Should I roll my lawn then aerate?

Answered by Jason Smith

Should I Roll My Lawn Then Aerate?

When it comes to maintaining a healthy and lush lawn, there are various methods and techniques that can be employed. One common question that often arises is whether it is necessary to roll the lawn before aerating it. In this answer, we will explore the benefits of rolling your lawn before aerating and whether it is a recommended practice.

1. Understanding the Purpose of Rolling the Lawn:
Rolling the lawn involves using a heavy roller to flatten the surface of the soil. This process helps to level out any uneven areas, compact the soil slightly, and promote better seed-to-soil contact when overseeding. Rolling can also help to smooth out minor bumps and depressions on the lawn surface. However, it is important to note that rolling should only be done when necessary and not as a routine practice.

2. Benefits of Rolling the Lawn:
– Leveling the Surface: Rolling can be beneficial if your lawn has uneven areas or minor bumps. It helps to create a more even surface, making it easier to mow and maintain.
– Seed-to-Soil Contact: Rolling can improve seed germination by pressing the seeds into the soil, ensuring better contact and improved chances of successful establishment.
– Enhancing Aesthetic Appeal: A rolled lawn can give a more polished and uniform appearance, which can be visually appealing.

3. Considerations Before Rolling:
It is important to assess whether rolling is necessary for your lawn before proceeding. If your lawn does not have any significant unevenness or bumps, rolling may not be required. Additionally, it is essential to consider the type of grass you have and its tolerance for compaction. Some grass varieties, such as Kentucky bluegrass, can handle light rolling, while others may be more sensitive.

4. The Role of Core Aeration:
Core aeration is a process that involves removing small plugs of soil from the lawn, creating channels for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the root zone. This process helps to alleviate soil compaction, improve drainage, and promote stronger root growth. Core aeration is typically recommended at least once a year, but it can be done 2-3 times for more heavily compacted lawns.

5. Benefits of Core Aeration:
– Reducing Soil Compaction: Core aeration helps to loosen compacted soil, allowing roots to expand more freely and access essential nutrients and moisture.
– Improving Water and Nutrient Absorption: By creating channels in the soil, core aeration allows water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the root zone, promoting healthier grass growth.
– Enhancing Root Development: Aeration stimulates root growth by providing oxygen and reducing stress on the grass plants, resulting in a stronger and more resilient lawn.

6. The Order of Operations:
Based on the benefits and purposes of rolling and core aeration, it is generally recommended to perform core aeration before rolling the lawn. Core aeration breaks up compacted soil, creating channels for water, air, and nutrients to reach the roots. Rolling after aeration can help level the surface and improve seed-to-soil contact if overseeding is planned.

7. Applying Liquid Aerator:
In addition to core aeration, some homeowners choose to apply liquid aerator products to further enhance soil health and reduce compaction. Liquid aerators work by breaking up compacted soil particles, allowing for better water absorption and root growth. For best results, it is recommended to apply liquid aerator immediately after core aeration and again about two weeks later for a heavy application.

Rolling your lawn before aerating can be beneficial if your lawn has significant unevenness or minor bumps. However, it is important to assess whether rolling is necessary for your specific lawn and grass type. Core aeration, on the other hand, is an essential practice to reduce soil compaction and improve overall lawn health. By performing core aeration before rolling and considering additional applications of liquid aerator, you can help create the optimal conditions for a healthy and thriving lawn.