Lawn aeration is the process of punching holes through the surface of the lawn into the soil profile below. This is done using a machine or implement known as a lawn or turf aerator. It is an essential turf care task that encourages good turf health and vigour.
When done on a regular basis it improves drainage, increases micro organisms, relieves compaction, encourages deeper rooting and increases airspace. All of this adds up to a healthy, great looking lawn that will withstand many common turf problems, pests and diseases. This of course means less money is spent on fertilisers, moss killers, herbicides and pesticides.
When we talk about different types of lawn aeration, we refer to the different types of tines used to aerate the lawn. The three most common types of tine used on a typical lawn are solid, slit and hollow tines. Each has there own benefits and purposes of use.
- Solid tines: Solid tines, sometimes called spikes and pencil tines are probably the most common type of tines used for aerating turf. A typical example of solid tines is a garden fork. These tines can be used at any time of the year, ground conditions permitting. They are particularly beneficial during the summer, as shallow spiking (also called sarrel rolling) is often used to keep the surface of the lawn open. This helps keep the upper soil profile aerated and helps rain and irrigation water go down into the soil where it is needed most.
- Slit tines: These tines are flat with knife like edges. They are very beneficial in the autumn, as they encourage strong roots by pruning them. Deep slitting is best avoided during the summer as the tine holes are prone to cracking open during extremely dry weather.
- Hollow tines: Also known as coring, the optimum time for hollow tining is during the autumn, although the spring time is also suitable. Hollow tines are a hollow tube that is pushed or punched into the soil profile. Each time the tine enters the ground it removes a small plug from the lawn. Coring is great for physically reducing the thatch layer. It is often used prior to over-seeding and top dressing as it leaves are larger hole than other types of aeration. This makes it somewhat easier for the seed and dressing to work its way into the soil profile.