Aerating is, without question, the most important thing for a lawn (besides mowing and watering). There are two different kinds of lawn aeration; solid tine or hollow core (plugging).
Solid Tine Aerating
Solid tine aerating is a bit like traditionally forking over the lawn but is done using a machine. The machine punches holes in the lawn (much deeper and more powerfully than using a hand fork!) The holes can be up to a depth of 4 inches. This method can be used at any time of year but is particularly beneficial in spring and autumn.
- Enabling oxygen, nutrients and water to reach to root zone. A healthy root zone means good strong, healthy, growth above ground.
- Relieving compaction – also stimulating healthy growth as water can more easily soak into the soil helping the lawn retain moisture following a dry period
- Aiding natural drainage if the lawn has become wet/waterlogged – this will also help combat the growth of moss.
When can this be done? Typically, twice a year during spring and autumn – but can be more if needed.
Hollow Tine Aerating
Hollow tine aerating involves metal tubes being pushed into the ground all over the lawn to a depth of about 3 inches (so not as deep as solid tining).
- As above for solid tining
- Relief of heavy compaction – when a lawn is heavily compacted – regularly walked or played on – hollow tining greatly reduces compaction and will help restore the natural balance in the turf.
- Removal of ‘cores’ or ‘plugs’ means there is an opportunity for some degree of soil exchange, for example, sand or a top dressing mix can be brushed into the holes left which can help to improve a clay soil.
Cores should always be collected and disposed of as left on the lawn they can take a long period of time to break down and form the perfect seed bed for weeds and even moss!
When can this be done? Once a year or in a healthy maintained lawn every two years, again, during spring or autumn.