When to Aerate Your Lawn


Aerating your lawn is essential for ensuring that it has plenty of room to grow and thrive. Aerating is the process of removing little plugs of soil, giving benefits to the lawn. Some of the many benefits that are provided by aerating include:

  • Reduction in the amount of weeds
  • A greater amount of nutrients reaching the roots
  • Preventing soil compaction
  • Increases growth
  • Improves oxygen circulation at the roots
  • Help the roots absorb fertilizer
  • Help increase activity of friendly organisms such as earthworms

Knowing when to aerate your lawn will ensure that your yard derives the most benefits from the process. To determine whether or not your lawn needs to be aerated, you can perform this simple test. First, remove a section from your lawn, about a square foot in size, and at least six inches deep. Now, check the sample's roots. If the roots only reach within 1-2 inches of the sample, then the soil is compacted and your yard will benefit from aeration. If your soil is composed of heavy clay, you should also consider aerating your lawn. Aeration will help break up the clay and improve the overall health of your soil. However, you should never aerate a lawn within its first year of being established. Generally, clay soil should be aerated more frequently then other types. Consider aerating clay soil at least twice a year, during spring and fall seasons. Soil that consists mostly of sand isn't as prone to compacting as clay soil is. Therefore, aerating sandy soils once a year should suffice. Fertilizer may be applied to the lawn after aeration to provide the best absorption.

Thatch is a major problem for lawns. Thatch may be described as the layer of inorganic and organic materials that lay directly underneath your lawn and between the layers of soil. Thatch is a problem because the more it builds up, the greater chance of pests and disease will occur. In fact, the roots of your lawn and other plants may become rooted in the layer of thatch and not in the layer of soil, causing harm and lack of valuable nutrients to your lawn. Thatch should be controlled when it reaches an excess of 1/2 inch thick. Aeration is a great way to break up thatch and control its negative and damaging effects. If your lawn is suffering due to an excess of thatch buildup, then it is definitely time to aerate your lawn.

You should also aerate your lawn according to the type of grass you have planted. Cool season grasses should be done during the months of August to mid September. This is when these grasses experience their fastest growth. Likewise, warm season grasses should be done during June and July.

You can hire a landscaping company, or you may choose to rent one and perform the work yourself. Due to the fact that many people will be renting one, you should arrange your rental at least three weeks in advance. Check with your local garden center for rental equipment.