Garden Dirt | Lawn Aerating

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Mowing, edging, blowing—all the things you do to groom a lawn also compact soil beneath the lawn. Compacted soil squeezes grass roots, slowly choking the life out of turf. If you have never aerated your lawn, chances are you need to—and fall is the ideal time to aerate cool-season turf.

What is aeration?
Aerating is the process of making small holes in the lawn and soil. An aerator machine may poke holes in soil or actually extract small soil cores.

Benefits of aeration include:
+ Allowing oxygen to reach grass roots and soil (healthy roots and soil require oxygen)
+ Opening channels so fertilizer and water can reach grass roots
+ Loosening compacted soil
+ Breaking up thatch

How do I know if I need to aerate?
Use this simple checklist to determine if you need to aerate. “Yes” answers are signs you probably need to aerate.

√  Is it difficult to push a screwdriver or shovel into your lawn?
√  Does water puddle on the lawn after rains?
√  Is your soil heavy clay?
√  Do cars regularly drive on your lawn?
√  Is grass thin and patchy?
√  Is the thatch layer thicker than one-half inch?

Tips
+ Aeration loosens compacted soil and allows air, water, and fertilizer to reach grass roots.
+ Fall is the ideal time to aerate cool-season turf.
+ If cars drive on your lawn regularly, you should aerate.
+ An easy test to determine if you need to aerate is to stick a screwdriver or shovel into soil. If the blade doesn’t slide into soil easily, you should aerate.

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