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About Lawn Aerators and Slit-Seeders

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Lawns that experience heavy use through three seasons eventually need aeration. Spring, summer, and fall barbecues, touch football games, pet and pedestrian traffic all eventually add up to compacted turf and hardened soils. That's when your lawn is deprived of vital air, water, and any added nutrients you spray down. If a small cross section of soil shows a grass-root depth of two inches or less, it's most likely time for aeration.

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You may also want to use an aerator or slit-seeder if you have a heavy thatch layer more than a half-inch deep, if your lawn is showing thin spots throughout, or if the soil where you live is heavy in compacted clay composition.

By adding additional pores in the soil, nutrients can reach the roots of the lawn. Rooting is stronger and deeper. More natural moisture (rain, dew, fog, etc.) can get down where it's needed. Aeration increases the natural propagation of microorganisms that promote thatch decomposition.

Do You Need an Aerator or Slit-Seeder?

Most people rent aerators at lawn supply stores or have a lawn service come in to do the work. Be sure to ask a local expert if the aerator has the right kind of tines that pull cores of clogged soils to the surface. The greater the weight of the machine coupled with a high number of tines or spoons results in better penetration.

Slit-seeders may cost more to rent, but are perfect tools if you're reseeding or renovating your lawn. They perform all the aeration work and, at the same time, sew seed into the aerated spaces in the grass and roll the seeds into the earth. Some lawn experts say the use of the machine can have a greater success rate in rooting fresh grass than by using an aerator and hand-sewing seed afterwards.


University of Illinois Extension

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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