Aerating lawns is often required when soils become compacted and can no longer provide the free flow of water and oxygen required by the lawn to survive. The most popular and most effective method of aerating lawns for homeowners is to use a lawn coring machine.
As the lawn corer moves over the lawn, it will punch holes into the lawn and soil with it's hollow tynes, as the tynes pull out of the soil it removes plugs of soil, thatch and lawn, leaving open holes in the lawn's surface.
The homeowner has the option of hiring a Contractor to do the job, or to hire the machine and do it themselves, for those D.I.Y. lawn corers - here's the best way to core a lawn.
As always, preparation is the key to success, and coring a lawn is no different, these things should be done before the day the lawn coring will occur.
Purchase Wetting Agents and a Quality Lawn Fertiliser. If you have a clay based soil then some Gypsum Clay Breaker should also be purchased.
A Rotary Lawn Mower should also be available at the time of the coring.
All reticulation lawn sprinklers should be marked out with clear markers - some little flags can be purchased from a Reticulation Supply Shop.
Water the lawn thoroughly the night prior to lawn coring. This is essential as it will soften the soil and allow the plugs to be removed. Without prior watering, the tynes may not even enter the soil, or if they do - the plugs may disintegrate before removal.
Lawn coring is relatively simple, the machine is usually rather large and can be cumbersome, but in theory it is simply guided over the lawn's surface, and it's tynes do the work punching holes into the turf, leaving it's grass plugs in it's wake.
We don't want to destroy our sprinklers, so the flags we already put down will mark their positions and guide us around them effectively.
There's no way we can provide instructions for all coring machines so ensure you get good instructions from the hire shop for the machine being used. For safety, be sure to use steel capped boots.
Once the coring is finished there will be a rather large mess of soil and turf plugs sitting on top of the lawn. These can be dealt with in two different ways:
A rotary lawn mower can be used to to mow over the top of the plugs without a catcher, this will break them all up in small particles which will eventually disappear back into the turf.
Alternatively, and probably the better method is to use the rotary lawn mower with a catcher to mow up all the plugs to leave a clean lawn surface.
Once the lawn has been aerated, it's time to take advantage of this unique opportunity to get some good stuff directly into the soil and to the roots of the lawn.
Wetting Agents and Fertiliser should be applied now and then watered into the soil, this will have the effect of increasing the free flowing of water through the soil as well as getting nutrients directly to the roots of the lawn.
If the soil has a heavy clay component then some Gypsum Clay Breaker should also be applied along with the Fertiliser and Wetting Agents. The Gypsum will get straight into the soil to break up the clay, and applying Gypsum straight after lawn coring is the best time to do this.
With the lawn coring job finished, and the fertiliser, wetting agents, and gypsum applied and watered in, we may now notice that the lawn remains covered with holes. The best thing we can do is to leave these holes open, this will give the lawn the greatest benefit of water and oxygen flow for as long a period of time as possible. The holes will fill up with new roots and cover themselves with new lawn growth very quickly.
If the lawn is often compacted, water logged or is heavily clay based then the holes can be filled in with clean free flowing sand. This will aid the lawn for a very long time as it continues to allow water and oxygen to flow freely in the otherwise compacted soil.