Archive February, 2010

Tips for Effective Lawn Repair with a Hollow Tine Aerator

Lawn Repair with and Aerator

To reverse the damage done by compacted soil and a buildup of thatch, employ the use of a hollow tine aerator.  These tools, available in both manual and power varieties, create space in the soil for water, nutrients and air to reach the roots.  They are also very helpful in helping you repair your lawn.  They do so by removing chunks of soil with small h0llowed spoons.

lawn aerationUsing an aerator is not complicated, though there are some things to think about ahead of time.  The first thing to decide is whether you will use a manual or power aerator.  Manual aerators, also called hand aerators, look a bit like a shovel with several hollow tines at the base.  The tines are inserted into the soil with the force of the operator’s weight.  Because they are time and labor intensive, hand aerators are only recommended for aerating very small areas of land.  For full lawns, you will want to use a power aerator.  These tools look like a large, heavy-duty lawn mower.  They have a cylinder surrounded with hollow tine aerators that remove plugs of soil as the cylinder rotates.  Though far more efficient than the hand aerator, the power core aerator is very powerful and requires some physical strength and endurance to operate it.

Once you have decided which tool to use, you will need to plan when you will aerate.  In most climates, you only need to aerate once a year; however, if you live in a very hot and dry area, you may want to do so twice a year.  It is best to aerate right as the grass begins to grow, so in either late summer/early fall for cool season grasses or in spring for warm season grasses.

After Aerating your lawn, you may want to rake up all of the plugs. One of the best ways to this is by using garden carts. Plugs can get very heavy, and they are a great way to haul them around your lawn.

Next, you should identify any sprinkler heads and mark them with flags to avoid damaging the aerator or the sprinklers.  On the night before you plan to aerate, thoroughly water your lawn.  This will make the process go more smoothly.

To operate the aerator, set the penetration at its deepest setting, usually about 3”.  Pass over your lawn as you would with a lawn mower – in straight lines, back and forth.  If it has been a long time since you last aerated, your soil is high in clay content, or your thatch is more than ¾ inch thick, you will want to do a second pass perpendicular to your first.  For very severe cases, you may want to do a third pass.

When you are done, you can either rake up the resulting soil plugs or simply wait for them to be reabsorbed into the lawn.   By the time your grass has fully grown, you should see a marked difference in the quality of your lawn.

Learn all about Lawn Aerators!