When To Aerate Your Lawn
As with most larger lawn projects, such as planting grass seed, it’s best to aerate during or right before the time your grasses reach their peak time for natural growth. Aeration is good for lawns, but it can stress grass if timed improperly. Never aerate dormant lawns.
For cool-season grasses common in northern lawns, early fall or early spring are the best times for aerating. For warm-season grasses common to southern lawns, the best time for aerating is late spring or very early summer. When aeration coincides with active growth, grasses recover quickly and fill in areas where aerator equipment exposes soil.
Aerating is easiest on you and your lawn when your soil is moist from irrigation or rainfall the day before. Overly dry soil can be tough to aerate, so moisture eases the process. Never aerate overly wet lawns wait a few days instead.
Slicing aerators slice through lawns and leave soil in place.
The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn
Estimated read time: 4.5 minutes
When we ask homeowners the last time they had their lawn aerated, we find that many of them dont know what core aeration is, or why aeration and seeding are beneficial. To help you better understand why this service is essential to the health of your turf, here is our guide to aeration and seeding.
Why Do You Need To Aerate Your Lawn
Although there are still many things to be learned about lawn aeration, theres one thing most experts agree on and that is that opening up the turfs surface is beneficial for it. Air and water are essential for the soil ecosystem and the soil microorganisms in it which help naturally break down thatch thus improving the lawn.
Good drainage conditions and adequate topsoil air intake are very important for the proper growth of grassroots as they help them breathe and grow. By aerating the soil, youre permitting air to enter into the soil, which leads to gaseous exchange. Meaning that the grassroots suck in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
Having too much carbon dioxide in the soil is not good as it can limit or completely prohibit its water and nutrients intake.
However, by thoroughly aerating an area where browning has occurred, you can restore to roots ability to intake moisture again. And if done right your grass colour will return to its regular green in just around a week.
On the other hand, if the lawn is not aerated during the cold rainy seasons such as autumn and winter completely different problems can occur. For example, your soil might experience surface sealing because of the compacting effect of walking around and using garden maintenance machines that are on the heavier side.
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Best Time To Aerate And Overseed Lawn
The ideal time for aeration and overseeding your lawn will depend on your region and turf type.
In the Northeast and Midwest, late summer is a good time to aerate and overseed.
For southern regions that experience cooler winters, the rules change a bit. Bermudagrass can be overseeded with perennial ryegrass in fall so that it doesnt lose its lush appearance in winter. Zoysiagrass can be overseeded during its peak growing season — late spring to late summer. Bahiagrass can be overseeded from spring to summer.
How Soon Can I Mow After Overseeding
You should not mow your lawn for at least 2 to 3 weeks after overseeding. It will give your grass roots a chance to settle. The pressure on your new roots may be caused by mowing before they settle. Timing is important during this process and patience is the key. Once youve mowed your grass, its time to water it.
If you have a sprinkler system, make sure the sprinklers are turned off before you water. You can also use a garden hose or garden sprayer to spray water directly on the lawn, but be careful not to over-spray as this may damage the grass. Once the water has been sprayed, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the soil to soak up the excess water before watering again.
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Best Times To Aerate Your Lawn
The ideal time to aerate your lawn is during weather periods that will support its recovery. The optimal times for this to happen are during growing seasons, and this is dependent upon the type of grass. Cool-season grass tends to thrive during the cooler temperatures of the spring and fall, whereas warm-season grass usually thrives during the early summer months.
Lawn aeration is best performed at these times because weather during these periods helps to control lawn thatch. It is not necessary to aerate every year if your lawn is healthy and growing well or if you have sandy soil because it does not compact easily. In these cases, aerating every 2-3 years will suffice. When this process is performed more than necessary, it can damage your grass and the subtle balance between growth and dormancy. On the other hand, it is best to aerate every year if you have a heavy traffic lawn or clay soil, which is wet, sticky, and compacts easily. Additionally, lawn aeration is recommended twice a year if you live in harsh climates and/or experience particularly cold, dry winters.
The Best Time To Aerate Your Yard Depending On Your Needs
“Aeration” is a term referring to the process that removes plugs of soil from your lawn, or essentially “airing it out” through the use of aerator machines. This provides many benefits: It helps remove thatch so that your grass can stretch out and soak up water or nutrients more easily, while also preventing issues with standing water, grass mold, and other problems. If you aerate your yard and then overseed, or spread a new coat of seed afterward, you can help repair lawns and encourage vibrant growth next year, too. But the question remains: When should you try or aeration or looking into aerating services? Let’s talk about it.
How often to aerate?The common advice here is once every one to three years. The specifics depend a lot on your type of soil. Loose soil doesn’t need to be aerated very often. Thick, clay-like soil that easily traps water needs to be aerated more frequently. Especially thick types of grass may also call for aerating more frequently. As a general rule, you shouldn’t need to aerate more than once a year at any time .
The Spring AlternativeIf you aren’t planning on much overseeding or if you have particularly cold autumn seasons and hot summer seasons in your area, you may want to plan on spring aeration instead. The best time here is anywhere between March and June, but preferably sometime in April. Here your goal is similar: Give your grass time to readjust and be ready for the harsh summer and cold fall or winter seasons.
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How To Aerate Your Yard
If you’re convinced that your lawn is in need of aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:
- Before you get started, make sure the soil is moist enough. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to aerate soil that is bone dry. Aerating the day after a rain shower or watering your lawn the day before is advised.
- Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass, so make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. Save resources by leaving unaffected areas alone
- The excavated soil plugs should be allowed to dry and then broken up to give your lawn a uniform, clean appearance. Break them up by running them over with a lawn mower or pounding them with the back of a rake.
- An aeration myth is that if you apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the spring, aerating your lawn will destroy the herbicide “barrier.” This is not true research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention.
- After aerating, it’s important to continue basic lawn care practices such as proper fertilizing, mowing and watering.
Aeration is a beneficial practice toward achieving a beautiful lawn, but most people don’t realize it or understand the process. If your lawn is a candidate, make it an integral part of your lawn care regime. Your lawn will thank you for letting it breathe again.
How To Know If Your Soil Is Compacted
As long as you know what to look for, its relatively easy to detect when your soil is compacted. Here are the tell-tale signs:
- Bare spots and areas with patchy, unhealthy looking grass. When water and oxygen cant reach the roots, grass cant grow.
- Rock hard soil that you can barely penetrate with a pitchfork.
- Water running down from high areas is a sign that your lawn is not absorbing water.
- The Soil has a reddish tint. This is a sign of soil with high clay content, which tends to become compacted.
- Plants with stunted growth and trees with shallow roots.
- If your lawn doubles as a playground for kids or pets, theres a good chance the soil is compacted.
If your grass is thick, green, and healthy, and none of these signs are present, the soil is likely in good shape. If this is the case, stick to an annual aeration schedule until conditions change.
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When Should I Aerate And Overseed My Lawn
In the fall is the best time to aerate and seed a lawn. Warm soils, cool nights, and dying annual weeds make fall the ideal time for aeration and lawn seeding. Spring soils are ideal for germinating plants because they are cold and packed full of weed seeds. In the spring, the soil temperature is warmer than the summer, which makes it easier for dormant weeds to sprout and grow. This is also the time when most lawns need to be aerated and seeded.
Aeration is the process of aerating the surface of the lawn with water and/or fertilizer to encourage the growth of grasses, shrubs, trees and other plants. Seeding is when seeds are planted into the ground to create a seedbed for the grass to grow in. Its also a good time to fertilize your lawn, especially if you have a lot of weeds in your yard.
How To Know If Your Lawn Has Too Much Thatch
The best way to determine if your lawn has too much thatch is to walk on it and feel it with your bare feet. Lawns with too much thatch feel spongy and bouncy. Healthy lawns are soft but firm.
Feel the grass with your hand and fingers too. Your finger shouldnt be able to press more than a half-inch into the thatch. If youre still not sure, dig up a small chunk of turf and look at it from the side. If the layer of thatch is thicker than a half-inch, your lawn has too much.
If thatch is accompanied by compacted soil, the best solution is aeration. If thatch is the sole problem, you can dethatch your lawn by raking it manually or renting a power dethatcher from a home improvement store like Home Depot.
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Better For Grass Root Systems
To explain in more depth, lawn aeration is the process of making small holes by pulling out small soil plugs throughout your lawn in order to allow more oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the soil, down to the root zone. Allowing that to happen helps ensure a favorable environment for the root system to develop and grow. Healthier roots mean a healthier lawn.
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.
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Tools Used For Lawn Aeration
Lawn Aeration can be completed with either a manual tool, which is operated standing up or a power tool. First, let us discuss the types of manual tools that can be used for the process. The two main types are a spike lawn aerator and a plug aerator.
A spike lawn aerator is a garden tool designed to assist you in creating small holes into the ground with a solid tine.
A plug aerator removes a core or plug of grass and soil from the lawn. It executes the process through spikes that consist of hollow cylinders. This creates deeper holes than a spike lawn aerator. But it tends to need more labor and does not have as much coverage as a spike lawn one.
Manual aerators are effective, but they can be labor intensive if your lawn is considerably vast.
A power aerator is a commercial lawn aerator that is ideal for those who have a vast lawn. If cost is a deciding factor, keep in mind that power aerators are more expensive than manual ones. Additionally, if you decide on a power aerator, we recommend that you purchase a coring model.
So What Time Of Year Should I Aerate My Lawn
The best months of the year to aerate your lawn, to gain the best effect would be in the spring or autumn, and combine it with a fertilisation treatment. However, if the situation in your lawn is critical then I would treat it at the first available opportunity and aerate it as soon as the environmental conditions are correct.
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How Often Should Lawn Aeration Be Performed
While you might think that lawn aeration is something you should do all the time, the good news is that this supposition is far from the truth. Experts consider that aerating your lawn talking about core aeration shouldnt be done more often than once every three years. Still, some critical aspects come into play, such as the type of soil present in your yard and others.
Lets focus now on the factors that can influence the frequency of running complete aeration of your lawn. As mentioned, the soil type is vital. Clay soil, for instance, is more demanding, and you might have to aerate it once a year or every other year. Sandy soils are less challenging to deal with, and there is plenty of natural aeration going on. There is another reason why you shouldnt aerate sandy soil more than once every three years or less. Dislocating the soil will cause it to weaken, and then youll obtain the opposite effects of proper aeration.
How compacted the soil is represents another factor. Having your car stationed on your lawn all the time can cause it to become compact. When you notice that the yard soil becomes rock solid, thats a clear sign that it is in dire need of aeration.
Notice the grass, too. Any signs of thinning grass or patches of bare land usually point out at a soil that doesnt allow nutrients to properly reach the roots and nourish them.
Lawn Aeration In A Nutshell
Before getting to the nitty-gritty details of how and when you should perform lawn aeration, lets learn a little about its basics. Simply put, this term describes the process of making holes into the soil to allow the roots of the plants to breathe and grow strong.
Gardeners consider that a healthy soil should have about half of its volume made of empty space. The tiny pockets of air allow the water to reach the roots faster and nourish them. In time, the soil tends to compact, and less and less air is found in it. To rejuvenate it, you need to perform the process called aeration.
A well-aerated lawn will allow nutrients to reach the roots of the plants and help them thrive. Aeration thats performed regularly can make a whole world of difference between a lawn with unsightly brown spots and a burnt grass aspect and one that looks lush and beautiful.
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How Often To Aerate Your Lawn
There are some variables to consider when it comes to aeration. The time of year as well as the type of soil you have all play a part in scheduling core aeration.
Here are those variables:
Sandy and loam soils dont need regular core aeration because the soils already have oxygen circulating through them. Plus, if you aerate your sandy or loamy soil too often, youll weaken the soil.
Clay soils, for example, need aeration every year or every few years depending on how compacted the ground is. Clay soil holds in water, but cant easily circulate oxygen for plant health.
Core aeration also prepares your soil for receiving grass seed. If you use a slit seeder, the grass seed goes down deep into the ground. This deep planting helps the grass plants to develop deep root systems.