are heavy pieces of equipment that punch holes in the ground. Do not hesitate to use little flags that you can buy cheap on Amazon to avoid ruining an expensive underground system that will cost you a few thousand dollars to repair or replace.
  • Time your lawn aeration by following the weather forecast and seasonal cycle. Remember that the soil should not be too dry, hot, wet, or even frozen. Therefore, late summer to fall is the best time to aerate your lawn. Your lawn aeration will be more effective. If you miss this upcoming season, your next chance is spring next year if your soil is heavily compacted.
  • Make multiple passes with your aerator. We recommend going over your entire lawn twice or thrice and trying to go cross-angle for better coverage. There are always areas of your yard that get more traffic and activity than others; hence, it is essential to identify them and cover them multiple times.
Your takeaways

If you are considering lawn aeration this year and are unsure if you really need it, check if your soil is compacted. You do not need to aerate your lawn every year if your lawn is green and healthy and weed growth is controlled. 

That said, with heavy-clay soils like in Chester County, you may have to aerate more frequently than in other places of the country. Again, knowing your soil composition and paying attention to details helps. You can determine when lawn aeration is needed by thoroughly understanding your lawn condition and implementing lawn care best practices. As always, connect with our team if you need help.