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Do I need to aerate my lawn?
Yes. You should aerate your lawn at least twice a year - in the springtime and the autumn. Aerating your lawn relieves compaction allowing light, air and water down into the soil to promote root growth and healthy plants.
How to aerate a lawn
There's two types of aeration: solid and hollow tining. Solid tining is a bit like a garden fork where you punch solid spikes into the ground that will create holes which let air, light, and water into the ground. This will develop the roots and make the plants a lot healthier. There are hazards of doing this on its own, it can cause compaction. To avoid this i recommend that as part of your lawn care maintenance plan you always hollow core as well.
Hollow coring is like a tube which goes into the ground and pulls out a core of soil. This not only lets air, light, and water into the ground but it also relieves compaction at the same time.
How do I know if my lawn is compacted?
Compaction normally occurs due to human traffic. This can be caused by kids playing football on the back lawn, particularly around the goalmouth area. It could also be a shortcut across the front lawn as people go from the car to the front door. Another sign may be browning and yellowing, this is because the nutrients, water and air can't get through the compacted soil down into the roots.
How do I fix a compacted lawn?
To fix a compacted lawn, you are going to need a hollow tine aerator. This can be a mechanical one you can hire or you can use an elaborate fork which has four tines on it (push into the ground, it pops the core out and that relives the compaction). A misconception when coming to compaction is to use a standard fork, it will bring aeration to the lawn but it won't help with compaction. In fact, it will add to the compaction.