There are a number of different ways by which you can maintain the soil in your garden or your backyard. One of the most common procedures used nowadays is tilling.
Tillage is basically the agricultural preparation of soil through mechanical agitation, using a variety of different methods.
Tillage can be done using stirring, digging, as well as overturning the soil. There are a number of mechanized tools that are used for plowing and tilling the soil, including the harrowers and the rollers.
Just like plants require a lot of water, nutrients, and sunlight, and a number of different nutrients, they also require a lot of air to survive. However, in certain situations, it can be difficult for you to break up the soil.
The excessive amount of foot traffic in a particular region, and the compacted soil in certain regions, can make it difficult for oxygen to reach the roots of the plant.
Oxygen is by far the most important ingredient for soil to grow and for the maintenance of its vascular functionality. It is also required because it helps move the water from the root of the plant all the way to the top.
If the plant doesn’t get enough oxygen, this is never going to happen. Soil can include microorganisms, insects, and worms that also require oxygen to survive. The soil should also be a bit loose to allow the air and water to get through it.
Now, you need to know that the gardens and lawns aren’t natural for plant growth.
Why Is Aeration Necessary?
You might have read a bit about aeration every now and then. Aeration is often necessary for homeowners to improve their lawns.
If you like to spend a lot of time out walking in the garden and the foot traffic is generally higher, the soil tends to get pretty hard and compacted. In many cases, pets playing in a particular area, or cars being parked, are the prime reasons for the soil getting compacted.
That is why the soil needs aeration. Gardens tend to behave in a similar manner. In some cases, the bare soil might get bombarded by the rain or there is too much foot traffic, you should know that the soil might get too compacted.
You will notice the soil becoming too compacted if the growth of a plant is stunted.
Why Is Tilling Not the Right Choice?
Tilling the lawn is definitely not the right choice. Tilling is usually done through a machine called a tiller, and is designed to break up the soil in one go.
The lawn can’t be tilled because it’s going to completely destroy the grass and will lead to a seriously muddy mess. Most people usually aerate their gardens through tilling.
In the simplest of terms, tilling just involves breaking up the soil, digging through it, and breaking up the soil.
Tilling causes extensive destruction and can lead to a lot of trouble for you. It causes significant damage to the soil. It’s going to completely destroy the soil life such as earthworms, and is also going to unearth the seeds of weed in the garden.
A gas-powered tiller also produces quite a bit of pollution, and if you try to do it with a shovel, it’s going to be incredibly hard to do on your own.
How to Aerate Without a Tiller
There are a bunch of tools that are designed to aerate the soil without tilling. Most lawn care specialists generally use a number of different methods. Plug aerators are a great choice because they tend to extract cylindrical plugs from the soil. This allows the water to work through the root level.
Another option is the spike aerator, as it tends to poke holes in the lawn. This creates spots for the water to rest in.
Many people are of the belief that the spike aerator can lead to further compaction of the soil that gets stuck between the spikes, but others believe that it’s not as harmful to the lawn.
In a garden, things work a bit differently. Spike aerators generally work in a similar manner as they do in open fields. In other situations, a shovel might be a pretty effective tool.
You can just sink the shovel into the ground to aerate the garden properly. This is also going to open up different spaces for air to flow through the garden, along with water.
You will also want to lay down a thin layer of quality soil on top so that it tends to slip through the gaps.
What About Container Gardens?
If all of your plants are kept in containers and you have a beautiful little container garden, you should consider aerating the soil through a chopstick.
These are ideal because they are relatively small and you can use them to poke holes into the soil with minimal hassle.
How to Prevent Compaction
If you don’t want to worry about compaction in your garden every now and then, there are a few strategies that you can use. It can be a bit tough because most people don’t realize when they are walking on the soil, and how quickly it tends to harden up.
Your children, and your pets are probably going to play for long hours in the garden, so keeping them away from the soil is generally quite difficult.
The best thing to do would be to designate different areas as garden beds, so that animals or kids are not allowed in those areas. You can put up a tiny fence or add a boundary so as to make people aware of where to walk and what to avoid.
You should also add mulch to the garden at regular intervals so as to prevent it from getting compacted during the rain.
These are just a few things that you should know about maintaining your soil and preventing it from getting compacted from time to time.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.