When, Why, and How to Aerate Your Lawn

If you’re not familiar with the process of maintaining a healthy lawn, you might not know much about aeration. You’ve heard about it, people tell you to do it, but you’re still not sure how aerating your lawn helps. 

It’s important to understand aeration, though, as it’s an essential piece of your lawn’s health. We’re going to talk about how to aerate your lawn today, giving you insight into the when, why, and how of the process. 

We hope our brief lawn aeration guide gives you the insight you need to start grooming a healthy lawn. Let’s get started. 

Why Does Lawn Aeration Matter?

Natural soils and grasses tend to work together with a lot of room to breathe. There’s enough space in the soil to allow water, oxygen, and nutrients to flow freely to roots, leading to the healthy growth of grasses and plants. 

Plants require a healthy variety of different nutrients in order to thrive. The difficulty with most home lawns, though, is that there isn’t much room for those nutrients to flow. Our lawns are typically compacted, meaning they’re a lot denser than they should be. 

Lawns get compacted when we drive vehicles over them, create them with sod, or even spend a lot of time walking on them. In some cases, newly constructed homes have healthy topsoil, but the subsoil is compacted by the construction vehicles used in the home-building process. 

All of these things leave our grass in need of nutrients. When we aerate our lawns, we create holes in the ground that allow water, nutrients, and oxygen to enter the roots. 

This effectively takes care of the problems that come along with compacted soil. 

When to Aerate Your Lawn

There are a couple of options for timing your aeration. Most people will tell you that you should aerate at the beginning of the peak growing season. 

This allows more nutrients to enter the roots when they can be best utilized. You’ll wind up with healthier and thicker grass if you do this. That’s if you’re aerating for growth, however. 

You can also aerate to maintain the general health of your lawn depending on your climate and the conditions of your property. If you’re someone who uses your lawn a great deal during the summer, you might want to aerate in the fall. 

The period of time after you’ve used the lawn heavily might be the time when the soil is most compact. Aerating in the fall after an active summer, then, should provide the grass with nutrients needed to last the winter and come back healthily in the spring. 

Things to Watch Out for

There are a couple of times to avoid aerating. Aerating in spring might seem like a good idea, and it is in some cases. That said, if you’re living somewhere with a lot of weeds, aerating in spring might be a bad idea. 

Holes in your lawn might make it easy for those weeds to find their way into your yard and take deep roots. Alternatively, someone who’s spraying their lawn with weed-killer shouldn’t do so after they’ve aerated. 

The holes in your lawn give the weed-killer direct access to your grassroots, potentially killing your grass. 

Finally, it’s unwise to aerate in particularly dry periods. Aeration could dry out the soil further and put a lot of stress on your lawn. 

How to Aerate Your Lawn

Aeration can happen with a variety of different machines. Some large aeration machines might cost you a chunk of change to rent for the day, while others cost less than $100 to buy. 

The aeration tools you decide upon should depend on the size of your lawn. If you’ve got a small lawn, you might not need to invest too much in your aerator. 

If you’ve got a big lawn to aerate and need expensive equipment, consider teaming up with your neighbors and splitting the cost to use the machine on multiple yards. 

Mark Obstacles and Wait

The first thing to do is to identify any irrigation systems, utility lines, or other obstacles that sit near the surface of your lawn. These could be damaged by the aeration machine you’re using. 

Flag those obstacles, then wait for the right time to aerate. The ideal time to aerate the soil is when the ground is wet. The day after a healthy rainfall is a great time to start aerating. 

If you live on extremely dry land, you can water your lawn thoroughly and aerate after. 

Aerating Your Lawn, Handling Soil Cores

Now that the ground is wet, it’s time to start. Go over your lawn once or twice with the aerator, ensuring that you’ve covered any areas of grass that may need attention. 

The more comprehensive you are with aeration, the more evenly the soil can distribute. Once you’re done, you’ll notice that the soil cores taken in the aeration are distributed around your lawn. Wait for these to dry. 

You can go over these dry cores with a lawnmower or rake. When they’re broken down, they’ll distribute and lightly fill the aeration holes to even out your lawn. 

Professional Help and Maintenance

If the process above sounds like a big task, you might want some professional help. Massive or delicate lawns are difficult to care for and there’s nothing wrong with having the pros take care of your maintenance. 

Aeration can get complicated when you’re dealing with a complex lawn. Landscaping, different patio features, variables in the weather, and more can all impact the health of your lawn. 

Hiring a team to look after those factors for you can be a great way to reduce stress and increase the aesthetic value of your home. Keeping a healthy curb appeal value could raise your home’s resale value by around seven percent!

Want to Learn More About Lawn Care?

We hope our look at how to aerate your lawn was useful to you. It’s something that you can do each year to improve the quality of your lawn significantly. There’s a lot more to learn about keeping a beautiful lawn, though. 

We’re here to help. Contact us for more ideas on lawn care, resources for professional maintenance, and more.