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This. For 2k sq ft (which is what I have in my backyard) it will take you about 2-3 hours total of work. Really not that bad at all. Drink a beer and listen to music, podcast, sports, etc. Just water a good amount morning of or day before, it will make it SO much easier.
Alternatively, you can have local landscaping company do it. Prices vary, but typically ~$70-110 USD seems like the average.
If you can aerate with an aerator that pulls plugs out, that is ideal. I use this one from Amazon (I also have very little lawn) it works great, and I have used a machine before and the manual one does just as good of a job, just takes longer.
Aerating without removing matter is only further compressing the areas around it and does nothing really long term for the soil. DONT use a pitch fork to aerate. Get something like this which will pull plugs out, then you can do a compost/sand mix in those holes. You could then overseed and top dress with more compost. Should be maybe a 2 6 pack job, at least, though.
This is the tool you should use to un-compact and aerate your yard: Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool ID-6C , Gray [link]
It looks like your yard is small enough that the manual tool should me a manageable amount of work.
I bought this lawn butler manual core aerator, $25 from Amazon.
It worked fine after a rain. If you have under say 2000sf I would consider it.
I looked at renting and buying for my reno, and wound up buying everything- an $80 lawn roller, the $90 greenworks corder dethatcher, and the $25 manual core aerator.
Would barely have saved any money renting, and now I have the tools to use next year.
If you have a much larger lawn, its a different calculation.
Try this. Worked great for my ~2500 sq ft backyard and ~1500 sq ft front yard. Make sure you water deep a few hours before you do it. Deeply moist soil is much easier to work with. Put some headphones on, grab a beer, and get to work. It took me maybe 3 hours for the backyard doing it about 8-10 inches apart.
It's apparently out of stock on amazon now, but you can find it elsewhere.
a good long watering before using it is key, it'll make the dirt/ground nice and soft, don't skip this step beforehand
Yep, this thing. In general, it wasn't terrible, but some of the compacted solid required a bit of force and my hip was jacked up for a few days afterwards.
My understanding is that core aerators work much better than spike aerators. You could get one of these, but I've heard they can clog pretty easily, especially if you have a lot of clay in your soil. For me, it was actually cheaper to have a lawn care company come out ($50) than it would have been to to rent an actual plug aerator.
That won't go deep enough or remove material.
You want one like this: [link]
You then throw on top-soil or sand (if your drainage is poor) and potentially some seed.
No, I wouldn't use them as they are not very useful since they do not pull any dirt up. They compact the soil even more around where they make the holes. Get a core aerator something like this... [link]
I killed all my grass/weed without pesticides by covering everything with cardboard weighed down by bricks for 3 weeks. I then watered and used a manual aerator. It all cost about $30.
Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool ID-6C https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EOMCJD6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_CcuWCbTQNKB10
Burning works and it's way faster. I didn't do that because my area burns easily.
Clover/grass mix is great overall. But to get things to grow better, is there any trees/shurbs that need pruning?
Removing some low branch, rubbing limbs, etc can vastly open up gaps for light.
a. Use grass suited for the area. For dense shade, fine fescues (creeping, red, chewings) all do great in dense shade. Also many turf type fescues do well, also. Something like this is a great basic mix. Your local seed and feed or landscaping supply may have something similar.
b. Make sure you you rake the ground to make little places for the seed to hid. Lay seed down, walk over it to press seed in. Cover with 1/4 in peat moss or straw (peat moss is best). Lightly water for 7-10 days 3x per day. Just need to keep seed and peat moss damp. Once grass sprouts, water much longer but only 1x per day then every other day, then once a week.
Water and fertilize. Water 1x-2x per week deeply. Try to get 1/2 in at least of water down. Use fertilizer like Milorganite (or menards organic type, or others are great). No need to worry about burning the yard, apply at bag rates.
CORE aerate in the fall. Either rent a core aerator at HD, hire someone ($50-150 depending on size and your location), or get one of these
I bought this bad boy, to do mine https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EOMCJD6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Here is a neat website to search for what will work in your growing zone. (It is USDA grow zones - you are 5b). As mentioned before you are going to have a hard time growing grass in something so wet. Another good tool would be this to allow for some better drainage. Maybe put some sand in the holes to even out your (I assume) really clay-y soil.
I got this Yard Butler coring aerator from Amazon and it worked great! It got plugged only like twice while aerating my 5000 sq ft lawn.
Get this on Amazon. The HD link is OOS.
It could definitely have an impact. Try aerating it with a core aerator if you can buy one like this. Not sure what you can have delivered in Thailand, though.
If not try using a landcaping rake or something similar to loosen up the top inch or so of soil. Then add about 1/2-1 inch of organic material. I would think you could easily get some compost or manure around there to spread. Toss the seed down, and lightly rake into the compost/manure/soil. Add fertilizer (specifically starter fertilizer—it contains phosphorus—if possible). Add a thin layer of straw or peat moss on top to retain moisture. Lightly water for 10-15 days until it germinates. Sometimes might need to water 4x a day. Goal is to keep seed MOIST but not wet or soaked (maybe ~10 min total). Once germinated and growing tall, water deeply only 1x a day to encourage roots to grow deep to seek the water.
Make sure you’re trying to grow a grass type that works for you. I think nor noi, Japanese grass, and malaysian grass work. Many golf courses use Bermuda grass as well in Thailand, so you could go for that.
How small of an area?
Might want to try a manual aerator -
I notice that the light brown patch is mostly on a slight hill, do you have clay soil? Sometimes the water will just slide right overtop the clay rather than soaking in which will lead to shallow roots. When was the last time you dethatched or aerated? Might even be worth grabbing something small like this to just spot treat the brown spots: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EOMCJD6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I'd topdress that area with a peat-based lawn soil or mix as well.
The bottom of the hill almost looks like the brown could be fungal, does the water just sit there? I'd aerate & amend that spot as well. Let us know how it goes!
For manual stomp aerator, are you talking about something like this? I was told that things like this are essentially worthless because they don't pull any plugs.
What about this for a dethatcher?
You could rent one but that would likely be overkill for 900 sq ft. You could buy a manual one like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EOMCJD6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_2G09ybVGG02FW
its a manual hand kind like this [link]
Using a coring aerator, either a manual one or a power aerator you can rent from a store like Home Depot or Lowes.
I was looking at this manual one. Yard Butler ID-6C Coring Aerator