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By Garry Lusk

January 27 2023

5 Minute(s) read

While many homeowners diligently mow, water, and fertilise their lawns, aerating often remains an untapped secret. Aeration, the process of creating small holes in the soil, plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and beautiful lawn. 

In this blog, the team at Lilydale Instant Lawn will explore the many benefits of aerating your lawn, from improved nutrient absorption to enhanced root development. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice lawn enthusiast, join us as we delve into the fascinating world of aeration and discover how this simple practice can transform your yard into a green oasis.



The benefits of lawn aeration 

Lawn aeration offers numerous benefits that contribute to the overall health and beauty of your lawn. Here are some key advantages:

  • Enhanced oxygen and nutrient absorption - by creating small holes in the soil, aeration allows oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the root zone. This promotes stronger root growth, resulting in a healthier and more resilient lawn.
  • Improved water drainage - over time, soil can become compacted, leading to poor water drainage and an increased risk of water runoff. Aeration helps loosen compacted soil, allowing water to penetrate the root zone more effectively. This prevents waterlogging and helps prevent the formation of puddles and standing water on the surface.
  • Increased fertiliser efficiency - aeration improves the efficiency of fertilisers by ensuring that they reach the roots where they are most needed. Nutrients can easily leach away from compacted soil, but aeration helps prevent this loss and promotes better uptake by the grass, resulting in greener and healthier growth and a vigorous lawn. 
  • Improved soil structure - compacted soil often hinders the natural movement of roots and restricts their access to essential elements. Aeration loosens the soil, promoting better structure and allowing roots to spread more easily. This results in improved air circulation, nutrient availability, and overall soil health.

By incorporating lawn aeration into your regular maintenance routine, you can enjoy these benefits and create an environment where your grass can thrive.


What is compaction?

The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction. Soil compaction limits the amount of nutrients and water that penetrates the roots of your lawn. Compaction is a common problem for homeowners and can be caused by many factors, including regular foot traffic, driving on your lawn, sports activities and general use of your lawn.

Compaction prevents oxygen, nutrients, and water from accessing the grass roots, leading to poor lawn health. Aeration solves this problem by creating small holes in the soil, which loosens the compacted areas and improves airflow and water drainage. These channels also provide space for roots to penetrate deeper into the soil, promoting stronger and healthier root growth. As the soil becomes less compacted, beneficial microbial activity increases, aiding in the breakdown of organic matter and nutrient release. 


Aeration vs coring - what’s the difference? 

Aeration and coring are two related but distinct methods used to improve soil and lawn health. 

Soil aeration definition

Aeration refers to the process of creating small holes or channels in the soil to alleviate compaction and improve airflow, water penetration, and nutrient absorption. It can be done using various tools such as spike aerators, plug aerators, or liquid aerators. Aeration does not remove soil cores from the ground but rather focuses on creating openings in the soil to enhance its overall health and structure.

Soil coring definition

Coring involves the extraction of small soil cores from the ground using a specialised machine called a core aerator. These machines typically have hollow tines that remove cylindrical plugs of soil from the lawn. The removed cores can range in size from a few inches to several inches in length. Coring helps alleviate compaction, improves water infiltration, and allows for deeper root penetration. Additionally, it helps break up thatch layers and facilitates the decomposition of organic matter.

While both aeration and coring aim to improve soil and lawn conditions, the key difference lies in the extraction of soil cores during the coring process. Aeration focuses on creating openings in the soil, while coring involves removing excavated soil plugs to achieve similar benefits. The choice between the two methods depends on factors such as the severity of compaction, soil type, and specific lawn conditions.

When should you aerate your lawn?

The ideal time to aerate your lawn depends on the grass type and the climate in your region. Generally, cool-season grasses are best aerated in the early spring or fall, while warm-season grasses are typically aerated in late spring or early summer. This will ensure you have a healthy lawn all year round. 


Can you over-aerate your lawn?

It is possible to over-aerate your lawn. While aeration is beneficial for soil health, excessive or improper aeration can cause damage to the grass and disrupt the overall balance of the lawn. Aeration should not be done too frequently. Most lawns benefit from annual or biennial aeration, depending on the specific needs of the lawn and the severity of compaction. 

Remember to aerate when the soil is moderately moist but not overly wet. Aerating overly wet soil can result in excessive soil disruption and compaction, negating the benefits of aeration.


How do I aerate my lawn? 

Aerating your lawn doesn’t have to be a major lawn care operation. Smaller areas of lawn can be aerated manually with aerating sandals or a sturdy garden fork, whereas it’s best to hire specialised aerators if you have a larger lawn. To do the job yourself, follow these simple steps. 

  1. Simply insert the fork or corer into the lawn and wriggle it back and forth to fracture the soil surface.
  2. Aim for a spacing between the holes of around 8 – 10cm.
  3. To achieve adequate aeration, you may need to go over the area twice in a different direction each time.

Additionally, soil additives can work in conjunction with aeration to enhance the overall health and quality of your lawn. When used appropriately, they can improve soil structure, nutrient availability, and water retention.

For more information about aerating your lawn or lawn maintenance, contact the friendly team at Lilydale Instant Lawn today.