Creating Healthy Lawns with Core Aeration
What is core aeration?
Technically speaking, aeration is the naturally occurring process of air exchange between the soil and its surrounding atmosphere. Practically speaking, aeration is the process of mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn to improve natural soil aeration. It's commonly called "core aeration" in a lawn service industry. You may have heard of it as soil cultivation, corking, spiking, and slicing. Most homeowners simply call it aeration.
Core Aeration benefits:
Core aeration can help make your lawn healthier and reduce its maintenance requirements through these means:
- Improve air exchange between the soil and atmosphere
- Enhance soil water uptake
- Improve fertilizer uptake in use
- Reduce water runoff and puddling
- Stronger turf grass roots
- Reduce soil compaction
- Enhance heat and drought stress tolerance
- Improve resiliency and cushioning
Core Aeration equipment affects the outcome…
The type of aeration equipment can determine how effective the treatment will be. In general, turf responds best with core holes that are close and deep. Equipment with hollow tines removes soil cores.
How often should you aerate a lawn?
Most lawns benefit from annual aeration. Heavily used lawns or those growing on heavy clay or subsoil, may need more than one aeration each year. Again, turf responds best when the tine spacing is closer and penetration is deeper.
When is the best time to aerate lawns?
- Warm season turf grass such as Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass should be aerated in mid-spring to summer after the grass comes out of dormancy. Avoid aerating when warm season grasses are dormant; it may encourage weed competition. In addition, avoid aerating warm season grasses during spring green up, and not until after their first spring mowing.
- If you have cool season turfgrass such as fescue and perennial ryegrass, both spring and fall are ideal times to aerate. Fall is the ideal time to aerate when overseeding.