When, Why, and How to Aerate Your Lawn

If you want to improve your turf quality and have healthy grass that grows thicker and faster, lawn aeration should be part of your regular maintenance routine.

You might be feeding and watering your lawn using a quality soaker hose to ensure that it receives the nutrients it needs to grow, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. This problem could be caused by a compacted soil or a thick thatch that blocks those nutrients and suffocate grass roots.

If your lawn is not growing as well as it should, despite regular fertilizing, you will need to aerate it. Knowing when and how to aerate a lawn garden can save you from the stress and troubles of having dying grass or a lawn that fails to thrive.

What is Aeration, and Why Aerate your Lawn

why aerate lawn

Aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes, allowing water, air, and nutrients to penetrate grass roots. It can be a vital element to help the roots grow better and produce stronger lawn.

If you think your lawn requires aeration, you can benefit from a core aerator. It is a tool that has hollow tines, which will mechanically remove ‘cores’ or plugs of soil from a lawn. By reducing soil compact, it creates a channel through which water, nutrients, and oxygen can reach the roots.

Therefore, there is no denying that aeration is essential lawn care that must be considered by every gardener or homeowner. Other incredible benefits of lawn aeration include:

Lawn longevity

One of the best things about aeration is that it improves the growing condition of your turfgrass plants, leading to a more vigorous lawn. It also ensures that your lawn can last long by increasing your turf’s ability to tolerate drought, heat, and disease.

Promote effective overseeding

Overseeding is the process of spreading or planting grass seeds into an existing lawn without tearing up the soil or the turf. It is an effective way of improving your turf’s density, enhancing your lawn’s color, and establishing more grass varieties. By allowing direct contact between the seed and soil, aeration makes overseeding more efficient.

Provide better treatment

Fertilizers are an essential element to encourage better root and leaf growth while reducing troublesome weeds. However, if the soil is obstructed, fertilizers cannot penetrate well and may not reach the roots. Aeration solves this problem by increasing your fertilizer’s ability to reach the soil and the grass’ root system.

Reduces water runoff

If you notice runoff or puddles while watering your lawn, it can be because of soil compaction, which occurs when soil particles are tightly pressed together. Aerating your lawn is a great way to prevent this by increasing pore space between soil particles so that the soil can quickly absorb water.

effects of compaction on pore space image

Source: UMN.edu

When to Aerate Lawn

If you are new to aeration and haven’t done it before, it is common to wonder when you should aerate your lawn. The best time to aerate your lawn is during the growing season. It is because your grass can heal better during this time and fill in open areas after the removal of soil plugs.

Your soil’s texture is also an essential factor to consider when deciding whether you should perform it or not. For instance, having clay soil will require you to aerate your lawn more often than having sand or loam particles. But, regardless of your lawn’s soil type, here are common indications your lawn might need aeration:

  • It has a spongy feel or dries out easily. If you notice that your lawn gets dry faster than it used to, it could be due to an excessive thatch issue. Remove a part of your lawn, about four inches deep, using a shovel. Once you find the thatch layer to be greater than half an inch, it is best to consider aerating it.
  • It receives too much traffic. Lawns that serve as a regular playground gets heavy use. Pets and children running around the yard can also contribute to soil compaction.
  • You have drainage problems.

While it is not always a clear indication of lawn issues, puddles of water that remain all over your lawn even after light rain could be a result of a compacted lawn. If that’s the case, then it is advisable to perform aeration.

We’ve already established that aeration is beneficial for lawns, but it can also stress your grass if not timed correctly. If you have cool-season grasses that thrive better in the cool temperatures, early spring or early fall is ideal for aerating. On the other hand, if you have warm-season grasses, it is best to aerate them during early summer or late spring.

How to Aerate Lawn

lawn scarifier

The process of lawn aeration doesn’t have to be daunting if you have the right equipment available. Therefore, make sure to buy the best lawn aerator to make the job easier for you. Once you’re already equipped with the right tool, here are some tips on how to aerate lawn:

  • Make sure the soil is not overly dry. It should be moist enough before you get started, as moisture will ease the process.
  • You might need to make multiple passes over areas that are intensely compacted and just leave the unaffected ones alone. It’s important to focus on known problem areas, like those that receive more foot traffic.
  • Allow the excavated soil plugs to dry and then break them up by pounding them using the back of a rake or running over with a lawnmower. But naturally, they will break down in the rain.
  • Continue fertilizing and watering your lawn after aerating to ensure better grass growth.

Lawn aeration may seem like an overwhelming task, but it is not as complicated as you might think. Again, make sure you have the best aerator, and proper soil preparation is always necessary.

In Summary

If you think your lawn is a perfect candidate for aeration, make it a fundamental part of your lawn care practice. As you do that, your lawn will surely thank you for allowing it to breathe and absorb all the nutrition it needs to grow healthy and beautiful all year-round. When you use appropriate methods, and with the right timing, even lawn service professionals recommend aeration to gardeners and homeowners.

About The Author

MyUnfinishedHome Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to finish your home and make it a lovely place.

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