Core aeration is the mechanical removal of small cores or plugs of soil from a lawn using an aeration machine. Leaving the cores on the lawn allows them to break down over time. As a result, they return valuable nutrients and microorganisms to the soil. If you notice areas of compaction from foot traffic or standing water after a rain, this is a great option. However, even a healthy lawn can benefit from annual aeration.
Aerating your lawn is one of the most beneficial things you can do to create a lush and healthy lawn. It increases water absorption, stimulates root development, reduces soil compaction, enhances thatch breakdown, and increases the tolerance to heat and drought stress. If your lawn is bumpy due to poorly leveled soil or wildlife/pests, aerating it can help smooth it out. The majority of lawns will also respond well to overseeding or fertilizer application after aeration.
The best machine for core aeration is a hollow tine machine. This removes small plugs of lawn which eliminates the possibility of the soil becoming more compacted. The cores should be approximately 3″ long and it is best done when the soil is moist, but not wet. Aeration should be done every 1 – 5 years in the spring or late summer/early fall for the best results. If your lawn has a lot of foot traffic or the soil is very heavy, it should be done more often.
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