A problem lawn may be down to compaction

Lawn compaction is a common problem. If you are experiencing patches on your lawn or perhaps an accumulation of moss, weeds or thatch – aeration might be the answer…

What is aeration?

Put simply, aeration involves making holes in the lawn to allow moisture and air to reach the roots of the grass plant and to allow carbon dioxide to be released from the soil.

Why do I need to aerate my lawn?

Through the course of a year, the soil beneath the turf can become compacted. Compaction can be caused from using your mower or even by children playing. The normally loose particles of soil that hold the grass roots of your lawn clump together. This heavy soil cannot drain moisture away and prevents oxygen from reaching the grass roots

What are the effects of lawn compaction?

You may notice a build up of thatch or lawn patches. Because of poor drainage, moss in the lawn may become an increasing problem.

How to aerate a lawn?

Without the right equipment, aeration can be an exhausting and lengthy process. That said, for smaller areas of lawn, a simple garden fork can be used. Sink the fork into the grass to a depth of around 8-10cm. Gently wiggle to create a slight gap then remove the fork. Repeat every 15cm or so. For heavily compacted areas, a hollow-tine spiker could be the answer. The hollow tines on this tool actually remove three plugs of soil at a time. Please note: hollow-tine forks should be used sparingly – every 3 years or so.

For larger lawns, owners of garden tractors or ride-on mowers can fit a towable slitter or spiker to their machines.

When should I aerate?

You can aerate your lawn from spring to autumn – but do look at the weather. The process is made much easier if the ground is moist and not too dry. Avoid aerating in times of drought or when a long period of dry weather is forecast – spike dry ground and you can expect to see cracks appearing.

Do not be tempted to spike a lawn that is wet or water logged – this could end up damaging the turf.

How often should I aerate my lawn?

This is dependent on the condition of your lawn, but consider spiking your lawn at least once a year.

What results should I expect?

After 2-3 weeks, you should notice the lawn becoming greener and less patchy.

Fork in lawn for aeration