Lawn aeration refers to the literal poking of holes in the lawn's surface. Landscapers and homeowners use motor-driven and hand tools to increase the porosity of the soil beneath the lawn. Like most living things, grass needs oxygen to thrive and grow. Thick brown thatch accumulates between the healthy grass blades at the soil level. Aeration allows the circulation of air to grass roots to promote a healthier lawn.
Improve Lawn Health
A tired lawn featuring bare spots, weeds and patches of soil showing sends a message to the homeowner. The lawn needs serious help to increase the health of the growing environment. Beneath each blade of grass lies a complex growing situation. Thatch lies right below new grass blades and consists of dead grass and roots. Below the thatch lies the topsoil layer that houses the majority of the grass roots. Topsoil becomes compacted from hard rains and contributes to thinning growth of grass. Aeration allows air and water to permeate the topsoil layer to provide essential nutrients for healthy grass roots that, in turn, produce thicker, denser grass.
Reduce Soil Compaction
Compaction limits access of water and air into the soil. The presence of hundreds or thousands of tiny holes punctured into the lawn allows these commodities to percolate into the topsoil layers. Aeration works in a similar manner to cultivation. For example, when a gardener turns over the soil of a planting bed, the process creates a loose layer of soil to allow easy spread of plant roots. Aeration punches through the compacted soil to free roots to expand to capture available water and oxygen.
Stimulate New Grass Growth
Poking holes in your turf seems like a simple thing. At ground level, the effects produce a wealth of activity at the root level. Aeration dislodges thatch that strangles grass roots. The sharp blades of a pitchfork or machine aerator chop off slow-growing grass roots. This process stimulates the plant to produce new roots and grass shoots. Imagine aeration as a type of rejuvenation pruning that gardeners typically perform on a shrub. Each pruning cut represents an area of potential new growth. The same theory applies to each aeration plug removed in the lawn.
The best lawns have a thick layer of topsoil and perfect drainage that limits soil loss over time. In reality, most lawns struggle along on thin topsoil and unconsolidated fill dirt piled in place during the home construction process. Weathering removes fine soil particles to create an even thinner layer of topsoil. Aeration allows water to seep into the soil rather than running off the top. The benefits include less soil loss as well as increased moisture levels in the soil to benefit root growth.