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Should I Aerate My Lawn this Spring in Utah?

Friday, March 29, 2019 | by Scott Bennett

Spring officially began in Utah on March 20th. It may still feel a little bit cool on certain days, but spring is really here. For many of us living along the Wasatch Front, winter has felt long with one snow storm after another. We are grateful for so much moisture, but hopefully, soon we will be able to put away our shovels for good.

With the snow melted, our attention is turning to our lawns. We want our lawns to be green and healthy this spring and summer. What can we do now to help our lawns withstand Utah’s hot summer months?

That’s when the question of aeration comes up. Aeration is a simple but effective way to improve the health of your lawn. Aerations is when small holes are made all over the lawn with an aerator machine. When a hole is made a plug of soil and thatch is left on the lawn. These holes allow air, water, and nutrients to better get into our soil and help the roots of our grass to be healthy. Aeration also helps to reduce thatch, the layer of dried grass between the blade and the root. Some thatch is necessary but when it is too thick, it limits nutrients and water getting to the roots of our plants. When and how often is it necessary to aerate our lawns to keep them looking their best?

One of the best sources for information on yard care and plant care is the Utah State University extension (extension.usu.edu). Utah State University studies the growing seasons of communities all over Utah and tracks data, year to year, about rainfall, freezes, and other helpful information for anyone interested in growing plants anywhere in the state. The USU extension’s “Northern Utah Turf grass Management Calendar” suggests that aeration is worth doing in the spring to help with soil that was compacted by snow over the winter. The calendar also suggestions aerating at the end of summer or early fall again to reduce soil compaction and ready your grass for the coming winter months. For spring, the calendar suggests aerating in the months of April or May, during the time of active grass growth, to benefit your lawn the most.

To aerate, most people rent a machine at a home store and do it themselves or hire a lawn or landscaping company to do it. Aeration is best done by going over the lawn in one direction and then going over it again but changing the angle 90 degrees. Whoever does your aeration, make sure they are doing a thorough job, so you can see the most positive benefits for your grass.

As mentioned earlier, aeration leaves plugs or small pieces of soil all over your lawn. Don’t worry about these plugs. They will be reabsorbed into your lawn over time. An article on Angie’s List by Gregg Basse, a certified Virginia Certified Horticulturist with 30 years of experience agrees: “This filtering of the plugs acts like a top dressing for the lawn.” He goes on to say that lawns that are aerated “will be healthier, more vigorous and easier to maintain with less weeds and insects.” Now is the perfect time to get your aeration scheduled. Do it today.

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