If you wish to maintain a healthy lawn over the years you will
benefit from using a lawn aerator to help with lawn aeration. Lawn
aeration is the process of creating holes (or cores or slits) in
the soil the lawn is grown on to reduce soil compaction. It is essential
to aerate compacted lawns as it allows oxygen into the soil which
is vital for root growth and also allows carbon dioxide that inhibits
water uptake by roots to escape from the soil.
A lawn aerator can have either soild or hollow spikes or ‘tines’.
Solid tines such as those of a garden fork can be used as a lawn
aerator and reach depths of at least 3 inches. Hollow tined lawn
aerators actually remove a core or ‘plug’ of turf and
soil from the lawn and are sometimes known as Core lawn aerators.
Motorised lawn aerators are also available and these can be invaluable
if you need to aerate a large area as they will do a lot of the
hard work for you and save you a good deal of time. You can hire
motorised lawn aerators from some tool hire outlets and garden centres.
However if you are planning to do your lawn aerating at a popular
time of year it can be advisable to book the aerator in advance
– Spring and autumn bank holidays are often booked up. If
your lawn is prone to compaction and you have a good sized lawn
then you may want to invest in your own motorised aerator.
Why do we need a lawn aerator?
By using a lawn aerator on compacted soils we provide the following
- Allow oxgen into the soil giving healthy grass roots
- Better soil drainage - water can filtrate to greater soil depths
promoting healthy root system and greater resistance to drought
- Allow carbon dioxide to escape from the soil
- Prevent loss of fertilisers from surface run off
Where do I need to use a lawn aerator?
Areas of lawn that need aerating will usually give off warning
signals that include
- patches of lawn that have been worn bare of any grass due to
- A tendency for the lawn to yellow / brown quicker than other
areas of the lawn when dry conditions occur – this can indicate
water infiltration into the soil and poor root development
- Areas of the lawn that show poor growth rates and lack of vigour
after mowing may have compacted soil and poor root development.
When should I aerate the lawn?
You should only aerate the lawn if deemed necessary – see
the guide to lawn aeration for more information on evaluating the
need for aeration. You should use your lawn aerator in autumn or
spring. September is is a common time for using core lawn aerators.
If you are going to feed the lawn with fertiliser in the same year
as aerating the lawn then it is best to aerate the lawn first so
the fertiliser and water can penetrate into the soil with ease.
Fertiliser can run off a compacted soil without being utilised by