I'm first to admit that when I give advice it's a "do as I say, not as I do" recommendation. When it comes to lawn aeration (AKA core cultivation), Extension recommends that you aerate at least once a year, twice if you can afford it. The last time I aerated was...well...a few years ago. I did it myself (with the help of burly men to help lift the machine) and it was, quite frankly, an effort!
|Aeration is the best!|
What Mike probably didn't realize is that I'd be photographing him. So thanks to Mike for his willingness to be the subject of this blog.
|Mike McFadden of Barefoot Farms|
Steps to aerating correctly:
1. Water your lawn a couple days prior to the aeration event. In order to pull deep plugs, the lawn should have good moisture. If the lawn is too dry, the plugs pulled will be very short or the machine will simply bounce around the surface.
2. Before you start aeration, mark your sprinkler heads. I used somewhat unorthodox markers, simply because I didn't have flags. But it's very easy to hit a sprinkler head with the machine. The aeration machine generally has one speed--fast--and they aren't very easy to maneuver.
|The tree stump and mini American flag mark sprinkler heads.|
The design of my irrigation system is another story...
|A lovely little plug. Not too much thatch and 2-3" long.|
|Lots and lots and lots and lots of holes is key.|
6. Need to seed or fertilize? It's the P-E-R-F-E-C-T time following aeration. The holes you just created are ideal "germination chambers" for seed. Seed that drops into the holes will stay moist, have good contact with soil and be protected during germination. Fertilizer will also reach turf roots better following aeration (be sure to water it in). On a side note, if you applied crabgrass preventer to your lawn this spring, wait until August to seed--the crabgrass preventer will kill seedling grass.
It took Mike about 35 minutes to aerate my 3,000 square foot lawn. And I was thrilled with the result. He did mention that I have a much heavier thatch layer in my front yard (oops) and that doing it again in fall would be wise. So if it's been a few years, do your lawn a favor and aerate! It does the lawn good.
|The chickens loved the freshly disturbed earth and had a heyday with worm bits.|