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How To Aerate The Lawn

What Is Aeration And Why Does Your Lawn Need It

How To Aerate Your Lawn | The Home Depot

Aerating your lawn is the process of loosening up the soil. Heavy rains, foot traffic, and even time can compact your soil, and this prevents the water, air, and fertilizer from getting down to the root system of your grass to feed it. By driving thin spikes down into the soil, you can loosen it and give it a better chance to thrive.

Aerating The Lawn: How To Aerate Your Lawn

There are two methods to aerate your lawn. One is mechanical and the other is a chemical method. These methods will give you information about lawn aeration how to, aerating the lawn, aeration of a lawn, how to aerate your lawn by hand with a fork, what does aerating the lawn do, etc. Lets go for it.

When Do Lawns Need Aeration

Its easier than you may think for a lawn to become compacted. Vehicles, equipment, outdoor entertaining or just kids and pets running around the yard can cause some level of compaction. And even some lawns that arent can still benefit from aeration. Thats why its so important to make it a yearly affair.

The soil you have is a factor too because some types are harder to grow grass in than others. If your yard has heavy clay or is very rocky it can be harder to deliver nutrients to the grass because of how dense the soil is. An annual aeration can help keep your lawn healthy.


De-thatching and aerating are different tasks that sometimes get confused but they go hand in hand. Thatch is the layer of decomposing organic matter that forms on the lawns surface between the soil and grass. When thatch gets more than 1/2 inch thick it acts just like compaction by blocking air, water and nutrients from getting to the roots. Aeration can penetrate and reduce thatch buildup by punching holes right through it.

There are a few signs your lawn may need aeration.

  • Unhealthy looking grass.
  • Soil is hard to the touch.
  • Rainwater puddles where it used to absorb.
  • Overly wet or mushy ground.
  • Mushroom growth.
  • Thatch levels are thick.

To test this out, take a screwdriver and stick it into your lawns soil by hand. It should slide in fairly easily. If theres resistance, your soil may be compacted, and aeration can help.

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Aeration Without A Professional

If you do decide to aerate your lawn without the help of a professional, there are a few things you should think of beforehand:


  • Know your grass type. Aeration should only occur when the grass is actively growing.
  • Rent or purchase an aerating machine.
  • Clearly mark sprinkler heads, irrigation lines, and other underground lines in your yard that could get damaged by a lawn aerator.
  • Water the lawn thoroughly the day before.
  • Plan to seed and fertilize after core aeration.
  • Let the plugs disintegrate into the lawn.
  • Be safe opening an aerator. It requires proper handling and safe operations.

What Exactly Is Lawn Aeration

Lawn Care Lessons for Aerating Your Lawn in the Spring

Lawn aeration is the process of puncturing the soil with small holes that aid vital elements, such as air and water, to enter the grassroots. This process helps the roots to grow deeply, which in turn produces a stronger and livelier lawn.

The main purpose of lawn aeration is to provide air and breathability to your lawn and the soil underneath it.

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When Why And How To Aerate Lawn

Lawn aerating is one of the most effective ways to keep your lawn nutritious, powerful, and full of life. Lawn aeration entails removing soil plugs from your lawn, resulting in deep spots that promote healthy growth for your roots. The space that is created by removing the plugs allows your gardens rootstock to widen and strengthen. Aeration also improves water flow and provides easier access to plant food and nutrients for your plant roots. This article will explore lawn aerator tips and provide information on how to help you get a beautiful lawn.

When Is The Best Time To Aerate

Aeration is best performed just before or during periods of high growth. However, not immediately preceding or during periods of stress to the lawn. For example, heat or drought. The type of grasses that make up your lawn will determine the best time of year to aerate.


When to Aerate if You Have Cool-Season Grasses: If youre working with cool-season grasses, including bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass, aerating during the growth periods in the spring and fall is best.

When to Aerate if You Have Warm-Season Grasses: For warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, buffalograss, St. Augustine and zoysiagrass, aerate during warm times of the year, between late-spring and early-autumn.

Considerations for Aerating in the Spring: In the spring, wait until youve mowed the lawn a few times before aerating. Doing so ensures the lawn will grow fast enough to recover and take advantage of the increased pore space and air exchange at the root zone that aeration creates.

One caveat, says Friell, is that any disturbance of the root zone in the spring can increase weed competition by bringing buried seeds to the surface. Applying fertilizer and a pre-emergent weed killer following aeration can reduce the potential for weed competition and increase the hardiness of the grasses. But dont apply a weed killer if you plan to overseed following aeration. It will prevent germination of the seed you put down.

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Aerating Warm Season Grass

Typically, warm-season grasses should be aerated in April or May. One should wait until the lawn has greened up and started to grow.

Aerating a dormant lawn damages the grass and encourages weeds to grow. Additionally, an aerated dormant lawn cannot crowd out unwanted weed growth. One rule of thumb: aerate warm season lawns after the first cut of the year.

Time Of Year Aeration Should Be Done

The Scotts Way: How to Aerate Your Lawn

The best time to aerate is during the growing season when your grass can heal and fill in any open areas once soil plugs are removed.

In most parts of California, the best time to aerate tends to be in the late summer to mid-fall months, ideally September or October.


While the grass will likely still be actively growing, theres a strong chance that the foot traffic on your lawn has slowed down a bit youre probably hosting fewer backyard barbecues now than you were in the middle of summer, after all. Fall aeration can help get your lawn strong and healthy again after a busy season of use.

Summer tends to herald a great deal of foot traffic and activity on your lawn, something that contributes to heavily compacted soil and makes it more difficult for nutrients, water, and oxygen to reach your plants.

Ultimately, deciding the time of year to aerate your lawn will depend primarily on what type of grass you are growing.

Aerate in the early spring or early fall if you are growing cool-season grass, like bluegrass, fescue, or ryegrass. If you live in places like the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, or any other part of the region that experiences cold winters and hot summers, youre likely growing a cool-season blend.

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Determining When It’s Time To Aerate Your Yard

  • 1Know what kind of grass you have. Different types of grasses grow most actively during certain seasons of the year.XResearch source It’s best to aerate your lawn just before or during your lawn’s most active period of growth, so that the grass will grow back quickly and recover from the aeration process.
  • Warm-season grasses like buffalo grass, Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass grow most actively during the summer. If you have warm season grass, it’s best to aerate in the late spring to early summer.
  • Cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass have their most active growing season in the fall, when the temperature drops. Aerate cool season grass at the end of the summer or the beginning of fall. Just make sure you aerate early enough that you allow the lawn to recover from aeration for a month or so before the first frost hits.
  • 2Know what type of soil you have. Clay-heavy soils need to be aerated frequently, about once a year, since the soil tends to be dense and compact. Sandy soils can be aerated every two years or so.Advertisement
  • 3Know your lawn habits. Do you drive on your lawn often, or frequently have large groups of people walking over it? Lawns that are trampled often need to be aerated once a year to prevent the soil from getting too compact.
  • Have you recently reseeded your lawn? It’s best not to aerate within a year of reseeding, since the grass needs time to get strong.
  • When To Aerate A Lawn For A Gorgeous Grass Lawn Every Time

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    Preparing To Aerate Your Yard

  • 1 There are two types of aerators: power and manual. Choose the one that best fits your needs.
  • A power yard aerator is a gasoline-driven machine that is best suited for large yards. This type of aerator uses a spike system to poke holes in the soil or a coring system that pulls plugs of soil out of the ground to allow for water and nutrient absorption. You can rent a power yard aerator from a landscape company by the day for a small fee. Talk with your neighbors about splitting the cost of the rental and sharing the machine.
  • A manual yard aerator works more efficiently on small yards or heavily-trafficked areas of a lawn. Two types of manual yard aerators exist: a coring-style aerator that uses a cylinder to remove cores of earth and a spike-type of aerator that rolls over patches of lawn to insert holes without extracting soil. Lawn-care specialists and enthusiasts promote the core-style of yard aerators, as these types promote the best water and nutrient absorption.
  • 2Prep the yard for aeration. Yard aerators work best on cleared, mowed yards. If you have sprinklers, then turn them on for a short time first and mark where each on is so that you can avoid them.
  • Rake debris like leaves, sticks and other plant matter from the yard to make sure nothing obstructs the path of the aerator.
  • 4Know which areas of your yard are the most trafficked. Plan to go over those areas with your aerator more than once to ensure you sufficiently aerate that section of yard.Advertisement
  • Why Aerating Helps The Lawn

    Lawn Aeration: A Step by Step Guide

    Grass is just like any other plant. The roots are what needs air, water and nutrients to grow thick, lush grass. The part you see is the attractive part but most of the work is done below ground. All the nutrition is soaked up by the roots,not the green grass you see above ground. When the surface becomes compacted, it inhibits the flow of essential nutrients down to the roots. Even a thin layer of compaction just 1/4 inch thick can make a big difference in terms of overall lawn heath. Aeration creates holes into the soil that act like tunnels delivering nutrients right to the roots where theyre actually needed.

    If nutrients cant get to the roots, lawn grass can become unhealthy in stressful times such as heat or low rainfall. That healthy lush color and thickness you want will be very difficult to obtain if the grass cant be properly nourished. Grasses can gradually thin, yellow and eventually die out from lack of the oxygen, water and nutrients that cant get to the roots because theyre trapped on the surface by compaction. Even a single aeration can solve the problem bringing your lawn back to life.

    Many homeowners who dont aerate their lawns try using strong fertilizers instead. This is generally a mistake and rarely needed. In most cases all a sick lawn needs is aeration so the nutrients can actually get to the grass. Lots of fertilizer isnt the answer because it will have trouble penetrating the compaction layer too.

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    Lawn Aeration Guide: Lawn Maintenance After Aeration

    Here are a few maintenance tips that are very important to consider after aerating your lawn:

    • Continue with proper fertilization, water, and mowing.
    • After aerating your lawn, leave the soil cores where they fall. These cores will break down in the rain or disintegrate the next time you mow your lawn. Once these cores break down, they add nutrients back into your soil.
    • Overseeding after aerating is also beneficial to your lawn. These seedlings make better contact with the soil through the holes created by aerating. This allows your seeds to have a better chance for germination.

    Potential Downsides Of Lawn Aeration

    According to most lawn care professionals, as long as you do it at the appropriate time and frequency, there are few downsides to lawn aeration.

    If you opt for the core aeration method, it can leave some unattractive aeration plugs left on your lawn, making it look like a bit of a battlefield. It can also be somewhat time-consuming, and if you need to rent a machine to aerate the lawn, it can get expensive.

    Otherwise, though, there are few disadvantages to aerating your lawn regularly.

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    How To Aerate Your Lawn

    Aerating equipment comes in three main types, from small manual versions to larger tractor-like or pull-behind machinery:

    • Spike aerators simply poke a hole down into the soil with a solid, spike-like tine. Some homeowners wear spiked aerator sandals” strapped to their shoes to aerate as they do yard work. While these can help on a small scale, spike machines can make compaction worse by pressing soil together around the holes.1
    • Slicing aerators have rotating blades that cut or slice through grass and thatch and down into soil. Like spike aerators, slicing aerators leave soil in the ground, but they create pathways for air, water and nutrients without causing more compaction.
    • Core or plug aerators, typically preferred by lawn professionals, use rows of hollow tines that remove plugs of soil from your lawn and deposit them on top, where they break down. The size of the plugs and the holes they create vary in width and depth, depending on the machine used.

    You can hire a lawn service to aerate for you or do it yourself like a pro. Equipment rental companies and lawn and garden stores often rent aerator machines and provide basic operating instructions for the model you choose. Aerating is a lot like mowing as you work back and forth across your lawn. Concentrate on any known problem areas, like pet runs or backyard baseball diamonds. Make several passes in different directions to help ensure optimal coverage and benefits.

    Summary: How To Aerate Your Lawn

    How to aerate and seed tall fescue grass turf basic 101

    Aerating your lawn involves using a machine to cut small holes, called cores, into the turf so oxygen, water and nutrients can penetrate deep into the soil. These holes are generally about 2-4 inches and go down to the roots. Aerating also breaks up soil and other organic material thats built up over time. When you aerate a lawn properly you allow nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil which encourages healthier roots and grass. This greatly improves a grasss durability and overall health. In many cases, the top layer is so dense nutrients cant get to the roots where theyre needed. Aerating core holes makes it easy. The holes deliver nutrients and water right where theyre needed most.

    Just a little maintenance goes a long way in creating a healthier lawn. Aerating is easy to do by hand and generally only needs to be done about once a year. The machine does almost all the work. All you have to do is run the aerator evenly over the entire lawn. Try to make sure every area of the lawn gets aerated.

    Aerating machines come in two basic designs, by hand or powered. Both are easy to use and work really well. Although powered machine are easier because all you do is steer. Some lawns are more difficult to aerate then others because of soil conditions and how dense the grass is. If your is too difficult to do by hand then try a powered aerator. Some designs hook up to the back of a sit down mower so you dont even have to walk. What could be easier.

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