How to Core a Lawn

How to Core a Lawn

Aerating lawns is often required when soils become compacted and can no longer provide the free flow of water and oxygen required for lawn to survive. The most popular and most effective method of aerating lawns for homeowners is to use a lawn coring machine.

As the lawn corer moves over the lawn, it will punch holes into the lawn and soil with its hollow tynes, and as the tynes pull-out of the soil, they remove plugs of soil, thatch and lawn, leaving open holes in the lawn’s surface.

The homeowner has the option of hiring a contractor to do the job, or hiring a machine and doing it themselves. For those D.I.Y. lawn corers – read on to find out the best ways to core your lawn!

How to Core Your Lawn

Preparing for lawn coring

As always, preparation is the key to success, and coring a lawn is no different. These preparation points should be done the day before the lawn coring occurs.

Purchase Wetting Agents and a Quality Lawn Fertiliser. If you have a clay-based soil then some Gypsum Clay Breaker should also be purchased.

A Rotary Lawn Mower should also be available at the time of coring.

All reticulation lawn sprinklers should be marked-out with clear markers – some little flags can be purchased from a Reticulation Supply Shop.

Water the lawn thoroughly the night prior to lawn coring. This is essential as it will soften the soil and allow the plugs to be removed. Without prior watering, the tynes may not even enter the soil, or if they do – the plugs may disintegrate before removal.

The process of lawn coring

Lawn coring is relatively simple. The machine is usually rather large and can be cumbersome, but in theory it is simply guided over the lawn’s surface, and it’s tynes do the work punching holes into the turf, leaving it’s grass plugs in it’s wake.

You don’t want to destroy your sprinklers, so the flags you already put down will mark their positions and guide you around them effectively.

There’s no way we can provide instructions for all coring machines, so ensure you get good instructions from the hire shop for that particular machine being used. For safety, be sure to use steel capped boots.

Cleaning up the mess

Once the coring is finished there will be a rather large mess of soil and turf plugs sitting on top of the lawn. These can be dealt with in two different ways:

  1. A Rotary Lawn Mower can be used to mow over the top of the plugs without a catcher, this will break them all up into small particles which will eventually disappear back into the turf.
  2. Alternatively, and probably the better method is to use a Rotary Lawn Mower with a catcher to mow up all the plugs and leave a clean lawn surface.

Finishing Lawn Coring

Once the lawn has been aerated, it’s time to take advantage of this unique opportunity and apply Wetting Agents and Fertiliser directly into the soil and into the roots of the lawn.

Wetting Agents and Fertiliser should be applied now and then watered into the soil. This will have the positive effect of increasing the free flow of water through to the soil as well as moving the nutrients directly down to the roots of the lawn.

If the soil has a heavy clay component then some Gypsum Clay Breaker should also be applied along with the Fertiliser and Wetting Agents. The Gypsum will move straight into the soil to break up the clay. Applying Gypsum straight after lawn coring is the best time to do this.

Holes in the lawn

With the lawn coring job finished, and the Fertiliser, Wetting Agents and Gypsum applied and watered in, you may now notice that the lawn remains covered with holes. The best thing to do is leave the holes open, this will give the lawn the greatest benefit of water and oxygen flow for as long a period of time as possible. The holes will fill up with new roots and cover themselves with new lawn growth very quickly.

If the lawn is often compacted, water logged or is heavily clay based then the holes can be filled in with clean free flowing sand. This will aid the lawn for a very long time as it continues to allow water and oxygen to flow freely in the otherwise compacted soil.

Recommended Products

LawnPride Maintain Mini 26-2-9 + 3.4 Fe 20kg

Lawn Pride Maintain Mini 26-2-9 + 3.4 Fe 20kg is one of the most popular granular all-round lawn fertilisers on the market with the active ingredients of Nitrogen (N – 26), Phosphorus (P – 2), Potassium(K – 9) and Iron (Fe – 3.4). Suitable for Zoysia, Kikuyu, Couch and Buffalo grasses. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.


LawnPride HydraMaxx 2L Hose On

LawnPride HydraMaxx 2L Hose On is an ideal liquid Soil Wetting Agent used when watering is restricted and easily clicks onto the end of your hose. Suitable for use on ZoysiaKikuyuCouch and Buffalo grasses. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.


Granular Gypsum 25kg

Granular Gypsum Coarse Grade 25kg is an efficient Soil Amendment that is used to correct soil calcium levels and assist in soil flocculation. Suitable for ZoysiaKikuyuCouch and Buffalo grasses. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.


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