If you have a lawn and garden at home, you have probably heard of “soil aeration.” This involves perforating the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This will help the roots to grow and develop, thus making your plants and lawn lush and healthy.
Lawn care experts in Apex NC share a homeowner’s guide to proper soil aeration.
Why Soil Aeration is Important
1. Helps Plants Develop and Grow
Aeration will provide your plants with oxygen. Also, it removes carbon dioxide that can be damaging to them. Your plants won’t thrive if they don’t receive enough oxygen. Furthermore, the accumulation of carbon dioxide will interfere with the roots and hinder their growth.
By looking at your plant’s roots, you will know if they lack oxygen. The roots will have an abnormal shape if the soil is too compact. A chain reaction can happen with underdeveloped roots because they are unable to absorb soil moisture and the required nutrients.
2. Enhances Microorganism Growth and Multiplication
Pay attention to soil aeration to encourage microbial activities in your yard and garden. For healthy plant growth, the soil has microorganisms which, in turn, need oxygen to breathe properly and increase their metabolism. The decomposition of organic matter, sulphur oxidation and nitrification all require oxygen in the soil.
3. Prevents the Development of Toxins and Diseases
Aerating the soil is the best way to prevent toxins and diseases from developing and spreading. If the soil lacks oxygen, toxins can freely develop which can negatively affect the health of your lawn plants.
Aside from carbon dioxide, other toxic elements that may develop include ferrous oxide and H2S. These substances can damage your soil and plants.
4. Keeps the Soil Fertilized
Fertilizers will run off your lawn and garden have compacted soil, and this can lead to the pollution of different bodies of water. But when the soil is aerated, the benefits of the fertilizers you’ve added in it will definitely be preserved much longer since they are properly absorbed.
When to Aerate
Soil aeration is best done during the growing season when the grass and plants can heal, and fill in all the open areas after the soil plugs are removed. For cool season grasses, it is best to aerate the soil in the early spring or fall. But if you have warm season grasses in your yard, it is better to perform soil aeration in the late spring.
Aerating Tools to Use
There are two main aerating tools you can use – a plug aerator and a spike aerator. Plug aerators will remove a plug of grass and soil from your lawn while spike aerators poke holes into the ground.
For best results, lawn care experts recommend using aerating tools that remove plugs of soil. Poking holes can add compaction to the areas around the holes. You can actually rent one from a lawn and garden store. If not, let lawn care professionals do the job for you.
How Soil Aeration is Done
Before getting started, ensure that the soil is moist enough. Nothing is more frustrating than aerating a soil that is dry. If it has not rained in a while, watering the soil a day before aerating it is advised.
The excavated plugs of soil must be allowed to dry. To give your lawn a clean appearance, the soil plugs should be broken down by pounding them using the back of a rake or running them over with a lawn mower. Make sure, though, to sharpen your mower’s blade after breaking up the soil plugs.
In areas that need an additional aeration cycle, perform the second one going in the opposite direction. This will help maximize the benefits of soil aeration.
Immediately after, you must fertilize the soil. Remember that the soil will need some help to recover after the aeration process. The holes will make sure that the soil gets to absorb the fertilizer faster. After this, you should continue performing basic lawn care practices like proper mowing and watering.
Soil aeration is a crucial part of gardening, whether you just have a lawn, or a garden where you like to plant herbs, flowers, and vegetables. The benefits that the aeration process gives your lawn and garden are definitely worth all the effort. If you do not have enough time, let the lawn care professionals aerate your soil for you.