The Australian climate really does make it difficult to maintain a healthy, lush lawn. One of the biggest problem with lawns in Australia is the compacted clay base found in many backyards across the country.
In fact, the majority of Australian lawns are clay based and therefore are susceptible to soil compaction. When the soil below your lawn is compacted it restricts the flow of water, nutrients and oxygen to the root system. This will result in poor lawn growth which leads to a lawn more susceptible to weeds. Hard and compacted soils cause a shallow root system which will struggle to cope with the stress of weather conditions. So, if left compacted, you will end up with a dry, patchy and weed infested lawn.
We can alleviate the soil compaction with a process called aeration. There are a few different ways to aerate your lawn – usually the best method is dictated by the size of the area you need to aerate. For smaller areas, you can use a metal garden fork to push holes into the soil. For larger areas, you are best advised to use an aerator. An aerator is most commonly either spiked rollers or coring machines. Spiked roller are cylindrical drums, filled with water, with spikes on the outside. When you push this over the lawn the roller pushes the soil down creating a hole to allow water and air to get into the soil. Even better, and more effective, is the use a core aerator. This will run over the lawn and actually remove plugs of soil. Designed with hollow tines, the core aerator punches holes in the lawn as it moves, leaving plugs of soil on the surface of the lawn and opening up holes for oxygen and water to enter the soil.
Why aerate your lawn?
When the soil is no longer compacted your lawn becomes more weed resistant. New grass growth is encouraged and this fills in your lawn ensuring it is stronger, denser and less prone to weed invasions. Aeration of the soil will encourage a deeper root system making your lawn more drought tolerant. When you use a core aerator those plugs of soil left on the surface of the lawn will provide your lawn with an active top dressing. If you take the opportunity to fertilise after aerating, the fertiliser is more likely to get to exactly where it is the most effective, the roots. And, one last benefit of aeration or eliminating soil compaction, an aerated lawn will retain far greater levels of water so you don’t have to water as often…saving you time, effort and money.