CHARLOTTE – Aeration is an important component of any lawn care maintenance plan. It creates openings in lawn turf, penetrating the root and thatch layers and allows water and air down into the soil where it can better reach the grassroots. “Core aeration” is the practice of punching small plugs, or cores, into the lawn and is usually done with a motorized machine that can be rented. Landscaping contractors also include aeration among their menu of lawn care services.
Aeration breaks up heavily compacted soil which may be present on a lawn that gets heavy foot traffic or is heavy in clay content.
Where thatch is a genuine problem, a true dethatching operation is a better solution. However, dethatching is a fairly violent action to a lawn, and an annual core aeration may well prevent thatch problems in the first place.
If you have the type of soil and conditions that require lawn aeration, you can do it once each year. It does not hurt your lawn, and in fact, will make it healthier and more attractive. Left on the lawn, the plugs will quickly break up and decompose.
Spring aerating is discouraged because the aeration holes provide a perfect spot for weed seeds to germinate. Weed seeds are the first seeds to germinate in the spring, and aerating the lawn just stirs them up and gives them ideal growing conditions.
Fall, normally October and November in our region, is the best time to aerate when the temperatures have cooled off, when the weed pressure is minimal, and when grass is actively growing.