All About Aeration

July is a tough time for gardeners, homeowners, and especially for landscapers. It’s too late to do all the things meant for spring, yet it is too early to do everything that one has to do in the fall. July is right in that middle period, where the best one can do is maintain their garden, in order to keep it alive. This is especially true for those who live in places that have harsh winters, places like Stouffville, Ontario, or Victoria, British Columbia. It is certainly a great time for vacationing, not so great for those who want to start up a garden and/or do something special to their yard.

So now we come to the difficult subject of aerating a lawn. It is something that needs to be done at specific times in the year (more on that later), and it’s something that requires a lot of specialized equipment. Can it be done by the average homeowner and gardener? Absolutely and once again, that will be covered wholeheartedly in this article. Should it be done by the average homeowner or gardener? Well, that’s a trickier subject. Sure, it can be done, but it’s best left to the professionals, like for example a landscaping company or just the average landscaper.

However, for those out there who want to have complete control over their lawns or gardens, for those who don’t wish to hire a landscaper, than this is the article for them. This is all about Aeration- everything the average homeowner or gardener needs to know.

What is aeration?

Those asking this question probably should look to a landscaper. It’s a somewhat tough job, and as previously mentioned, it’s a job that requires a fair amount of professional equipment, and as such is best done by a landscaper. But, those who have made it this far without turning immediately to a professional landscaper ought to know exactly what they’d be doing should they decide to aerate their lawn themselves.

So what is lawn aeration? Why does it need to be done? Well, there is one word, a six letter word, that is in the heart of the aeration matter, and that word is thatch.

A lot of readers may be even more confused than before. What is thatch? Well, thatch is an organic, loose layer of dead material that exists in lawns. Thatch can consist of many different things, like stems, roots, and shoots. This thatch exists in the layer between the green of the grass and the soil below it, a minuscule area, but an important one no doubt.

Now, this is where things get a bit difficult because a bit of thatch can be a good thing. It can mean protection against either extreme heat or cold, it can promote healthy soil moisture. It’s when there’s too much thatch that there’s an issue with the lawn.

Too much thatch can mean too much water is held, it can promote disease or pests on the lawn. And finally, a build up of thatch means that a lawn is going to have some difficulty breathing. Which, of course, is where lawn aeration comes in.

Lawn aeration, usually, means poking little holes in the lawn to prevent too much thatch from building up. This is usually done in the spring when the grass is starting once again to grow. Of course, this is just the basis of lawn aeration, and the most important lawn aeration is done in the fall. It is called “core aeration” and can be as simple as a good hard rake over the lawn.

How to aerate a lawn.

Here’s where things get a little tricky, as the aeration process, while it may not be the most complicated, requires specific tools and it needs to be done in a specific way. Again, for those who are not confident in their lawn aeration abilities, perhaps it would be best to at the very least consult a professional.

Now, the first thing one needs to know before aerating a lawn is what kind of aeration they are going to perform. There are two different methods- spike and plug aeration. Here’s an insider's tip- plug aeration is the best method. Without wishing to get too technical, plug aeration creates the spaces in the lawn that allow it to breathe better than spike aeration does.

However, when one is aerating, one needs to make sure they don’t hit any irrigation or plumbing lines (this is why hiring a professional can be important)

As for the how, depending on the type of aerator purchased (for this case, let’s talk about a plug aerator) one will usually have to push it around their lawn as one would do with a lawn mower. This may sound simple, but besides the aforementioned irrigation and plumbing lines that need to be avoided, one must make sure not to aerate too much or too little, making sure not to overdo certain areas as well as underdo others. The process can be on the daunting side, and it’s no shame to pass this process onto a professional. Many homeowners don’t have the materials, the know how or frankly, the time to pull of an aeration job. Professionals on the other hand have all of the above, and most of the time are happy to take an aeration job.

And so, this article about lawn aeration has come to an end. Hopefully, a lot was learned by homeowners, landscapers, and gardeners everywhere. Whether they be from Stouffville or Victoria, they all now know that grass can greatly benefit from some aeration. There was some talk about what aeration is and when it should be done, then there was some talk about how one would aerate a lawn, as well as the tools required to do so. Now, all one has to do is wait for either the fall, or perhaps even next spring, in order to properly aerate their lawn. The only issue is this- at the time of writing, it’s still July. So, all that can be done for the average gardener, landscaper, or homeowner is to… wait.

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