Benefits of Core Lawn Aeration

Benefits of Core Lawn AerationMany homeowners aerate their lawns in early spring or the fall before it is time to seed and before the ground freezes. Aeration means ‘to ventilate’ or ‘to provide air’ and there are two ways to do this to ones lawn: one way is by ‘coring’ or pulling out ‘plugs’ of soil and grass and the other way is through ‘spike’ aeration or slicing deep ‘cuts’ into the lawn to break up the packed down soil. Both of these methods of aeration allows the soil and roots to receive water and air they desperately need in order to grow straighter and healthier blades of grass.

Some examples of where aeration is needed is when the lawn does not drain properly – the soil will not soak up the water quickly; there are large brown, dry patches where the grass does not grow, it is a well traveled ‘foot-path’ or there are excessive weeds such as crabgrass and dandelions growing in a patch.

Homeowners with larger lawns, or those who simply want better results, have a professional lawn care company come to their home and use the ‘core’ method of aeration on their lawn. By extracting cores of soil from a lawn, an individual is breaking up the knotted roots and thatched soil in order to allow water and air to penetrate deeper into the soil and reach the roots so that the grass grows straighter and greener, healthier.

A “woody” organic material develops on the top of the soil and under the growing grass and this is known as thatch. If allowed to continue to grow, thatch could lead to insect infestation, drought or lawn diseases; it could literally suffocate a lawn so that it won’t grow. Core aeration helps to reduce thatch buildup by removing some of its increasing production of the organic material.

The core aeration method breaks up the knotted roots by cutting out sections or ‘chunks’ of the roots, soil and grass so that what is left can grow back together and receive more of the air and water it needed to survive and thrive as a healthy lawn.

The ‘spike’ method or when someone simply pushes a knife into the soil to make slits, does not allow for the proper amount of water and air to reach the roots in addition to allowing for re-growth of newly formed roots. This method, which could be done with a small garden tool or pitch fork to push air into the soil and break up the packed dirt, would be okay to use on a small area needing aeration, however for bigger lawns, the core method of digging up ‘plugs’ is best for the lawns recovery and healthy maintenance.

After core aeration is completed, it may be tempting to pick up all the ‘plugs’ but it is best to leave them lying on the lawn because the soil plugs provide needed nutrients for the growing grass and they will eventually dissipate and become part of the lawn again.