Grassland can easily become compacted by vehicles, stock and even human traffic. Compacted soil has too many solid particles in a certain volume or space, which prevents proper circulation of air, water and nutrients within the soil. Excess thatch or heavy organic debris buried under the grass surface can also starve the roots from these essential elements.
Aeration involves perforating the soil to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produces a stronger, more vigorous sward. It will also considerably reduce water run-off.
The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction. As one horse livery owner, and customer of GreenPaddocks, always says “if there was only one job I can do every year – it would be aerating: our paddocks have improved immeasurably since we started to aerate”.
- Aerating should therefore be part of regular routine maintenance,
- It helps create a denser sward with improved root mass which makes sure more water goes where it is needed – the grass roots.
- The best time for aeration is during the growing season, when the grass can heal and fill in any open areas
- It is environmentally a good thing to do too as it reduces run-off – so less phosphate etc. goes into water courses
- A denser sward means that it is stronger and better able to withstand the punishment meted out by livestock…horses are notoriously bad for grassland – churning it up, compacting it, grazing it too tight and thereby allowing pernicious weeds to establish.