When I was growing up, my dad would spend most of his summer working in the yard and garden, and he usually made me work with him. No matter how hard he made us work, our grass was always among the blandest and most yellow in the neighborhood. He was quite frustrated, but always used the excuse that our grass was a different type than our neighbors, that’s why it was always more yellow.
When I grew up and got a place of my own, I brought along my dad’s love of gardening with me. I would spend hours in the yard both spring and fall fertilizing, watering, whatever I could think of to make my grass green. I soon accepted the reality that I had also inherited my dad’s inability to have a beautiful green lawn.
Then one year late in the spring, when it was again obvious that I had some of the most yellow grass in the neighborhood, I decided, out of desperation, that I would try something new. I had heard of aerating your lawn before, and I had seen yards with the little dog-poop shaped dirt plugs on it, but I never really believed it did anything significant to your lawn. So, knowing that I was wasting my time and money, but not knowing what else to do, I went down to my local rental store, rented an aerator, and aerated my lawn, knowing deep down that it wouldn’t do anything.
Within a few days, I noticed young, new, dark green grass sprouting out of the holes that I had poked in the ground. Soon, this dark green grass had taken over my entire yard! In a matter of weeks, my lawn had gone from the most drab to the greenest in the entire neighborhood. It was literally like magic! From that moment on, I have believed in the power of aeration.
What is aeration?
Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger more vigorous lawn. You’ve probably seen those grassy areas covered in thousands of dog-poop shaped dirt plugs, whether on the high school football field, at the park, or on your neighbor’s lawn. That is soil that has been aerated.
How does it benefit your lawn?
Aerating helps your lawn in a few different ways. First of all, it alleviates soil compaction, which prevents air, water and nutrients from penetrating the soil and reaching the roots of the grass. Second, by creating small holes in the soil, water can more efficiently reach the roots of the grass, thus requiring less frequent watering to keep your grass healthy and green. Third, it helps break up excess lawn thatch or debris buried under the grass surface that can starve the roots of essential nutrients. I look at aeration as the process of stirring up the soil beneath your grass. Essentially, by aerating, you are circulating the soil in your lawn, bringing the deeper, buried soil to the surface where it will break down and eventually become buried the next time you aerate your lawn.
How to aerate your yard
Aerating your lawn is simple. An aerator is similar in style to a regular lawn mower. As you push it across your lawn, blades beneath the machine penetrate the soil and pull out 2 to 3-inch long plugs of dirt. That’s all there is to it!
Tips for aerating your yard
- Aeration is most effective when done during the growing season. Here in Colorado, the most popular time to aerate is between late March into early May. Fall is also a popular time to aerate in preparation for the winter months.
- Make sure the soil is moist. This allows the blade to easily penetrate into the soil. The day after a rain shower or the day after watering the lawn are perfect times to aerate. There’s nothing more frustrating that trying to aerate bone dry soil.
- Check your lawn for rocks before you aerate and mark the location of your sprinkler heads. Unlike a lawn mower blade, which doesn’t touch the soil, an aerator blade can wreak havoc on your sprinkler heads.
Arapahoe Rental can help!
Come down to Arapahoe Rental and pick up an aerator this spring or reserve one from us online at ArapahoeRental.com. We have several walk-behind aerators in our fleet. For larger yards, we also carry ride-on and tow-behind aerators. Our knowledgeable staff can help answer any questions you might have.
Remember, weekends in the spring are popular times to aerate, and we usually run out on Saturdays. If you can, rent yours during the week or reserve one well in advance of the weekend.
Click here to see our aerators on-line.