Aerating Your Lawn: When, Why and How You Should Do It

When your goal is to cultivate a healthier, thicker lawn, regular maintenance is most important. One of the ways to maintain the lawn is through aeration, and while this is a job that is most commonly done once a year, you can also benefit greatly by doing it in smaller steps and increments throughout the duration of the year. Aerating lawns regularly helps to relieve compacted soil, which will enhance the growth of the grass and keep it healthier. But why is this true?

Why It Is Good to Aerate Lawns

When you aerate your lawn, you are exposing it to greater levels of air and water intake as well as a higher nutritional concentration. This helps the roots of the grass grow deeper and stronger. When the soil reaches a point of becoming compacted, even just a little bit, the flow of all of those important essentials are limited, and as a result your grass may not grow to the point that you want it to. Even a layer measuring only half an inch thick can really affect the way your lawn grows and how beautiful it looks by the end of it.

When grass has limited or no access to its basic needs, it may get stressed out and struggle, especially in conditions of drought or high heat. Grass will gradually thin out and die in that case, because it is deprived of all of the water, nutrients and oxygen that are just on the other side of that layer of compacted soil.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

Even if you don’t think your lawn could become compacted, that isn’t true. Many factors contribute to the compaction of lawns, including small equipment or vehicles running over top of it, but smaller occurrences can be responsible, too, such as kids playing in the yard or pets wandering around. In order to reverse the potential damage being done by these things, aerating your lawn regularly is recommended.

When you have larger lawn projects, aerating the lawn just before or during the time your grass hits its peak is important. For warm season grasses most commonly found in the south, it is good to aerate in the early summer or late spring. For northern cool season grass, it is best to aerate the lawns either in the early spring or the early fall. No matter what kind of lawn you have, it is best to do it when the grass is slightly moist from rainfall or irrigation.

How to Aerate the Lawn

Choose from three different aerating equipment types: spike aerators, core or plug aerators or slicing aerators. Spike aerators poke holes down into the soil using spikes. This is good for small lawn projects but not large ones as it can compact soil around the spike holes. Core aerators use rows of hollow tines that pull plugs of soil out, and slicing aerators use rotating blades that cut through thatch and grass to leave airways.

In conclusion, aerating the lawn is a necessary step that should be completed in small increments throughout the year. No matter what type of lawn you have, yours, too, can benefit from proper aeration.

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