Should I Aerate the Lawn at My Commercial Property?
Sometimes the simplest landscape improvements have the biggest impact. One of the best things you can do for the lawn surrounding your business is to aerate it. Aerating a lawn is a quick and easy process; you can rent the equipment and do it yourself in an afternoon or have Servcon’s grounds maintenance experts do the work for you. The results will not be immediate, but you will soon have a healthier, denser stand of turf on your property.
How to Aerate on Your Own
Aerators pull a series of plugs or cores of soil out of the lawn. The cores are usually about one-half to three-quarters of an inch wide and two or more inches deep. Four to six inches apart is a typical spacing. Anything within these size ranges will work fine, but the two inch depth should be an absolute minimum. You want the cores to get well down into the root zone of the lawn.
Mechanical aerators, which are about the size of a lawn mower, usually do the best job. They are available at most rental centres or you can affordably add aeration to your grounds maintenance package with Servcon. If you rent an aerator, make sure it has hollow tines that will pull plugs out of the soil. You may see small hand aerators advertised or even shoes with tines on the soles. Though these can provide some benefit, if your lawn really needs aeration, use serious equipment.
Why Should I Aerate?
All turf and soil becomes compacted over time. This reduces air space and water storage in the soil. Roots have less room to grow and will stay shallow as a result. Shallow roots lead to less healthy plants that will have a hard time surviving stressful weather. Aerating creates air space deeper in the soil, which provides several benefits:
- An aerated lawn will have less thatch.
- Grass roots are encouraged to grow deeper as water and air move down into the soil.
- Deeper roots improve the uptake of water and nutrients. Healthier turf will be the result.
- As water moves more efficiently into the soil, there will be less runoff; you will not need to water as often.
- The lawn will be less likely to have pest and disease problems.
When and How Often?
Spring and fall are the best times of year to aerate, at the beginning or end of the growing season. For the grasses that grow in Ontario, fall is often the best time, and aeration is one of the recommended tasks to prepare your business’ landscape for winter. If you miss the fall, spring aerating is still worthwhile.
How often to aerate depends on how quickly your soil becomes compacted and whether or not a lot of thatch has built up. If you your property is high traffic, you may need to aerate every year or two. If you have good soil and don’t have a lot of activity on your lawn, you can probably wait three or four years before aerating again. If there is thick thatch in your lawn, plan to aerate this fall.