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Video:How to Aerate Your Lawn

with Steve Fraasa

Aerate your lawn using a gas-powered or manual aerator to get a beautiful, healthy lawn. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to properly aerate your lawn.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Aerate Your Lawn

This is Steve Fraasa for About.com. Today we are going to learn how to aerate your lawn.

Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn

Over time your soil can become compacted making it difficult for both oxygen and water to reach the roots. The only solution for correcting this is to aerate your lawn. There are two methods for achieving this: the coring method which extracts plugs of soil from your lawn or using tools equipped with spikes or tines to puncture the soil.

Depending upon the size of your lawn and your budget you can chose from the motorized self-propelled systems to simple hand tools. Both systems can be effective since each results in open holes in the ground, allowing oxygen and water to reach the roots.

Try the Coring Method to Aerate Your Lawn

The coring method is preferred because it leaves an opening in the soil without compressing the dirt around the hole. The plugs removed from the ground should be left on the lawn as they provide nutrients for the grass. The best time for aerating your soil is in the fall before the slow growing winter season.

It is advisable to water your lawn the night before you aerate in order to soften the dirt and make extraction easier. The lawn aerator demonstrated here is expensive to purchase, but can be rented from your local tool rental supply store. If you are doing a large lawn it is the preferred method as it can core up to about 25,000 square feet per hour. It is a self-propelled gasoline powered system using hollow tines that rotate to extract plugs from the soil. This machine weighs over 300 pounds, but with removable weights it makes transporting easier.

Use a Drum Plug or Other Tools to Aerate Your Lawn

Another option is to use the drum plug aerator that can be pulled behind a riding lawn mower. These drums are partially filled with water to add weight and come with a coring design with hollow tines or a spike design. You can achieve similar results using this manual core aerator by placing your foot between the two hollow tines and stepping down into the lawn. It cores the soil just like the motorized version.

Other tools include the spike aerator which works in a similar way by using your foot to press the tines into the soil to open up holes in your lawn. Aerator shoes, which are nail like spikes on the bottom of plastic soles, attach to your work boots and are used by just walking in your lawn in order to cut through the thatch and perforate the soil.

Tips for Manually Aerating Your Lawn

If you chose the manual method there are various tools available such as a spading fork which perforates the soil by plunging the tines into the dirt and rocking back and forth to create holes. Move the spading fork a foot or so and repeat the action. Because of the long length of the tines, it is important to know the depth and location of your sprinkler lines so you won't puncture the line. Combined with proper watering and organic fertilizing, you will be able to improve the beauty of your lawn for a relatively small investment.

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