Monday, April 23, 2012


We seem to be in a normal April weather cycle. The daytime high temperatures reaching the 80’s and the nighttime low temperatures dipping into the 60’s. With that weird winter it is nice to see temperatures that look somewhat familiar for the time of year. Unfortunately, brown patch fungus (large patch, zoysia patch) love these nighttime temperatures.

A few weeks ago I wrote about amendments that could be added to the lawn when aerating. That article led to a bunch of questions about aerating in general, so here is some more information.

Aerating does several good things for your lawn, shrubs, and trees. Try to use an aerator that pulls up a plug with a hollow tine instead of a spike type aerator that is just a solid tine going into the ground. By removing cores of soil from your lawn and laying them on top of the ground, all kinds of good things happen. This cultural practice is one of the best for your landscape as a whole. If you can aerate in beds and under trees, that will benefit plants as well.   

Aerating reduces compaction, reduces thatch, increases oxygen movement to the roots, brings beneficial microorganisms to the surface, cuts runners in turf, and allows better penetration of water, fertilizers, or control products into the soil.

Many athletic fields or golf course greens aerate a minimum of once a month during the growing season. Some publications would suggest that a homeowner needs to aerate every three years; however, I think it is such a great cultural practice that I like to see people aerate yearly or every other year.

You can aerate anytime the grass is actively growing. On our programs, I usually recommend in April before your second application of preemergent, just in case any weed seeds are surfaced and try to germinate.

When you aerate, be sure to mark all your irrigation heads, propane lines, cable lines, night lighting lines and any other wire or pipe you might have running through your lawn, so you do not accidentally add to you work load.

If you are a “Do It Yourselfer” most rental stores have aerators for rent. Consider getting a few neighbors together to lower the cost. If you would rather let a professional handle the task, most lawn care companies would be happy to provide this service.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.