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Lawn Aeration Tips to Give You a Greener Grass

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

If your lawn soil is compacted, your lawn might not be getting the air it needs to thrive. Lawn aeration attends to this problem, pulling up plugs of soil and allowing water and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass.

Lawn aeration strengthens the roots, and strong roots equal a lush, green lawn. Aerating once or twice a year will generally do. With a lawn aerator, lawn aeration can be an easy do-it-yourself project, but any good lawn care provider can aerate for you as well.
  • Tip #1. Use a lawn aerator that pulls out plugs of soil, not one that uses spikes. You might imagine that spikes make holes that allow water and nutrients to reach your lawn's roots just like any other lawn aerator. Since the spikes don't take any soil out with them, however, they often contribute to the very soil compaction problem they are trying to solve.
  • Tip #2. Water your lawn the night before you plan to aerate. This will ensure that your soil is nice and soft. Working a lawn aerator through dry, hard earth can be a challenge.

  • How would you like to improve your lawn?
    • Make it greener
    • Eliminate patches
    • Less weeds
    • Make it thicker
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  • Tip #3. Aerate the highest traffic parts of your lawn most frequently. Heavy foot traffic can make soil practically impermeable, and lawn aeration can go a long way to solving high-traffic-area problems like slow growth and low resistance to wear and tear. Lawn aeration can make particularly weak lawns vulnerable to weeds, though, so consider applying an herbicide at the same time you aerate.
  • Tip #4. When you're done, remove the plugs. Chances are you've walked by a recently aerated lawn and wondered who let the dogs out. Spare yourself any sidelong glances from the neighbors. Simply gather up the plugs or mow over them with your lawn mower to break them up.


About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.



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