A rolling lawn aerator is one of those lawn tools that everyone needs but not everyone owns. Even experienced lawn owners can become perplexed when their lawn starts turning brown. Regular watering, trimming and even fertilizing are not fool-proof, as a lawn can require more than just the basic maintenance to keep in good health. Aerators make many small holes in a lawn which allow water and nutrients to travel directly to the roots. Over time, lawn soil can become compacted which prevents enough water from seeping into the ground. This usually results in a dry, nutrient deficient lawn that will turn brown no matter what you do. Regular aeration can be done using a roller with spikes known as a rolling aerator. These devices are easy to use and will quickly become one of your favorite tools to use.
How it Works
These tools consist of a long handle with a rolling cylinder on one end. The roller has a series of metal spikes which press into the ground as the roller is pushed along. The weight of the tool combined with the force of the user makes small holes in the ground. Water and nutrients can seep into these holes, keeping the ground wet, infusing it with oxygen and allowing nutrients to reach the roots.
The weight of the roller plays a large part in how deep these holes will be. An average rolling aerator may not be heavy enough to penetrate the surface. Maintaining an existing healthy lawn is the best way to ensure long term yard health.
Waiting until the soil has dried out will only make this job harder. With these tools, a larger diameter cylinder makes for smoother operation. For large yards, a wide cylinder is desired to reduce the amount of passes the user has to make to cover the whole yard. Compaction of the soil can occur naturally over time and is especially prevalent in areas of high foot traffic.
Using an Aeration Tool
To breathe life into your lawn, an aerator should be used regularly. Professionals recommend using it in the fall and spring, but aerating a lawn is always beneficial no matter when you do it. It is important to make sure that the ground is moist or at least damp before starting the job. If the soil is completely dry, water it thoroughly the day before you begin. You may travel over the same sections several times if desired, but limit yourself if the ground starts to become significantly torn up.
A rolling lawn aerator can be used to improve the growth rates of new lawns, too. If seed is applied right after aerating, seeds will be able to take root deeper than with bare soil alone.
Difference Between Core and Spike Aeration
Spiked aerators use a solid hardened steel spike to penetrate the ground. This actually causes the ground to be come further compacted. As the spike is driven into the ground, it pushed soil aside, compacting it in the process. Core aerators consist of a hollow tube which removes a solid core or dirt several inches long. No compaction occurs with core aeration, which some claim makes it superior to its spiked cousin. Fresh cores pop out of the tubes after each press, landing onto the ground. The beneficial microbes in the soil can now work their way back down into the ground, passing the roots as they go. The holes made by aerating the soil. will collect pockets of water and nutrients, whereupon they will seep into the ground.
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- Before you aerate, go over your lawn with a lawn rake to remove any excessive debris.
- If there are any uneven areas of soil after performing aeration, you can use garden rollers to flatten them out. A garden roller can help flatten bumps of all types, including those caused by gophers.
- Have a lot of outdoor plants in pots? Try using outdoor plant stands to clear some ground space.