November – time to aerate, aerate, aerate
Whether you use your lawn a lot or not, the soil beneath it will gradually compress, squeezing out vital oxygen and water. This usually happens when you walk on it, but it can also happen when the weather has been warm and dry. The soil won’t spring back into shape, it’ll stay squashed.
Some people think that you can do this using an ordinary garden fork – but you can’t. A garden fork will certainly make holes in the soil, but it’ll also squash it even more around those holes. Be sure to use a hollow-tine tool. You can buy your own manual aerator or you can buy a mechanical aerator – they both do the same thing. Hollow prongs will remove plugs of soil as you create the holes; allowing air back into the soil without adding to the compaction problem.
When you’ve finished, you’ll have lots of soil plugs on top of your lawn. You need to remove these as they encour-age disease – but don’t throw them away. They are full of the soil’s wonderful microbes and nutrients, so use them to top up your borders or for seed beds.
So, get out there and get aerating. And listen carefully – you might even hear your lawn breathing a sigh of relief.