A lawn core aerator is a device used to improve the health of a lawn. As old grass dies and new grass grows in season after season, old grass can get compacted into a matted layer called thatch. A lot of foot traffic, accumulated leaf litter and clay soil can add to the problem, creating a tough surface area that does not let water or nutrients flow in and does not provide enough oxygen to the soil. This can damage or weaken the lawn, making it patchy and unattractive and allowing weeds to take seed more easily. Plug or core aeration is the solution.
The Core Aeration Process
Plug aerators have tiny scoops or hollow spikes on a wheel. As the wheel rotates, the spoons dig into the lawn, making little holes. The scooped out dirt is then left on the lawn, where it can slowly work back into the soil. The little holes give the roots of the grass room to spread out and tunnel deeper into the earth, resulting in a stronger, healthier lawn. They also let water and fertilizer sink into the earth so they can nourish the grass.
Aerating needs to be done at the proper time or it can cause more harm than good. Aerating should never be done to new sod in the first season or to grass weakened by a drought. A lawn should be moist but not sodden when it is aerated. Lawn aeration can be done a full day after a normal watering, for example. Anyone aerating should also take care to avoid hoses, sprinkler heads and other obstacles because running over one can damage both the aerator and whatever it tramples.