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What Are Lawn Aerators and What Do They Accomplish
A lawn aerator is the tool used to aerate the soil where lawn has been laid. The main objective of lawn aeration is to reduce soil compaction. It also helps to break up lawn thatch, which is actually dead organic tissue, which robs the lawn of the oxygen it needs. A compact soil will prevent water from reaching down to the roots of the grass thus affecting its growth. Scientific evidence exists, which proves that aeration makes an impact on the quality and longevity of the lawn.
The main objective, therefore, of lawn aerators is to reduce the compaction of a lawn and also create conditions which help the irrigation of the lawn. There are two types of aerators generally in use by gardeners and nurserymen.
The first is the spike aerator, which punches holes in the soil to control the thatch or dead tissue and to create ways to improve the water irrigation that is necessary for the grass roots. The second type is the core aerator, which actually removes plugs or cores of the soil. This helps to reduce the compaction of the soil and also creates holes that can improve irrigation. Experts prefer the core type of aerators for healthy lawns.
Such aerators are available as standard equipment that can be a manual lawn aerator or a power driven one, and buying such equipment is an individual choice depending on the extent of lawn that you have to maintain. This could also depend on the type of soil that makes up the bed of your lawn. Clay soils require more aeration than sandy soil, because they tend to get compacted quite easily. Aeration of the lawn helps oxygen get to the roots. It also helps fertilizers and nutrients penetrate the soil. Grass needs loosened soil to allow the roots to flourish and therefore, compacted soil needs to be broken up.
Image Source: Flickr: net_efekt - http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/3408358703/
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Using Lawn Aerators or Making Your Own
Lawn aerators are standard equipment in most home care stores, and you can rent them for the once or twice yearly use you may have. If your lawn is too small to justify the rent on such equipment, there are ways of making aerators yourself that more than do the job required. Of course, using them could mean a lot of physical effort, but the final effects on the lawn are more than worth it. A manual lawn aerator would make less of a mess of the lawn than a power aerator.
A lawn aerator can be made with lawn aerator sandals that can be bought or even made at home. Aerator sandals have spikes on the bottom sole of the sandal and a strap to allow the sandal to be fixed to any shoe that is needed to be worn.
The spikes are about one or two inches in length; it is better if you strap these on while you are standing on the lawn, as walking on hard surfaces with these spikes may not be possible. Once the sandals are on, walk over the lawn in measured steps, ensuring that you cover the entire area. Areas that are especially compacted may need to be revisited, as would areas that show a lot of thatches or dead tissue. It may be a good idea to water the lawn a few hours before you take your walk, or even the previous night if necessary. You can make such an aerator sandal by using any old shoes, which you use as a base for creating spikes made of steel or even hardened plastic.
Manual core aerators have two prongs on a handle that has an attachment for your feet to press down upon. You press the aerator down onto the lawn, remove the cores, and proceed to the next area. It is a back-breaking job and suggested only for smaller areas. You have only two cores for every square foot of an area. Use of soil conditioners is suggested after aeration.
Aeration is a process that gives new life to a lawn by exposing the roots to much needed oxygen, water and nutrients. It also helps to remove dead tissue.
Image Source: Flickr: cleanairgardening - http://www.flickr.com/photos/cleanairgardening/518513207/
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Aerating and Mowing - http://homerepair.about.com/od/yardandgarden/ss/sbs_org_mowing_2.htm
Lawn aerator http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/L/AE_lawn_aerator.html
Lawn care tips - http://www.essortment.com/home/aeratoraeration_scgz.htm