Home Gardening Blog

Fresh Air for You and Your Lawn

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Fresh Air for You and Your Lawn

Fall is a great time to enjoy a breath of fresh air.  It’s also a great time to provide the same for your cool-season turfgrasses.  You can provide that breath of fresh air by core aerating your lawn.

Core aerating is a lawn maintenance practice that is best done on grasses when they are beginning their most active period of growth.  Cool-season grasses are best done in the early fall. Aerification of warm season grasses should be done in late May or early June.

The core aerating machine, such as the one pictured here, removes small cores of soil and deposits them on your lawn. If you look closely, you can see the extracted plugs lying on this lawn. You can rent these self propelled machines or one that can be pulled behind a lawn tractor from most equipment rental companies.

Whether you ‘do it yourself’, or have it done by a turf professional, there are a number of benefits of core aerification including:

  • Reduces soil compaction
  • Helps control lawn thatch
  • Aids in the infiltration of air, water, and nutrients into the soil
  • Encourages deeper rooting of grass plants
  • Helps prevent fertilizer and pesticide runoff
  • The holes provide an ideal site for the introduction of  improved varieties of grass when overseeding
  • They also provide a moist, shaded location ideal for grass seed germination

The core aerating machine can also be used to prepare the soil for seeding when doing a complete lawn renovation. If using the machine for this purpose, several passes in different directions are needed in order to provide good seed to soil contact.

If you plan on doing it yourself, here are a couple of other tips on lawn aeration:

  • The machine does the best job of soil penetration and removing the plugs when the soil is moist but not wet
  • The machines are heavy and can be awkward to handle
  • Get together with your neighbors and have an ‘aerating party’-machine rental for a full day (24 hours) is often only a few dollars more than for the 4 hour ‘minimum’

For other gardening tips and answers to your questions, explore this website. While visiting the Garden, visit us at the Plant Doctor desk here in the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening.  Additionally, the Horticultural Answer Service is always ready to take your phone calls at 314-577-5143 (9 a.m. – noon Monday to Friday.)

Enjoy that “breath of fresh air” and treat your lawn to the same! It will thank you!
| Categories: Summer | Tags: Core aerating , lawns, cool season lawns | View Count: (3137) | Return
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