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Aerating a Lawn: Tips from the Pros

As we move into summer, many householders thoughts turn to the care of their lawns. At this time of year it’s mostly about mowing, weed killing and watering.

Aerating a Lawn

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To keep your lawn healthy it’s a good idea not to cut it too short. Leaving the grass slightly longer keeps it healthier and helps prevent weeds taking root. Aside from cutting, over the year there are other elements of the care regime too. These include aeration, scarifying, removal of bumps and unevenness, and more.

Why Aerate?

Aerating a lawn allows more effective movement of air and water to the roots. This helps the lawn survive periods of drought and waterlogging. For the average garden it needs to be done every two or three years.Ideally it should be done after cutting with hand propelled petrol lawn mowers

How to Aerate

For small areas of lawn you can aerate with a garden fork. Keep the holes around six inches apart and between four and six inches deep. On larger lawns or where there’s a heavy clay soil or water logging it’s better to use a hollow tine aerator. This is a device that removes small plugs of soil, hand versions can be used but you can also get motorised ones for use on large areas.

The cores left on the lawn can either be left to dry and then distributed across the lawn as a top dressing – by running something like Chiff Chaff push petrol lawnmowers or other mowers over them with the grass box off – or raked up and collected. After collecting them they can be crumpled and scattered on your borders, or back on the lawn, or you can put them in the compost, so recycling the nutrients they contain.

When to Aerate

Aerating the lawn is generally carried out in the autumn. At this time the ground is neither too wet nor two dry, so you’ll achieve the best results. It’s sometimes recommended that sand should be brushed into the holes left by aerating, but while this is often done on golf courses it’s not really necessary for domestic lawns.

Areas that get a lot of traffic, such as where people walk or beneath clothes lines can get compacted and these should be aerated more often. You can do it every month.

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