Lawn Aeration Equipment & Methods | Pitfalls & Risks of DIY

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What you should know about seasonal lawn aeration

on December 7, 2016 by TruGreen

When you think about your Saturday morning plans, do you dream of aerating the lawn? How about loading a 279-pound lawn aerator into your truck or even worse-—trying to fit it into the back of your sedan? We didn’t think so. 

Lawn aeration can be an incredibly beneficial service for your lawn when done with the proper lawn aeration equipment at the right times of the year, and under the right environmental conditions. Also known as core aeration, this process opens the soil so that nutrients, water, and air have easier access to grass roots, which helps thicken and restore the vitality of your lawn.

But aerating a lawn is time-consuming and physically demanding. Plus, you likely have to go through the process of renting an aerator from your local home and garden store, which can cost you about $100 a day. You’ll also need to be prepared with safety shoes and gloves to help protect those important phalanges.  

What Is the Process of Aerating?

Lawn aeration can be performed with a “spiker” pulled behind a tractor (usually a lawn tractor) or with a self-propelled, gasoline-powered lawn aerator unit equipped with hollow tines that punches holes in the lawn and extracts plugs of turfgrass thatch and soil. Ideally, these plugs (cores) should be about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in diameter, 2 to 3 inches in length, and pulled every 6 inches on average. Knowledgeable turf experts, such as a TruGreen® certified specialist, use professional-grade, self-propelled units. Rented units are often bulky older models that require more than a fair bit of labor on the operator’s part. Even if the labor part doesn’t phase you, the results might. The rented units don’t have the professional hydraulics that give TruGreen® customers those smoother, more accurate results. 

What Are the Benefits of Lawn Aeration?

A lawn aeration service and the process of pulling the cores provides the following benefits:

  • Better air exchange. Aeration "opens" and gives your lawn's roots more room to "breathe." This helps strengthen your lawn by increasing the size and quantity of your lawn's roots.
  • Improved fertilizer absorption. Because aeration opens the soil, more food reaches your turf's roots. More food helps grass grow more roots.
  • More efficient water usage. Aeration lets water flow directly to grass roots which means that you use water more efficiently.
  • Improved resistance. A healthy root system increases your turf's ability to survive if diseases or pests attack your lawn.
  • Enhanced thatch breakdown. Millions of beneficial microbes live in your soil and eat thatch removed by the aerating process. By eating thatch, microbes release nutrients into your soil, which your turf absorbs.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

It’s best to core aerate lawns when the grass is actively growing. That’s the best time to maximize the benefits. Cool-season grasses should be aerated in the spring or fall, and warm-season grasses in the late spring or summer.

Also, lawns should be aerated at least twice a year where significant thatch or soil compaction is present. It’s not likely that a DIYer is going to want to go give their lawn that kind of attention, especially after what they went through in their previous experience aerating their lawn. 

Beyond the hassle and expense of getting and using a heavy, noisy lawn aerator, the eager but inexperienced DIYer may actually harm their lawn by aerating it at the wrong time of the year or during unfavorable environmental conditions, such as during a drought. Luckily, your TruGreen® specialists know the right conditions and times to aerate your lawn, so you don’t have to worry.

How to Prepare for TruGreen® Visit

Your TruGreen® lawn specialist will do the heavy lifting during the aeration process, but there are a few steps you’ll need to help with prior to their arrival. For best results, remove leaves and debris from your lawn, mow, and lightly water your grass 24 hours before the scheduled service. Also, mark any underground sprinkler heads and invisible fences with flags or stakes. 

How TruGreen® Can Help

TruGreen® PhD-certified specialists can advise you on not only lawn aeration, but a full range of lawn care services that can be tailored to meet your lawn’s unique needs.

As America’s lawn care leader, TruGreen® uses modern, efficient lawn aeration equipment in its science-based approach to lawn care and their agronomists have the training and expertise to help restore your lawn to health and beauty. To learn more about the TruGreen commitment to a healthy lawn, or to sign up for a lawn care service plan, visit TruGreen.com or call 866.688.6722 today.

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