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Florida Lawn Aeration Guide

Updated: Jan 27

When, Why, and How

The lawn of our dream is thick, luxuriant and beautifully green, and living in Florida we have the chance to have well-cared lawns pretty much year-round. But we also know that just watering it every once in a while is not enough. If we want to maintain a beautiful lawn, we should learn how to employ some basic care practices that can help us achieve the results we want.


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Lawn Aeration is one of these practices and it’s extremely important. It allows air, water, the expensive environmental friendly fertilizer you last bought, to penetrate and reach the soil beneath your grass, so that all these elements can nourish it in the best possible way.

With this guide you can learn why, when and how to aerate your lawn.


What is Aeration?


Aeration is the process of removing small cores of soil from the lawn, basically, by poking holes in the dirt. Through these holes, air, water and fertilizers will reach the roots of the grass more efficiently, so that roots will grow deeper and produce a stronger and healthier lawn.




Why to aerate your lawn?


Aeration is an important care practice that can help you achieve a healthy lawn for many reasons:

As we’ve already discussed, removing some of the soil would give the roots space to grow so they can create stronger grass.

It helps alleviate soil compaction. When the soil is compacted it has a dense particle population that prevents air, water and nutrients from properly circulating.

It helps remove thatch. Thatch is a layer of living and dead turf grass tissue amassed on a lawn surrounding the base of the grass, and it can prevent water and fertilizer from penetrating the soil and benefiting the plants.

You’ll reduce the waste of water. Once you’ve aerated your lawn, you need less water to maintain it, because all the water you’re using is able to reach the grass’ roots.


When to aerate your lawn?


You’ll reduce the waste of water. Once you’ve aerated your lawn, you need less water to maintain it, because all the water you’re using is able to reach the grass’ roots.


When to aerate your lawn?

As a general rule, if your lawn doesn’t seems to be growing like it should - even despite proper care such as proper watering or sun exposure - lawn aeration might be necessary.

There are some other indicators that you should aerate:

If, despite proper watering, your lawn tends to dehydrate quickly, it may be a sign that excessive thatch is present. You should measure the thatch and if it’s over half an inch you should proceed to aerate your lawn.

By digging up a small section of your grass, you can examine your roots. If they’re shorter than two inches, it may be time to aerate your lawn.

Presence of soil layering. Soil layering is when a layer of garden compost is spread over the bed to grow seeds. This layering disrupts the water drainage, and this condition is likely to lead to compacted soil and poor root development. The process of aeration would break up the layering, allowing the water to flow through the soil and reach the roots.

Children or pets often running or playing on your lawn can contribute to soil compaction. If this is your case, aeration could be beneficial.

Other than paying attention to such indicators, you should also know what are the best times of the year to aerate your lawn. Knowing when and how often to aerate your lawn can also make a difference. When aeration process is performed more than necessary, for example, it can damage your grass not less than neglecting the practice.

As a general rule, the best time for aeration is during the growing season, when the grass can heal after soil is been removed. The growing season depends on the type of grass, thus:

If you have a cool weather variety of grass, such as perennial rye-grass, aeration can be done between March and May, or in the fall.

If you have a warm season grass, aeration is best done between April and July. You shouldn’t aerate these types of grass until after the grass has turned green in the spring.

In most cases, you only need to aerate once per year. But, once again, you should consider what type of grass you have: if your lawn is growing well, or you have a sandy soil you can aerate even every 2-3 years because this type of soil doesn’t compact easily. On the other hand, if your children use to play on your lawn, or you have clay soil (which is wet and compacts easily), you should aerate every year.




How to aerate your lawn


The aerating process begins by preparing the area. You should water the lawn at least a day or two before aeration. You should add about an inch of water to the soil so that the aerator can penetrate it easier; on the other hand, you should avoid aerate a muddy area: the excessively wet soil would clog the machine.

Before starting the process, also, you should be mindful of any irrigation pipes, or utility lines so you won’t run over them while aerating.





What tools should you use to aerate your lawn?


Lawn aeration can be made with either a manual or power tool. If you have a small lawn and you would enjoy spending some time outside, you can opt for a manual tool.

Manual aeration tools are basically two:

Spike Aerator - a tool that you can use to simply poke holes into the ground with a solid tine or a fork.

Plug Aerator - a tool that removes a plug of grass and soil from the lawn.

A plug aerator would be more effective since aeration itself is more effective when you actually remove plugs of soils.

A power aeration tool would be ideal if you have a vast lawn. Their cost could be a deciding factor (they would be far more expensive than manual tools), but you can consider renting them. If you opt for a power tool, you should always follow the provided instructions so that you can be sure you’re working safely and not damaging your lawn.

Now that you’ve learned about Lawn Aeration, you can get why it is considered a key component of a well grown and healthy lawn. You now know everything you need to understand why, when and how to aerate your lawn.




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