Lawn Aeration – Ventura County, Santa Barbara, Conejo Valley Landscape Maintenance and Care
What is lawn aeration?
Aeration, also known as core aeration, involves extracting 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter cores of soil from the lawn area that are typically 1-6 inches deep and 2-6 inches apart. This can be done by using a hand aerator or mechanical machine. Core aeration is an excellent lawn care practice in order to prevent compaction, control thatch buildup, and help keep soil bacterial process healthy by providing oxygen and water.
What will aeration do for my lawn?
Core aeration can benefit your lawn by:
- Increasing the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch.
- Increasing water, nutrient and oxygen movement into the soil.
- Improving rooting.
- Enhancing infiltration of rainfall or irrigation.
- Helping prevent fertilizer and pesticide run-off from overly compacted areas.
Without regular aeration, the typical lawn tends to have heavily compacted soil due to heavy use from things like foot traffic, sports activities, play, pets, and parking. The most severe affected sites have poor drainage or saturated soil. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water, so heavily compacted soil doesn’t allow for the needed oxygen or space needed for the roots. It reduces nutrient uptake and water infiltration into the soil while being a physical barrier to root growth. This results in overall lawn deterioration.
How do I know if I need to aerate?
It’s a good rule of thumb to assume you should aerate about once per year, but heavily used lawns may need it twice per year. You can do a quick test to see if it’s time to aerate. The best time to do this is in late spring/early summer when roots are at their maximum length. Remove a square foot section of lawn about 6 inches deep. If the grass roots only extend 1-2 inches deep, then your soil is compacted and it’s time to aerate.
When should I aerate?
The best time to aerate is in late summer or early fall.
Where can I get an aerator?
If you want to do it yourself, both hand and machine aerators may be rented or purchased at many garden or rental centers. You can call Scarlett’s maintenance division to schedule aeration.
How do I aerate?
- The soil should be moist but not wet.
- Lawns should be thoroughly watered two days prior to aerating, so tines can penetrate deeper into the soil and soil cores easily fall out of the tines.
- Thorough watering means 1 inch of water from irrigation or rainfall. An inch of water can be measured by marking the side of a pet food can placed in the lawn.
- Applying 1 inch of water may be difficult to achieve in a single watering. Therefore, smaller amounts of water applied every 3 to 4 days may be required to allow water to enter the soil without causing runoff.
- Aerate the lawn in at least two different directions to insure good coverage. Be careful on slopes, especially steep ones, as well as near buildings and landscape beds.
Anything else I can do?
Scarlett’s Landscape offers full landscape maintenance services. There’s gardeners, then there’s Scarlett’s landscape maintenance professionals who have the knowledge, experience, and techniques to keep your Southern California landscape looking its finest! Give us a call today, at (805) 642-3002, to schedule an aeration, full maintenance service, or any other landscape service.