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Bermuda grass is typically the kind used on the rolling hills of golf courses or those perfectly green lawns that makes most Georgians envious. With proper care and maintenance, this sturdy grass flourishes, even in the heat and inconsistent moisture (I guess we can say that this year has been anything but inconsistent) that is typical of Georgia summers. One of the most important steps in caring for a Bermuda grass lawn is aeration.

During the year, the soil of Georgia lawns, which are often heavy with clay deposits, become packed down by mowers, pets, and human traffic and baked hard by the intense summer heat. This gives the soil a brick-like quality and makes it difficult to have that perfect green lawn that we all want. The solution to this problem is aerating.

You may have noticed some of your neighbors rolling machines over their lawns that leave little dirt plugs everywhere. This is aerating. A good aeration machine will have hollow tines that pull out small cores of soil throughout the lawn. This will loosen up the soil, making room for grass roots to spread out and take hold and allowing easier access for water and fertilizer to soak into the soil and nourish your lawn.

The best time to aerate your is now, especially if you live in and around Atlanta. In early to mid summer Bermuda grass is actively growing and will greatly benefit from the added advantage that a well aerated lawn provides. In early summer the ground is softer, which means an aeration machine will easily perforate the lawn for maximum effectiveness. Aeration should be done about once a year. Without it the soil can quickly become too packed for even the toughest variations of grass to grow with any kind of real success.

After aerating, the lawn should be treated with a high quality fertilizer and watered well. If the lawn is in need of additional grass seeds, after aeration is the perfect time to do so. This will ensure that the grass has the best possible chance to take full advantage of the aeration. There will be little dirt plugs over the lawn after aeration. These can be cleared away by raking them into a pile for compost, or letting them first dry for a day or two, and then dragging a section of chain-link fence over the lawn to break them up. They can also simply be left to decompose and return to the lawn on their own which takes about 2 to 4 weeks.

Most homeowners will rent push aerators to use on their property. These are heavy machines that aren’t complicated to operate once you learn some of the basics. Other folks choose to contract with a reputable commercial landscape company to have the aerating done.

Perhaps if you do contract with one of those Atlanta Landscapers, you’ll see them use the Exmark Stand On Aerator that they bought from Howard Brothers!