When we think of grass maintenance, it’s usually mowing, watering and fertilising – but what about lawn aeration, and when should you deploy this tactic?
Is there truly anything worse than putting months of work into your lawn, only to see bare patches popping up and sections withering away before your eyes? We think not. However, many green thumbs are guilty of underestimating the importance of lawn aeration, which ultimately minimises and (ideally) eliminates the knock on effects of soil compaction.
Regular lawn aeration provides your grass with a wealth of benefits, with just a handful including:
- Relieves surface compaction and encourages growth of new roots
- Increases the depth of roots
- Improves uptake of nutrients
- Reduces the buildup of thatch below the surface
- Stimulates the soil borne microbes which are important in maintaining healthy soil
- Improves the permeability of the soil
- Improves drainage, reducing the risk of fungal diseases like red thread
- Improves the exchange of air between the soil and the atmosphere
However, one of the most common reasons that gardeners avoid lawn aeration is because they simply don’t know when to do it, or how to do it – until now.
A Beginner’s Guide To Lawn Aeration
The wonderful thing about all plants – even grass – is that they’ll often let you know what they need, and when. While not all lawns were created equal, there’s a high chance that yours is a candidate for lawn aeration if it ticks one or more of the following boxes.
Lots Of Traffic – Does your lawn get a lot of foot traffic, such as serving as the local playground or afternoon games room? Children and pets regularly stomping around outside are one of the biggest contributors to soil compaction.
Freshy Established – Have you only recently constructed your home, or perhaps got stuck into some new landscaping in the garden? More often than not, the topsoil of new lawns is stripped or buried, and the grass established on subsoil has been compacted by construction traffic.Best step before planting out a new lawn is to make sure there is sufficient top soil for the grass roots to penetrate in to but if it’s too late for that, aeration is the next best thing!
Drought Survival Mode – Like many Australian lawns in recent years, dry and arid conditions make it very difficult for a lawn to properly absorb and retain any moisture, as the ground has quite simply hardened and compacted as a result. Aeration helps water penetrate to negate the effects of drought and build stronger and more tolerant root systems.
Before you start tackling lawn aeration, make sure your lawn’s soil is moist enough. It is advisable to aerate after rain or watering your lawn. If the area in question is small, many green thumbs just get started with a pitch fork. However, if your patch is slightly larger, you might want to consider investing in some tools of the trade.
Two primary lawn aeration tools exist – either a spike aerator, or a plug aerator. With a spike aerator, one simply uses the tool to poke holes into the ground with a solid tine, fork or even lawn aeration shoes. In comparison, plug aerators remove a core or plug of grass and soil from the lawn.
For the best results, use an aerating tool or machine that actually removes plugs of soil. Poking holes is less effective and can actually cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes. To maximise your lawn aeration efforts, keep up with regular watering, mowing and fertilisation, and try to aerate around twice a year on average.
Staying On Top Of Lawn Weeds After Aeration
It’s important not to undo all of your hard work that’s been put into getting your lawn fluffy and green. While it can be hard to know which chemical-based weed killers may also damage your turf, your pets or even your family, the good news is that there is a safer alternative now on the market.
While hand plucking weeds is an easy and cost free method used to prevent a weed infestation – it’s certainly not the most convenient. In comparison, a glyphosate-free weed killer like Bioweed is a safe way to keep them under control. As a non-residual solution, it will break down into the soil in as little as 72 hours and can combat over 200 invasive weed species. The best part? It’s not just exclusive to lawns, and can be used to defend your garden or even pastures against a large variety of foreign invaders.
After all, what’s the point of a well-manicured lawn if you can’t stop and feel the grass between your toes from time to time? Now that you have all of the insights required in order to keep the local turf weeds under control, there’s no reason why you can’t.
With a team of highly experienced plant and gardening enthusiasts, the team at Bioweed are armed with a wealth of knowledge, tips and tricks that can help you to get your lawn and garden looking their very best. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’re looking for further organic gardening solutions.