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Your Lawn Needs Air, Too: Benefits of Lawn Aeration

by Kate McIntyre, All About Lawns Columnist

It's amazing what a little fresh air can do for people, pets, and even lawns. While it might not be possible to take your lawn for a nice, bracing drive in the country, you can improve its health with a process called aeration. Every lawn needs to be aerated at some point in its life. To see if yours is due, consider getting a lawn analysis. An analysis will tell you about the general health of your lawn and whether your lawn's soil could benefit from aeration.

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What Is Lawn Aeration?

When you aerate your lawn, you punch holes in the soil. These holes allow more air and water circulation around your lawn's roots, preventing fungal invasions, and they encourage the growth of healthy microorganisms in the soil. These microorganisms eat lawn thatch, a layer of dead bits of grass on top of the soil that can choke out your lawn. Aeration also makes it easier for your lawn to grow stronger, deeper roots. A good root system is essential for your lawn's survival in times of drought.

To get your lawn aerated, you have a couple of options. You can contact a lawn care service that will come over and aerate your lawn for you, or you can rent an aerator from a home improvement store and tackle the job yourself. If you opt to aerate yourself, be sure to make a couple passes with the aerator to ensure that you have gotten thorough coverage.

When Should I Aerate my Lawn?

The best times to aerate your lawn are the spring and fall. If you have warm season grass in your lawn, spring is preferable because the grass is gearing up for rapid growth and can recover quickly from aeration. Cool season lawns grow most vigorously in the early fall, so that is a prime time to aerate them. You should avoid aerating in the heat of summer, or if your lawn is very dry. Plan on giving your lawn a good watering two days before you want to aerate.

Some lawns are better candidates for aeration than others. Lawns growing in clay soils usually need aeration around twice a year because the clay compacts easily. Lawns in sandy soil usually need to be aerated much less. Once a year should be sufficient.

Aeration is an easy way to improve your lawn's health. By aerating just once or twice a year, you can ensure that your lawn's roots are strong. You will see the result of healthy roots every time you look outside: an emerald green carpet of thriving grass.

About the Author
Kate McIntyre is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Oregon State University.

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