Grow Wyo: Basics of lawn aeration | Home and Garden

To aerate my lawn or not?

That’s the question Randy asked of Casper last week. As a former government employee, my first answer is: It depends.

But I’m ahead of myself. Let’s talk about ventilation. An aerator is a machine that drives hollow pipes into your lawn and brings out plugs of soil and grass two to three inches long. The holes an aerator creates allow better transport of water, oxygen and fertilizer to the roots of your lawn.

In the short term, the lawn is damaged, but the overall benefits far outweigh the short term consequences. Ask a golf superintendent. Most will say ventilation is one of the most beneficial things to do for your course – at least twice a year.

If this is such a cherished task, do you need to ventilate? It depends on.

In Wyoming we’re busy building new homes – everywhere it seems. If you are the proud owner of a new home and live on clay floors, your lawn should be aerated. Clay soils are notorious for the fact that oxygen and water cannot penetrate the soil. The ventilation ensures better root development and ensures a stronger lawn.

On the other hand, if you live where the soil has a lot of night crawling activity – worms that tunnel from fairly deep in the soil to the surface of the soil – they will give you free ventilation. I live in one of those areas where the night crawlers do the ventilation for me. I haven’t ventilated in 20 years.

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