Spring time! Flowers are growing - green time! It is almost officially spring according to the calendar, hopefully the warmer weather follows. When the weather breaks, it is time for some yard work to make our lawns beautiful for the year. You may be looking at your lawn knowing it needs to be aerated, but you keep putting the treatments off because it seems too hard. Aeration is a simple way to give your yard a healthy lawn. You just have take the time to get it done. You can do it yourself by renting the equipment or you can pick up the phone and hire a professional lawn care company to do all of the hard work. Let’s make this the year to aerate. Make your lawn happy and healthy again by relieving compaction. Core aeration is a great way to keep your lawn green and lush, so let’s talk about when to aerate your lawn this year.
Why Do We Need To Aerate?
Lawn aeration is a treatment used when the soil in your lawn is compacted. A lawn can become easily compacted if a lot of action goes on in your yard. Parking cars on your lawn, animals running around, and kids playing on the lawn are just some common ways soil can become compacted. Compacted soils make it so water and air do not reach the roots of the grass in your lawn, leaving your lawn lacking the nutrients it needs to be healthy. If you live in an area with clay soils, your soil is more likely to become compacted than areas with sandy soils. The bonds in the clay soil are much closer together, making it difficult for water and air to penetrate to the roots.
WARNING: Rolling Your Lawn Causes Compaction
A common misconception is that you should roll your lawn in the springtime. People roll their lawns to smooth out all of the lumps and bumps in the lawn, but this is a bad idea. When rolling a lawn, the soil gets squished down and becomes compacted.
Compacted Soil Symptoms
There a few telltale signs that your lawn is compacted. When the soil is compacted together, there is little room or water to slip through the lawn. If you see pooling in your lawn after heavy rain, your lawn is in desperate need of aeration. Related to poor drainage, if you notice your lawn turning brown and looking dehydrated, it is not getting enough water. When the soil is compacted, it is blocking the water from reaching the grass roots. If you lawn feels spongy and the thatch is thick, your yard needs some core aeration.
When To Aerate Your Lawn
The times of the year to aerate your lawn with cool season grasses is in the spring or fall. During those periods, you will have to do it in the start of the season (so early spring and early fall). It is March, so spring aeration is upon us. To best prevent weeds with core aeration, you will need to aerate before spring weeds start to germinate. Weeds begin to germinate when the daily average soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This generally happens around late March or early April in Ohio. For spring aerating, the best time to aerate your lawn in Ohio is early to mid March. This will ensure that you will be able to prevent weeds.
Dandelions are also a good thing to look for. If you see the dandelions popping up in your lawn, it is too late to aerate. If you miss spring aeration, fall is another great time to aerate. Fall aeration should take place mid to late October after temperatures have cooled down. Aerating in the fall preps your grass for the spring. Your lawn will grow greener and thicker the following spring after fall aeration.
How Does Core Aeration Work?
A core aerator machine pulls out plugs of soil in your lawn to leave pockets for air and water to get through and leave room for root growth. It is important to use core aeration methods because using spikes to just poke holes in the ground could cause further compaction. The plugs of soil that were taken out by the aerator will break down and give more nutrients to your lawn. The cost of aerating your lawn depends on the size of your lawn. If you want to DIY or hire a lawn care company, there are other treatments you want to do with aeration.
A great treatment to do along with your spring aerating is overseeding. Overseeding is when you put seed down on top of your existing grass. Putting down new grass seed will fill in bare spots and help your lawn grow thicker and stronger. When aeration is paired with overseeding, the new seeds will make contact with the soil easier.
Another treatment that goes great with aeration and seeding is fertilizing. Fertilizer is used to give the grass nutrients that are not supplied naturally by the soil. The early spring is when you want to apply fertilizer to your lawn, just like with aeration, so why not do them together? Fertilizer can be used with fall aeration as well. It will feed your grass throughout the winter and give you a lush green lawn in the spring. To know what nutrients to use, your lawn company will take a sample of the soil in your lawn and see what level of nutrients occur naturally in your lawn. They will choose a fertilizer that will supplement the lacking nutrients in your soil.
Leave It To The Pros
Taking care of a yard and keeping your lawn healthy is no walk in the park. If you do not have time or simply do not want to work on your lawn, call a professional. A pro is going to know exactly when to aerate your lawn and they are going to be able to do it professionally. When comparing prices, you might find that hiring a lawn care company will cost you about the same as renting the equipment, buying seed and fertilizer, and spending your free time doing work. Professionals have the knowledge and the skills to give you a beautiful and healthy lawn that will thrive throughout the whole spring and summer.