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How To Aerate Lawn Yourself

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What Is Lawn Aeration And Can You Do It Yourself

Aerate your lawn yourself!

Posted on Jan 19, 2017 6:00:00 AM byStephanie Morgan

If you have any experience with lawn care you have probably learned that a healthy and beautiful lawn requires more than turning on the sprinklers and mowing occasionally. Your lawn needs nutrients that come from fertilizer and protection from weeds and pests that want to take over. Learning to feed and protect your lawn are important steps toward turning into something you can be proud of. Another way to help your grass thrive is to add lawn aeration to the list. Keep reading to learn about lawn aeration, its benefits, and how to get it done.

  • What is lawn aeration?

The phrase lawn aeration is generally referring to the process of creating small holes in the ground throughout your yard. There are tools and pieces of equipment available that you can use to properly and uniformly pull plugs of soil from your lawn. Using equipment that is made specifically for aeration will increase the likelihood that the process is done correctly and results in a healthier lawn.

  • What are the benefits of lawn aeration?
  • Can you aerate your lawn yourself?

If you decide to aerate your lawn on your own keep in mind that timing matters. The best time of year to aerate your lawn depends on the type of grass you have. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the type of grass you have so the aeration will result in the most beneficial results.

Prepare Your Lawn For Aeration

So how do you aerate your lawn? Before you can aerate your lawn, you must do some simple preparations. Go out into your lawn and see how dry your soil is. Aerating dry soil can be a troublesome task and it is certainly not optimal if you wish to aerate your lawn properly.

Its recommended to aerate your lawn the day after it rains or if you cant wait for the rain, simply water your lawn the day before and let it all sink into the soil.

Mowing your lawn before aerating can really help the process. The grass will be shorter making it easier for you to work and manage it as you aerate. You are able to see more clearly which areas are in need of aeration more than other areas as you mow. Some patches will be less thick or less green.

Complete Lawn Aeration Equipment Guide

Whether you live in the scorching heat or the freezing cold, your lawn can become spotty and brown without the proper maintenance it requires. One method to help your grass grow stronger and healthier is aeration. Like any other plant, grass roots need oxygen. Over time, thanks to foot traffic, rain and snow, and gravity, the soil around the roots of grass can become compacted, limiting the amount of air reaching the roots. The result? A less than healthy-looking lawn, to say the least.

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How To Test Your Lawn

On a related note, if you see any kind of water pooling in your backyard, this means that your lawn definitely has compacted soil and would benefit greatly from an aeration. So, if your lawn is constantly spongy or has a lot of particulate matter that looks like dead grass , you need to aerate your yard. But there is a particular way to test whether or not you absolutely have to aerate your lawn this very second, and you only need a screwdriver. Take the screwdriver and push it down into the soil. If it takes effort to insert when the soil is moist, your lawn is suffering from a case of compacted soil and is in need of aeration.

Select The Type Of Lawn Aerator To Use:

Aerate your lawn yourself!

There are three main different types of aeration. Plug aeration, spike aeration, and liquid aeration:

Plug aeration involves the process of making a fairly large hole around 1/2-3/4 inches in diameter and up to 6 inches deep. This will remove part of the soil from the roots and is known to improve the overall structure of your soil more than spike aeration.

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Quick And Simple Diy Lawn Aerator Shoes

Why spend hours pushing a lawn aerator when you can simply walk around your lawn and get the same result? These DIY lawn aerator shoes are honestly the easiest things you will ever see. You just need a couple of pretty thick boards and some nails as well as something to secure your aerators to your shoes. You could do a few of these in different sizes and have the entire family walking through the yard to aerate it.

Tutorial: kristendukephotography

What Exactly Is Lawn Aeration

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 Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn

There is a proper time to aerate your lawn. You aerate your lawn because you want it to be healthy.

However, timing is also important. There is a right time to aerate your lawn.


The best time to aerate your lawn is from spring to fall. But it also depends on what type of lawn you have.

The rule of thumb is that you aerate the lawn during the growing season because the grass can easily heal at this time.

Diy Lawn Aeration Tips

How To Aerate A Lawn

If youre looking for a DIY version of aeration, you can simply use a sturdy garden fork. Just insert the fork into the lawn and wriggle it back and forth to fracture the soil profile.

For more DIY aeration options check out seven make-at-home versions online here.

However you choose to aerate, you need to cover your lawn effectively and aim for spacing between the holes of around 8 10cm. You might even need to go over the area twice in a different direction each time to ensure full coverage. If your lawn is on the larger side, you can hire a specialised aerator to tackle the job. A spiked roller is also useful for lawn aeration for incorporating lime, gypsum, or coarse sand into the profile of your grass to improve drainage and pH levels.

You could also consider core aeration, which unlike regular aeration simply punches holes in the ground, removing a plug of soil from your lawn at the same time. Core aeration helps manage thatch build-up by introducing thatch-decomposing microorganisms from the soil to the top of the thatch layer and more importantly, relieves soil compaction. Remember to leave the plugs of turf for at least 1-2 weeks as they will break down and feed nutrients back to your lawns roots. We know its tempting to clean up but let them feed your lawn and youll reap the rewards in the coming weeks and months.

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What Is The Best Time Of Year To Aerate Your Lawn

The best time to aerate your lawn is just before or during periods of high growth, according to, an informational website sponsored by the Toro Company.

If youre working with cool-season grasses, including bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass, its best to aerate during the growth periods in the spring and fall. For warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, buffalograss, St. Augustine and zoysiagrass, aeration can take place during warm times of the year between late-spring and early-autumn, the website states.

If youre aerating in the spring, wait until you have mowed the lawn a few times to ensure the lawn is growing fast enough to recover. In the fall, aeration should be done early enough that the turf can recover before it goes dormant for the winter.

Diy Plexiglass Lawn Aerator Sandals

Here is another quick and easy take on lawn aerator shoes. These little sandals are made from plexiglass and they are super easy to put together. They work just like you would imagineyou strap them to your feet and then walk your way to a beautiful lawn. Make a few pairs and let your family or friends help you to make your lawn healthy and lush. These are also really cheap to DIY.

Tutorial: curbly

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Aeration Diy: How To Prepare Your Lawn For Fall

Ever wonder why the grass on your favorite golf course is so green? Professional care aside, the secret to lush, green grass is aeration. However, aeration doesnt get nearly enough credit for the role it plays in nourishing your lawn!

Ideally, your lawn should be professionally aerated in early spring or fall, during your grass growing season.

However, while we know the value of professional lawn care, we also understand there are some things youd rather do on your own! So, to help make sure your lawn stays healthy all year long, we created this DIY aeration guide. Below, youll learn what aeration is and how to do it, as well as the benefits of overseeding your lawn after aerating.

Diy Repurposed Rake Lawn Aerator

How to aerate my lawn

You dont need any fancy equipment to aerate your lawn. You can make a simple DIY lawn aerator out of an old garden rake and a 2X4. I do love good 2X4 DIY projects and this one is fabulous. You just use the rake to steady your aerator and give yourself a brace for pushing it into the ground. This one honestly will only take you an hour or so to make and it is really easy to use, too. What a great way to make use of old gardening tools!

Tutorial: practicalgardening

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The Difference Between A Spike And Plug Aerator

We refer to aeration as poking or plucking because depending on the tool you use, a spike aerator or a plug aerator, you perform one of those two actions. The difference, you might ask? A plug aerator removes a small plug of grass and soil from the lawn, leaving behind a small hole, whereas a spike aerator simply pokes holes into the ground using a tine or fork.

Pro Tip: Poking holes can be less effective and potentially cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes. For the best results, use an aerating tool or machine that removes plugs of soil.

Professional Lawn Care Aeration And Treatment

The cost to aerate your lawn by hiring a lawn care company is about $15 to $17 per thousand square feet. The average lawn size is about ten thousand square feet, making the average aeration cost around $150. It will take a lawn care company about 30 minutes to aerate a ten thousand square foot lawn. Adding overseeding and fertilizing to your aeration will bump up the cost. The cost of aeration, overseeding, and fertilizing is around $250 to $300 if you use a lawn care company.

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Other Lawn Aeration Equipment

So you have decided you are looking for some equipment that is a bit more advanced than a pitchfork to use for aerating your lawn. There are two main subcategories for types of aerators and they are:

  • Spike aerators A spike aerator is exactly what it sounds like, a piece of equipment with a spike on it that will make a small hole in the ground. The problem with spike aerators is that the will make a hole but they simply push the soil sideways which can actually make the ground more compact.
  • Core aerators A core aerator is the ultimate piece of equipment for lawn aeration if you ask me. When you push a core aerator into the ground it will remove a core of soil, the same way you remove the core of an apple. The advantage of this is that the soil doesnt get pushed sideways and compacted even more, it removes the core which will make your lawn less compacted long term.

There you have it, you now have the knowledge you require if you want to go ahead and aerate your lawn with a fork and you know what to expect and why I now use a top of the range core aerator.

Why Aerate A Lawn By Hand

How to aerate your lawn with a core / plug aerator

Although there are many modern powered-tools for aerating some of us choose to do the job by hand.

Instead of using engine based aerators or ones that attach to a riding lawn mower I find that I get much more satisfaction from aerating by hand simply because I like gardening.

As I have also become more concerned about my personal carbon footprint I think that by doing as many jobs by hand as I can, rather than relying on fume-creating machinery, Im doing my bit for the environment.

It is also a lot cheaper to source the hand tools necessary for lawn aeration than it is to buy machinery that at the end of the day gives you the same results .

In addition, buying a machine to do a one-a-year job may require a bigger budget than you are willing to spend.

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Testing To See If Your Lawn Can Benefit From Aerating

The first sign of compression is when the rain puddles and does not soak into the soil easily. This is a sure sign that you need to work on this area.

If the symptoms are not that obvious such as unhealthy or sparse areas you could test with a large screwdriver. Slide it into the soil and if it goes in easily you are ok. If it is hard work to get in then the soil could be compacted. When you do this test do it away from tree roots or areas you know contain rocks.

If this test is inconclusive then you are going to have to work a bit harder. I would suggest that you dig out an area approximately a foot by a foot and half a foot deep. Look at the roots of the grass. If the roots are growing less than 2 inches deep then you need to aerate. Once you have established whether you need to go ahead or not you an put the piece of turf back in and it will blend back into your lawn in no time.

How And When To Aerate Your Lawn

If youre a homeowner, you know that curb appeal means everything. Even if you arent in the process of selling your home, an appealing front yard presentation makes your guests feel welcome and gives you a sense of pride. For most homes, a plush, green lawn acts as a centerpiece for the front yard while the lawn in the backyard stands as a backdrop for family BBQs, parties, and other get-togethers. Using a lawn aerator might be necessary if your lawn no longer absorbs water, and it begins to show some wear and tear.

If youd like to avoid the cost of hiring a landscape professional for hundreds of dollars, use this DIY guide on best practices for using a grass aerator and determining when its time to get to work.

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How To Dethatch Your Lawn

  • Tackle small lawns with a dethatching rake, and rent a dethatcher for larger lawns
  • Mow your lawn to half its normal height before you begin dethatching.
  • Use a dethatching rake like you would a regular rake. Dig the tines into the thatch and pull it upward, helping to loosen and remove the buildup. While you rake, you should feel and see the thatch separating from the soil.
  • If youre planning to rent a dethatcher, mark any shallow irrigation lines, sprinkler heads, or buried utility lines before starting. This is no time for surprises!
  • Ask the rental agency to adjust the spacing and cutting depth for your grass type. The blades should be set to cut no deeper than ½ inch into the soil. Make sure to get directions for how to use the dethatcher, and follow all of them carefully. A dethatcher is heavy, so ask for help loading and unloading it, and know that youll need a truck to move it.
  • After dethatching, your lawn will look ragged. Use a leaf rake to get rid of the thatch you loosened up.
  • If bare spots were created by dethatching, use a patching product, like Scotts® EZ Seed®, to repair them.
  • Now you can feed the rest of your grass. Once thats wrapped, water your entire lawn to help it recover from all of the poking and prodding.
  • How Often To Aerate Your Lawn

    How to aerate lawn â How To Instructions

    How often you aerate depends on the conditions of your lawn. If you have a sandy soil, you probably dont need to aerate more than every two to three years. But if you have a heavy clay soil, your lawn could benefit from aeration every yearor even twice a year, if it gets heavy foot traffic.

    The time of year you aerate depends on your grass type. Lawn aeration is most effective during a grasss growing season, allowing it to heal more quickly. You should aerate cool season grasses like fine fescue and Kentucky bluegrass in fall or early spring. Warm season grasses, like Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass, should be aerated in late spring, or early summer at the latest.

    You should never aerate soil thats too dry. Soil thats a little moist is idealtoo wet, and aerating will be a mess. If you can, aerate the day after it rains, or a day after youve watered your lawn.

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