Lawn aerator

Lawn aerator

A lawn aerator is a garden tool designed to aerate the soil in which lawn grasses grow. Aeration improves soil drainage and encourages worms, microfauna and microflora which require oxygen.

Lawn problems

Lawn aeration constitutes two things, controlling lawn thatch and reducing soil compaction. Lawn thatch is a layer of dead organic tissue that deprives the lawn of much-needed oxygen. Soil compaction makes it difficult for grass to root and it disturbs natural rainwater irrigation, therefore it is important to aerate the lawn. This is especially true for highly trafficked lawns. If people walk or even run over a lawn, the pressure generates compaction in the soil. Watering the lawn the night before aerating can make it easier to aerate a very dense lawn.

Types of aerator

There are two types of lawn aerators. Spike aerators use solid spikes to punch holes in the soil. Core aerators have hollow spikes and pull out plugs (or "cores") of soil. Core aerators are preferred if compaction is a problem, because while a spike aerator only provides paths for air to contact the soil, the lawn aerator also reduces compaction by pulling out plugs of soil. For hobbyist lawn maintainers, there are spiked shoes that can be used to aerate a lawn, but these spikes, like the spike aerator, can actually increase compaction by compressing the soil as the spike enters. This may be an acceptable result if aeration is the primary goal and compaction is not a problem. In general, the spike shoes are considered almost a novelty item. Any serious lawn aerating should be done with a core aerator.


*"The Organic Lawn Care Manual", Tukey, Storey Publishing

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