If you are wondering why your neighbours lawn looks so much better than your lawn, the key might be lawn aeration. Lawn aeration helps to control lawn thatch and reduce soil compaction which deprives the lawn of oxygen, disrupts natural rain irrigation and makes it difficult for grass to take root.
A lawn aerator is a simple garden tool which helps to break up the soil by creating holes in the dirt, typically 4-6 inches deep, which allow for air and oxygen to enter. There are a number of different options for aerating your lawn. It depends on how much time and money you are willing to spend to get your lawn looking fresh.
The first choice is between spike or core aerators. A spike aerator aerate lawn a wedges shaped spike into the ground, forcing the dirt sideways to create a hole. The soil is not actually removed and this can lead to further soil compaction when the holes fill with water. Core aerators should be used for longer lasting aeration as it removes the plugs of soil.
Core aerators use hollow prongs which lift a tube of dirt from the soil allowing for air and water to enter without contributing to future compaction. The removed dirt can be left on the lawn and as it breaks down it will help to reduce thatch. Core aeration is a preferable method for those hoping to create a health and aesthetically pleasing lawn.
The second choice is between manual or powered methods of lawn aeration. Manual aerators have two or three prongs mounted on a bar with a handle. One foot is placed on the bar to push the prongs into the earth. Pulling in the handle removes the aerator from the ground, creating holes in the soil. Manual aerators are much cheaper to purchase than power aerators but they take much longer to do a whole lawn. Manuel aerators also allow users more control as you can choose to put more holes or less in certain areas.
Power aerators can be quite expensive and this often causes people to choose manual aeration. It is possible to rent aerators from many gardening stores. Power aerators use a fuel powered engine to push prongs into the ground. The process can be a lot quicker and less labor intensive than manual aeration. Unfortunately powered aerators can be rather heavy and this may inhibit some from using them to do a whole lawn. Some models can also be difficult to control. It is advised that power aerators are operated with caution.