You fertilise your turf, you water it, you mow it, and you may even top-dress it from time to time, but do you aerate it? People tend to fall into one of three camps -those that do aerate, those that don’t, and those that want to aerate, but aren’t sure how to do it, and want to know more.
If you’re in either of the last two camps, this article ‘An introduction to aerating your garden turf’ is for you. We’ll cover:
- What is aerating?
- Why is aerating your turf important?
- How should you aerate your turf?
- When should you aerate your turf?
What is aerating?
Simply put, aerating your turf/lawn is a way to improve the soil beneath, by poking it with a series of holes about 2 inches deep.
Aerating can be done with a garden fork (not highly recommended, or the most fun, especially if you have a large lawn), a manually operated roller aerating tool, which looks a bit like a rake with wheels, or a mechanical aerator (petrol or electrical powered), which will often also be designed to remove subsurface thatch.
Why is aerating your turf important?
Aerating your garden turf has two key benefits
- It helps increase the flow of CO2 to the root system
Getting CO2 to the root system is vital to all plants, so that even when there’s no sunlight for photosynthesis to occur, the plant still has the ability to create sugars and oxygen.
- It helps the root to consume water and other vital nutrients
Of course, soil is porous so fertiliser and water will eventually penetrate, but, with constant traffic and as the root system establishes, over time turf becomes compacted, therefore reducing its absorption ability.
How should you aerate your turf?
As we’ve already mentioned, there are various ways to aerate your turf, either with a garden fork, a manual aerating tool, or a mechanical aerator. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to follow these simple rules:
- Only aerate when the turf is moist (not over-wet). The best time is either the day after heavy rainfall, or the day after watering.
- Focus aeration on the most heavily and visibly compacted areas.
- Leave soil plugs on the turf after aerating. These will eventually break down and refill the aerating holes.
- Fertilise and water the turf after aerating, and if possible add a topdressing.
When should you aerate your turf?
Generally, it’s best to aerate your turf/lawn either in the spring or in the autumn, as these seasons are most likely to see a plentiful supply of rain.
Many people prefer the spring for aerating, as it’s the start of the growing season, but either way shouldn’t make much difference, as long as you aerate at least every two years, and every year for clay-rich soil.
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If you’re looking for cheap but high-quality garden turf, get in touch with Ivinghoe Turf today. With over 35 years’ experience in the production and supply of garden grass rolls, we have all you need to create a truly stunning lawn.