You may be surprised to learn that like humans, your lawn needs to breathe. Aeration occurs when you penetrate the lawn with small holes, to let the air circulate. This also ensures that air, water and nutrients can reach the soil and grass roots beneath.
Aeration is a vital element to maintaining a healthy and beautiful lawn, without it the air and water balance within the soil is off balance.
Primarily, aeration alleviates soil compaction. Soil compaction is the compression of pores within the soil that should be transporting water and air. Soil compaction occurs with both normal use of the lawn and is influenced by the weather conditions. Over time compaction will cause a reduced water and air supply, impairing the grass growth.
Grass is cultivated on sand or soil profiles, as this provides optimal conditions for the germination of lawn seeds, ensuring consistent and successful grass growth. The subsoil is very important in grass growth and consists of solid mineral and organic components as well as a significant amount of water and air-carrying spores.
Finding the perfect harmony between lawn maintenance and these soil components is essential in order to preserve sustainable and healthy grass growth.
Without the transportation of these nutrients, root growth can be disrupted. Water can struggle to travel down through the soil, causing saturation in the upper layers and therefore oxygen deficiency in the roots.
Your grass cannot prosper if your roots are stunted as a result of lack of nutrients and air.
The space between the solid particles beneath the surface are just as important to healthy growth as the solid soil substance. These soil pores are responsible for the transportation of the nutrients, the necessary water and air circulation. The size of these soil pores can vary depending on the requirements and the composition of the soil. Choosing the appropriate soil pore distribution, for example the coarse, medium or fine pores is vital for grass growth.
How do I know if my soil is compacted?
Compacted soil begins when the number of coarse and medium pores decreases, or if the number of soil pores are saturated with water for a long time due to waterlogging. Leading to negative impact on the load-bearing capacity of your lawn.
The most common reason for soil compaction is daily use of your lawn. Over continued pressure and time this compaction leads to extreme issues with water supply and the soil air balance. Stunting grass growth and restricting soil load-bearing capacity. Depending on the type of soil that you have, the extremes of the soil compaction can differ. It occurs in all soils, however it is most severt in heavy soils, such as pure loam soils or clayey loam soils.
There are multiple signs of compaction on your lawn, including water pooling/puddling on the grass in lower areas, thin, patchy areas of grass or hard soil.
At BMS Products we manufacture a range of tools that can be used to identify soil compaction and to measure the severity of it.
Penetrometers. The Soil Penetrometer should be used to check if you have a compaction layer. A compacted layer will be shown by the gauge indicator increasing upscale and then moving back down scale after passing through the compacted layer. The depth at the beginning of the compacted layer and the depth when leaving the compacted layer should be noted.
Soil Samplers. Using a Soil Sampler is essential to provide an in-depth soil analysis to determine the average nutrient status of an area and to give a measure of the available nutrients in the soil. As well as to identify the composition of the soil and its likelihood to develop soil compaction over time.
When should I aerate my grass?
There is a lot of discussion on the best time to aerate your grass. It should be carried out at regular intervals whenever the weather and soil conditions allow it.
Ideally the lawn or areas being aerated should be aerated during the growth phase, which falls between March and October. For heavily used lawns or greens, it is recommended to ventilate every four weeks.
How often you aerate your lawn depends on its needs, and you can adjust your aeration schedule depending on the condition of the soil, requirements of the turf and the weather. However, it should be carried out at regular intervals when these conditions allow. Overall, aeration should be performed when the turf is healthy and actively growing as it will recover quicker. The most common time to perform aeration is late summer due to holes healing quickly.
How to aerate?
There are a large number of techniques and tools that are available when it comes to reducing lawn compaction that we recommend when you want to aerate your lawn.
There are different tools you can use to aerate your lawn. You can use manual (often hand-held) tools, or if you are covering a larger area machines might be more appropriate.
The main aim of aeration is to create new holes within the lawn (medium and large pores) which, among other things, ensure improved gas exchange. This can be achieved using different methods and using different tools
Spike Aerators are one of the best tools to use, our handheld Sarel Aerator is available in 3 widths (12”, 24” and 36”) and aims to avoid the ‘tearing’ of the turf. Each tensile steel spike is 6mm in diameter and 45mm in length, allowing 250 holes per square meter to be made with this product.
Our 5 Tine Corer Collector is another excellent tool to use when you are aerating your lawn. As it provides assistance with irrigation, seeding, de-compacting areas, to aid root growth. The clever yet simple design that makes this tool unique is the collection box, which catches all of the crumbling remnants that eject through the five 4” x 1/2” (100 x 12.7mm) replaceable hollow tines, leaving no mess to clear up.
We also recommend that you use a variety of tools over the course of the aeration journey to allow for different size pores.
Lawn aeration will improve surface drainage, improve the supply of nutrients, water and air to your grass, promote healthy growth and create a visually appealing lawn for your home. When it comes to lawn care and lawn maintenance, having the right tools can help to do the task in hand to the best of your ability and to get the best results.
If you have any further questions around lawn aeration please get in touch with our team via email or phone.