When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

Spring can be a wet season, so irrigation is typically not necessary though it's a great time of year to get maintenance done and check for any winter damage. Spring is also a great time to create optimal growing conditions for later in the season when the heat and dry weather take hold. The experts at Nutri Lawn Ottawa recommend aerating your lawn every year or two. Aeration is a process that removed small plugs of soil from your lawn creating open spaces for air and water to penetrate deeper.

Aeration prevents or treats a number of common lawn care issues. Soil compaction due to foot traffic (such as pathways or a play areas) can cause water to pool on top of the soil, prevent grass from growing healthy roots and promote weed growth. Aeration allows water to penetrate deeper into the soil and reach the roots allowing run off to be absorbed in a timely manner without puddling. A lawn with deep roots is healthier and better able to withstand the stress of summer heat and drought.

Thatch is a layer of dead organic material on top of the soil. A thin layer of thatch is healthy and contributes necessary nutrients to the soil as it breaks down (such as short grass clippings), but thatch one inch or thicker can be harmful as it creates a barrier preventing sun, rain, and nutrients from reaching the soil and surrounding roots. There are a few ways to address a thatch problem, but aeration causes the least damage.

When should you aerate your lawn? After you've mown your lawn a few times, typically in early May. The second best time to aerate your lawn is in the fall.

Why Wait Until Late Spring?

You want to aerate when your lawn is in full swing growing and greening up. Aeration does cause stress to your lawn, so adding additional stress like a late-season cold snap can stunt or delay growth later than normal. Waiting until your grass is healthy and growing means the recovery time is much shorter and there's no interruption in growth. Also, if the soil is too wet, clumping may occur which minimizes the effectiveness of aeration. And when you do start up your irrigation system, the lawn will be ready to take in much needed water and nutrients.

Usually, aeration is combined with fertilizer and/or overseeding. You want to overseed after aerating because the gaps opened up will be filled and no one wants weeds to move in. The best time to plant grass seed is when the soil is consistently warm day and night. Planting grass seed too early means the seed may be spoiled or wasted through failed or delayed germination.

Has it been more than two or three years since your lawn was aerated? If it has, there's a good chance that your lawn would benefit from aeration.

Ask the irrigation and lawn care experts at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa about aeration and how to give your lawn the best start for 2017. Get a free consultation on how to improve the look and feel of your lawn or to discuss adding an inground sprinkler system to your property. Request a free quote from Nutri-Lawn Ottawa today!