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There are many steps you can take to improve your lawn in spring but one of the most effective and should be high on the list of priorities, is to aerate your lawn.
Aeration is important to the health of your lawn. Over the year a lawn can get hammered by children, pets and even your “gardener” chugging backwards and forwards with the lawnmower or laden wheelbarrows. With all this traffic, the soil under your lawn can get compacted and have some serious effects on the quality of your lawn.
Aerating (punching holes in the soil) relieves compaction allowing the gases to escape, water to drain away and puts fresh air back into the soil. Not only does this practice allow the roots to “breathe”. It is one of the fundamental and best ways to beat moss growth in your lawn.
Aeration can be done in a number of ways and is often called spiking, slitting, plugging or coring. The latter two, involve removing whole cores from the lawn/turf. This is often done at a more professional level as the machines are quite expensive. Don’t worry there are many cheap and just as effective ways to aerate your lawn, from spiked rollers to a simple garden fork, although using a fork can be hard work!
There are some very effective machines that can aerate your lawn. However, by far the most effective and cheapest way to aerate your lawn is by using aeration shoes. These sandals strap to the bottom of your boots and have spikes on the bottom. They may look slightly ridiculous but they are incredibly effective! The spikes help to break up the surface of the lawn, relieving compaction and allowing the trapped gases to escape.
Scarifying and aerating, it looks worse before it looks better but it will soon recover!
Many scarifiers have the ability to relieve compaction by using blades to slit the surface of the lawn. Although these machines do not relieve the compaction deep in the soil, they can help to break up the “hard pan” that forms on the soil surface which has been created due to excessive wear.
Other ways to improve your lawn in spring
Apart from aerating, there are many other ways to improve your lawn including removing the thatch build-up by scarifying and applying the correct fertiliser at the right time of year. I have produced a simple guide to lawn fertilisers which can read HERE.
Repairing bare patches can improve the overall look of your lawn. Sowing grass seed in the spring, when the weather starts to warm up will quickly start to fill in gaps and prevent any weed seeds from germinating and populating your lawn.
When can I aerate my lawn?
You can aerate your lawn at any time of the year. In fact the more aeration you can give to your lawn the stronger and healthier it will be. Most gardeners like to scarify and aerate their lawns in the spring. This is simply because the lawn is more likely to recover quickly as the weather warms up and the grass starts to grow.
Often the lawn can look worse before it gets better but don’t worry, grass is very resilient and surprisingly, your lawn will thank you for some aggressive attention! Very often recovering in under 2 weeks.
A Quick Lawn Care Guide
Time needed: 10 days.
How to Improve your Lawn in Spring
Remove the dead grass and thatch build-up from the lawn by using a spring rake or scarifying machine.
Break up the soil surface and relieve compaction by using a slitting machine or aerating shoes.
- Repair bare patches
Spread grass seed by hand then scratch into the soil surface using a metal rake.
- Feed the lawn
Apply a spring/autumn lawn fertiliser.
If there is no rain forecast ensure the lawn receives a good watering.
Allow the lawn to recover for 10 – 14 days before you decide to cut it. Start the lawnmower on a high height setting so as not to scalp the lawn and undo all your hard work.