Heavy usage, pedestrian traffic, and large mowing equipment compact soils and inhibit the exchange of air, water, and nutrients in lawns. Some soils, like the heavy clay found in Lexington and Louisville, compact more easily than others. This inhibits a lawn’s root growth and limits soil’s ability to absorb water, a critical function of urban soils.
Routine aerating reduces compaction, increases water absorption, and promotes root growth by:
- Decreasing thatch
- Increasing soil percolation and reducing stormwater runoff
- Improving soil aeration
Not all lawns need or benefit from aeration. Lawns on commercial and public properties are more likely to have compacted soils than residential properties. Lawns in new developments are also more likely to benefit from aeration because of the construction techniques used to build them.
Modern-day construction techniques disturb and remove native soils and displace nature’s most effective aerator: the worm. Worms improve nutrient availability by aerating soil and improving drainage. Sound familiar?
If your lawn can benefit from aeration, it should be done regularly. Aerate 2 – 3 times per season. Aerate Kentucky lawns in the spring or fall (late February through March or late August to early October) when turf is active and growing and when soil is moist. While you’re at it, over seed to fill in the bare spots in your lawn.