Aeration may mean different things under various contexts and circumstances. Commonly, to aerate something means to supply it with air or expose it to the circulation of air. For example, in garden care, many different types of aerators are used to aerate soil by removing plugs or cores.
In medical fields, aeration can mean to expose to oxygen. In this instance, as in the oxygenation of the blood by respiration. Yet another meaning of this word is to supply or charge (liquid) with a gas. Especially to charge with carbon dioxide. Because there are many different contexts in which the word aeration can be used, this page contains information about the most common functions of aeration and its distinct uses.
Lawn Aerators are used by gardeners to continuously and effectively supply the soil underneath the grass of the yard lawn with air. Lawn aerators are often used before fertilization of the lawn with grass seeds, flowers or small or medium-size garden trees takes place. There are different types of aerators available.
The environmentally safe garden aeration sandal shoes are affordable within any gardener's budget. They serve as a "green" nature-friendly gardening tool. Coincidentally, most models of aerator shoes are green. For more aggressive lawn aeration work, there are also hand-operated aeration devices called spike aerators that are held in the user's hands and pushed down into the soil by foot.The heavy-duty metal aerators are commonly attached to the back of a tractor or a combine and are only suitable for work in large fields or farms.
Soil aeration is used to open up the pores and gaps soil for water and air (oxygen molecules). These pores serve as passages for supplying air and water to the roots of the undelying plants or grass. In gardening, there are two common types of aeration. Aeration that refers to the process of using hand-held or mechanized equipment to puncture the soil with spikes is called spike aeration. The other type of aeration is called core aeration and refers to removing approximately 1" by 2" cores of soil from the ground.
Spike aeration is considered a heavy-duty crop field activity, but small-scale hand-operated tools exist for gardeners. Heavy duty spike aeration involves the use of an aeration machine with spikes up to a foot or more in length. Spike aeration is helpful at fixing drainage issues in areas with turf, whereas spike lawn aerators are useful for taking care of the soil in your yard lawn. In general, spike aeration is not considered an effective way of aerating the lawn because it may contribute to compaction. Although many hand aerators exist, core aerators are more commonly used for this purpose.
Core aeration is done on turf areas as a means of reducing turf compaction and thatch buildup. Some of the other functions of core aeration is improving the infiltration of water and nutrients, and creating an environment where grass seed can have direct contact with the soil.
Lawns are known for not only looking pretty and well taken care of, they are also know for being walked on. In addition the lawn may suffer from children's play, pets, sports activities or car parking. All of these activities result in soil compaction which reduces the chances of air and water supplying the important nutritients to the grass roots.
Soil compacting is especially a severe problem in dry weather environments because not only the supply of water and humid air is restricted but it is also limited. Compaction reduces pore space and therefore the amount of air that gets through the upper grass layer and acts as a physical roadblock for root growth.
Core aeration can be used to prevent this in your lawn and stimulate your lawn into healthy growth. It increases the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch. It increases nutritients and water flow to the roots to improve growth activity.
also influences the roots to be stronger and healthier. When the rainfall, the cores and plugs taken out of the soil increase the chances of water to feed the grass. The fertilizer and pesticides no longer run-off from overly compacted areas after being aerated.
When should I aerate the lawn?
This question may seem obvious to a professional gardener. According to Master Garden Products web page about lawn aeration in Virginia, the best time to aerate cool season lawns of tall fescue grass
and Kentucky blue grass
is in late August to mid September.
This is when these lawns are coming out of summer dormancy and beginning a period of vigorous growth. During this time lawns will recover quickly from aeration. Competition from weeds is also minimal during this time of year. Warm season lawns like bermuda grass
and zoysia grass
are best aerated during June and July, as this is their period of rapid growth.
Before aerating the lawn, it should be humid and not dry. The lawn also shouldn't be soaking wet. The lawn is thoroughly watered two days prior to being aerated, ensuring that the tines can penetrate deeper into the soil. About 1 inch of water from irrigation or rainfall is enough.
This allows the soil cores to fall out of the tines easily. Again, the lawn should be relatively moist, but not completely wet. This will avoid the cores to stick in the hollow tines. Therefore it is a good idea to wait a couple of days after heavy rainfal before aeration takes place.
Aeration will help control thatch, but some terrain types make this process difficult. For example clay surfaces or surfaces that contain rocks or large tree roots beneath are a challenge to aerate. The sharp tines can cause several problems against which precautions should be made.
Make sure to mark any areas that can result in potential damage to other utility objects such as underground tv cables, telephone wires, septic lines, swimming pool tubes, plumbing systems and sprinkler heads. Once the soil cores are on the lawn surface they should not be touched and will work themselves back into the grass within about 2 to 4 weeks.
The lawn may be fertilized and seeded immediately after aeration.
Aerating the lawn is usually an annual activity. Once a year is considered frequent enough even for heavily composted conditions.