Regarding Aeration

April is the time to do it!  And, the earlier the better.  Soon your lawn will become active, and you want it aerated before that day!  Keep in mind, the roots of the lawn are in fact active throughout the winter, hence why if your lawn is struggling it can be beneficial to do a fertilizer mid-winter.  How does aeration work?  When we aerate, our machines pull ‘plugs’ of soil out of your lawn, and redeposit them on top of the grass.  These ‘voids’ that are left behind allow the surrounding turf to relax and fill in those voids, thereby lowering the density of the turf as a whole.  How does this help?  First, it allows the roots an easier environment for growth.  Remember, roots grow down and sideways.  On top of root growth, it helps with water and nutrient infiltration.  Imagine roots being strong enough to grow through concrete.  Aeration would still be important as we would need to ensure fertilizer, water, air, etc. get to those roots.

 

How else does aeration help?  It keeps thatch in control!  As many of you may have heard from us directly, we do not typically have a thatch problem in our area.  That being said, we do have some.  Remember, a small amount of thatch is a good thing!  It acts as an insulator from cold in the winter, and heat in the summer.  When we aerate, those plugs that come out eventually decompose, ensuring there is no thatch in those spots.  Eventually, it will regenerate, naturally, and that’s fine!  CSU turf grass says the best way to keep thatch at a desired level is simply aerating in the spring and fall.

 

Timing:  As I said, the earlier the better.  However, if you need to mark your sprinkler heads with flags, don’t rush yourself.  In the spring it is acceptable to aerate through May.  That being said, do NOT have an aeration done any later than that.  Done in months when it is too hot can damage your lawn.  In the fall, the best time to do it is September, as that is when the lawn is going through a final growth phase for the winter.  There is some new evidence coming out stating that it’s fine to also aerate in October, but as the roots are slowing their growth, I suspect September is still more beneficial.

 

Important notes regarding aeration, and the company you hire…  If you’re in our area, there are two specific ways our aeration is superior.  Most importantly, we clean the tines of our aerators out after each lawn, minimizing the risk of transferring diseases, weeds, etc.  Why are there plugs left in the aerator considering they redeposit them on your lawn?  The plugs stay in the tines until the next set of pulled plugs force the old ones to be ejected, therefore, plugs are always left behind after a lawn.  If you’re not in our area, it’s not a bad idea to ask your provider to do so before the drop their tines into your turf.  Secondly, and equally important, is we go over each area twice.  A lot of people used to say depth of the plugs mattered most, however most machines have heavy weights that help pull deep plugs.  Additionally, take a look at the plugs after they’re pulled from your lawn.  Chances are, the aerators pulled plugs deeper than the roots grow.  That being said, going over each area twice is more important than depth, because the plugs pulled need to be, on average, within two inches of one another.  However, tines on the aerator are four inches apart.  So, going over it a second time IS A MUST!  Additionally, the second pass needs to be in a proper direction.  If you simply turn the machines 90 degrees, there is the chance you can fall into the same pattern you already made, and not pull any new plugs at all!  Therefore, our service dictates that our second pass is at a 45 degree angle, ensuring we pull as many new plugs as possible!

 

So, a recap!  Get it done early April if possible!  If not, throughout May is fine and still ABSOLUTELY beneficial!  Make sure your provider goes over it twice, and then cleans the tines out, which does in fact only help the next client, but this gives you the piece of mind they did it at the house before yours!

 

In the fall, shoot for September, but October is fine as well.

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