According to lawn experts the best period of the year to aerate St. Augustine grass is early summer because in this time of the year the grass growth is in full boom. If your lawn soil is very compacted then twice a year aerating is not something unusual. To heal your lawn and make the environment better for recover from aerating trauma it is necessary to water and fertilize your lawn after this treatment. In this article How To Aerate St Augustine Grass? We will explore this process in detail for this grass type.
You can hire a motorized aerator machines from your local lawn care and maintenance tools store. As aerating is not routine thing like mowing so there is no need for having this special tool in your lawn care and maintenance arsenal.
In simple words aerating is the process of mechanically poking very large number of holes in the soil. What is the very large number of holes? According to experts one square foot of lawn should have at least 12 holes. This poking of holes in the soil is very beneficial for your lawn where the compacted soil makes the things very difficult for your lawn. Because of the compacted soil your lawn has problem of getting proper nutrients, oxygen and water. Aeration allows the grass roots to absorb nutrients and have easy access to oxygen that is also very important for their well-being.
Also Read: How To Overseed Lawn Without Aerating?
If you are living in area where the soil contains a lot of clay there is more chances of your lawn soil becomes compacted and hard. As the tiny particles of clay have the tendency to easily packed together tightly because of rain and foot traffic. And when this soil is hit by hot summer weather then it further makes it harder and it your lawn terrain is something made of bricks.
If you don’t aerate your lawn then with passage of time it becomes harder and harder. So the type of soil, rain, irrigation, foot traffic and mowing all are the things contribute in this whole process of making the surface harder and harder. So aeration is something inevitable!
So it is understood that aeration is necessary but it also has side effects if not done in proper way. So the question is how to allow this necessary evil to do its job without damaging your lawn. So it is important to properly understand the soil softening process, the necessary safety steps to be taken to achieve optimum benefits while keeping the side effects at lowest possible level.
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The simple and clear answer is that you should use a special machine designed for this process called aerator. You can easily rent it from your local hardware store. There is no need to buy a machine as aerating is not some your lawn needs regularly.
Aeration is very beneficial for your lawn because it allows water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the roots effectively. So the ultimate result is the development of deep root system that is important for health growth, drought tolerance and disease resistance.
Features of Best Aerator
- The best aerator comes with hollow tines (spoons), which are capable of pulling plugs of earth when the machine travels.
- Solid tine spike aerators pulled by lawn tractor provide less value and little benefit
- For optimum benefits from aeration it is important to do it in criss cross pattern. What criss-cross pattern means? In this pattern you need to first direct the aerator over the entire lawn, going back as well as forth in one direction. After doing this then you need to direct the machine back and forth at right angles to the first series of trips.
- As already mentioned one sq. foot of your lawn should have at least twelve holes. After checking their if the number is less than 12 then use the machine again to achieve this lowest number.
Best Time for Aerating
The best time for making the compacted soil soft is that time when your lawn grass growth is in rapid mode. The timing of aerating varies from grass type to type. For example for fescue grass the best time for its aeration is the “fall”. Because fall is the most productive growth period of fescue grass so if your lawn grass is fescue then September-October is best time for aerating your lawn. The best time for aerating St. Augustine is early summer May-June because in this period the grass have complete the green-up and is ready for vigorous growth.
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The Aerator Type
In market there are different types of aerators available. It is important to choose the one that comes with features for achieving the objective of softening the soil. So according to Dr. Robert Carrow, University of Georgia turf expert “the hollow tines (also named “spoons”) of a core aerator have the ability to plunge into the ground and pull up a large plug of earth. On other hand spike aerators just insert narrow, solid rods into the earth. He recommends core aerator for achieving the objective of deep roots system and water extraction that is something by 25% more when compare to spike aerator. While on other hand the results of spike aerator is very disappointing showing no effects on grass health.