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Aeration may improve your pastures

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By Lancaster Soil and Water Conservation District

Are you looking for a way to improve pastures and hay fields without disturbing existing grass? Do you want to improve grass growth and hay yields? Do you want to increase the effects of fertilizer?

Aeration may be your answer.

Soils in pastures and haylands can become packed over time by livestock and equipment. The surface layer becomes so hard that the water will not move into the soil.

This means the fertilizer or lime you spread can’t get into the soil to help your grass.

It also means that the fertilizer, lime, animal manure, pesticides and other chemicals can be washed into ponds, streams and lakes.

Aeration of the soil in lawns, pastures and haylands can correct both these concerns.

Breaking up the hard surface layers allows water and nutrients such as fertilizer and water to soak into the soil. The nutrients can get to the grass roots and can increase your grass growth, improving both the amount and quality of hay or grazing.  

An aerator is a barrel with spikes on it that penetrate the soil. The barrel is filled with water and once in the field, the weight of the barrel pushes the spikes into the ground without ripping up the soil.

Aeration is an important conservation practice that can reduce nonpoint source water pollution from your land. Nonpoint source water pollution is just what it says – pollution that has no one point that it comes from.  For example, if there’s too much manure in the streams, you can’t tell whose animals or septic tank it came from.     

The Lancaster Soil and Water Conservation District has an aerator for the public to rent.

The aerator is located at Wright’s Welding at 1273 Lynwood Drive in Lancaster. The cost to rent the aerator is $50 a day.

If you have any questions, contact Wright’s Welding at 283-3666 or Amanda Roberts, district Manager for the Lancaster Soil and Water Conservation District, at 286-4455 extension 3. You may also go to www.lancasterswcd.com for more information.