Why Aerate A Lawn
Aerating is the process of scooping or “coring” holes into your lawn so oxygen, water and nutrients can penetrate deeper into the soil. Aerating also can break up soil that’s been compacted and hardened by heavy summer use.
“When you aerate and get oxygen deeper into the soil you are encouraging deeper roots, which in turn will improve a grass’s drought tolerance and durability,” says Gary Peiffer, an agent with the DeKalb County Extension Office in Georgia.
Why Fall Is The Best Time To Aerate
Fall has ideal conditions for your grass to grow. When you aerate your cool-season turf in fall, it will help the grass return stronger and healthier than if aeration had been done during the spring or summer. Similarly, warm-season turf should be aerated in the spring. Aerating your lawn in the fall helps prepare your yard to recover quicker and flourish come spring. The ideal time to aerate your Georgia lawn this fall starts at the end of September up to a couple of weeks before the first frost.
When Does Your Lawn Need Aeration
While you might think that your lawn isn’t going to get compacted, it’s more likely to happen than you realize. Small machines or vehicles driven over your grass, and even playing outdoors with your pets or kids and entertaining outdoors, can cause the soil to compact.
If you live in an area with heavy clay soil, annual aeration is needed to keep your grass from becoming weak and thin.
If you start to notice that your lawn looks stress and the feels hard or rainfall pools where it should absorb into the ground, your lawn is probably compacted. You can easily confirm if this is true by performing a screwdriver test.
To do this test, you need to take a screwdriver and poke it down into the soil of your lawn. If your soil isn’t compacted, then the screwdriver should slide right into the ground. But if you find that theres some resistance, then the soil is probably compacted: aeration can help in this situation.
Recommended Reading: How To Even Out Bumpy Lawn
Importance Of Lawn Aeration
Soil becomes compacted over time, and when that happens, it inhibits the flow of water and other essentials for grass growth. The roots must get sufficient nutrients, water, and air to grow deep and robust.
Without these, the grass couldnt become thick and healthy. A ¼ to ½ inch thickness of compacted soil can make a significant difference to the beauty and health of your lawn.
Aeration works by creating holes in the soil lumps to allow water, air, and nutrients to get to the roots.
When grass doesnt get its basic needs, it struggles to overcome low rainfall and stressful heat situations. It loses its rich color and health, eventually thinning and dying out. A single aeration session opens the path for the essentials to reach the roots, putting the lawn back on an upward trend.
Why You Should Consider A Professional Like Lawn Doctor
If you want a professional and quick job done, it is best to seek help. A Lawn Doctor will know how to aerate your lawn in only a few hours and do it properly. Professionals have the experience to do the job right. They know how deep to go and where. This will help because of the least amount of damage to your lawn. A professional will also be able to get your lawn aerated in the shortest amount of time. It may be harder than you think, especially if you are a beginner and not used to this kind of work. A professional can get it done in a short period and reduce stress on your lawn.
Aeration is a way to loosen compact soil by punching holes in it. The result is that air and water can more easily enter the soil, which promotes healthier soils and grass. It also creates spaces for good microbes to grow. The best way to aerate your lawn is with a professional. There are many aeration services in the industry that can help us get proper aeration and make your lawn look great.
Read Also: How To Use Sevin Lawn Insect Granules
Does My Lawn Need Aeration
Lawns that suffer heavy foot traffic and consist of clay soil get compacted more easily, so they likely need to be aerated more often. Does rainwater run off your lawn without soaking in? Did your lawn turn brown after a few days of hot weather? If so, it might be time to aerate. Another check: Dig into a square-foot section of your lawn and inspect how deep your grass’s roots grow. If they extend less than two inches into the soil, then it’s time to aerate.
Lawn Aeration And Overseeding
We recently bought a home at the end of May with a lawn in need of assistance. When we moved in, we quickly tackled the mole problem by trapping five moles, and one vole! Next, we moved onto the damage done by the moles we leveled out the mole hills and seeded those areas however, in the end, we were defeated by the summer heat and our outrageous water bill. For the last 3 months, we have had a partially dead lawn with some smaller bare spots. We have been anxiously awaiting fall in hopes of making our lawn look not so much like a train wreck.
Fall is a wonderful time to repair all the lawn mistakes/issues of the season. It is also considered the best time of year to aerate your lawn. By aerating and overseeding your lawn, it establishes a denser lawn to create competition to weeds, and it relieves compaction to improve water drainage which can make the lawn less susceptible to disease and weed growth many weeds such as yellow nutsedge, prostrate knotweed, and spotted spurge grow in wet compacted areas where grass will not grow. It also helps established lawns by allowing water, air, and nutrients move more easily to the root zone. Holes created by an aerator allows for seed to have better contact with the soil when overseeding which is important for germination.
Read Also: What Kind Of Lawn Mower Do I Need
Why Aerate Your Lawn
Over time, soil tends to compact and become hard due to foot traffic, mowing, clay soil, or poor drainage. This prevents water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the hungry roots. As a result, the turf becomes thin, pale, or patchy.
Lawn aerationa process of making holes in the turfbreaks up hard soil so that water and nutrients penetrate the grass roots more easily. There are two basic types of lawn aerators:
- Spike aerators, which simply poke holes into the soil
- Plug aerators, which actually remove a plug of soil and grass
Both break up hardened soil, but lawn plug aerators are more effective.
When Should I Aerate My Lawn
When you aerate the lawn, you sever many feeder roots and weaken the plants. Its best to do this as the grass heads into a strong, rapid growth phase. Aerating too early or late in the year, such as during winter dormancy or summer heat and drought, stresses the grass at a time when it needs to conserve its resources. Poor timing of aeration could open the lawn to weeds, insects, or disease.
The best time to aerate a lawn is at the beginning of its rapid growth phase. For warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass and zoysia grass, that means shortly after it turns fully green in late spring or early summer. Cool-season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass are best aerated in either early fall or early spring.
Read Also: What Does Your Lawn Look Like If You Have Grubs
How To Aerate A Lawn By Hand
Large stretches of turf require gas-powered aerator tools, but if you have a fairly small patch of grass, a handheld aerator will work. There are several types of manual aerators.
- Aerator shoes have sharp spikes on the bottom. Just strap them on over your regular shoes and walk across your grass, making multiple passes in different directions to thoroughly penetrate the turf. If you’re looking for one of the least expensive and most popular aerator tools, consider getting lawn aerator shoes with strong metal buckles like Punchau shoes .
- Handheld aerators come in a variety of configurations but most somewhat resemble a pitchfork. Most are spike aerators, but there are versions that remove plugs. Using a handheld aerator is simple but tiring: Stab the spikes deeply into the grass, pull out, and repeat, taking care to cover the entire lawn. If you have a smaller yard with tiny patches of grass, consider investing in a aerator with a foot bar for extra leverage like the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator, .
- Manual drum aeratorssometimes called lawn spikersare a spike- or blade-covered heavy drum with a long handle. To use, push a drum aerator like the Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator, across your lawn, making at least two complete circuits in different directions. Most manual drum aerators are spike lawn tools, but some are plug aerators.
What Causes Ground Compaction
Soil becomes compact when too much pressure is applied and suddenly all the air squeezes out. This can happen in many situations, including chronic overuse, such as when pets or people walk across a lawn frequently, to the point that theres a bald path formed. Driving heavy equipment over the wet ground can also compact the earth, as can simply parking a car on wet soil.
You can check for soil compaction by attempting to insert a sod knife into the ground when its moist. If the knife will go down with just the force of your thumb, your soil is fine. If it wont, and the soil is properly moist, then you definitely need to rent an aerator or hire a landscaping contractor.
Compare Quotes From Top-rated Landscaping Contractors
Free, No-commitment Estimates
Read Also: What To Wear When Mowing The Lawn
How To Dethatch Your Lawn
How To Get Started And Aerate Your Lawn
It was early morning one fall when I began to aerate my lawn for the first time. The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, and the dew was still fresh on the grass. I worked methodically, moving the aerator back and forth across the lawn. Then, as I worked, I thought about how important it is to aerate the lawn. It allows the roots to breathe and helps the lawn to stay healthy. Suddenly, a spur of the moment decision prompted me to begin aerating the lawn next door as well. I was almost finished when I was interrupted by a noise behind me.
I turned to see my neighbor, Mr. Johnson, walking towards me. Good morning, he said.
I see youre aerating our lawns. Its a good thing to do.
Yes, it is, I replied. Its important to keep the lawn healthy.
I used to do it myself, Mr. Johnson said, but my arthritis doesnt allow me to do it anymore. Thank you for helping me with it.
Its no problem, I said. Im happy to help.
After that, we chatted for a few more minutes before Mr. Johnson went back inside his house. Then, I finished aerating the lawn and then took a few minutes to take in the results of my work, feeling good about helping my neighbor.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Get Rid Of Dandelions In My Lawn
Do You Want To Make Quick Work Of Your Soil
Regular, simple lawn maintenance tasks help when you’re trying to create a healthier, thicker lawn. Jobs that are typically done annually can play help support other monthly lawn maintenance tasks.
For many people, aerating lawns to improve grass growth and alleviate soil compaction is a regular task done annually. Every lawn or garden can benefit from having aeration done, especially when its done properly and timed well.
But when it the best time to aerate lawn? In this article, we’re going to talk about why and when you should aerate your lawn.
The Best Time To Aerate And Overseed
Even the best lawns face challenges, and one of the best ways to combat them or avoid them entirely is to keep your grass strong and healthy. To many people, that simply means regular mowing and watering, pulling weeds, and applying fertilizers.
Yes, those are important things, but theyre not enough. Missing from that formula is overseeding and aeration as regularly planned treatments. Together, they refresh your turf and create the conditions that support new growth that supports healthy areas and replenishes weak ones.
Lets try to make sense out of all that so you understand why these actions are important. Well look at what they are, what benefits they provide, what the drawbacks of not performing them are, and when the best time to do them is.
Also Check: How To Turn My Lawn Green
Why You Should Aerate
Aeration is the antidote to the heavily compacted soil, which may be present on a lawn that gets very heavy foot traffic, or which is planted on a soil base that is heavy in clay content. It rarely is necessary where soils are on the sandy side. Core aeration is sometimes advertised as a solution to problems with thatch however, it does not do much to relieve that problem if thatch is already present. Where thatch is a genuine problem, a true dethatching operation is a better solution. However, dethatching is a fairly violent action to a lawn, and an annual core aeration may well prevent thatch problems in the first place.
If you have the type of soil and conditions that require lawn aeration, you can do it once each year. It does not hurt your lawn, and in fact, will make it healthier and more attractive. Some people dislike the look of the small plugs of soil and turf that are pulled up and scattered over the lawn, and if so, you can rake them up. Left on the lawn, though, they will quickly break up and decompose.
Simple Lawn Solutions Liquid Aerating Soil Loosener
Can be used for clay or sandy soil
Aids in mechanical or manual aeration
Does not penetrate soil as deeply as mechanical or manual aeration
Large aerators arent practical if you have a small lawn or strip of grass that needs help. Fortunately, you can still loosen the soil by using a liquid aerator like Simple Lawn Solutions. The proprietary mixture of surfactants and other ingredients breaks apart soil colloids to improve water and nutrient absorption.
The product mixes with water and is used at a rate of one ounce per 1,000-square-feet of grass. This soil loosener works well before seeding a lawn or manual aeration to make the task easier.
Price at time of publish: $35
Aeration Method: Liquid | Type: Not applicable | Spike Length: Not applicable | Width: Not applicable | Power Source: Not applicable | Dimensions: 5 x 2.25 x 8 inches | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size: Not applicable
Less expensive than larger models
Small storage footprint
Requires physical effort
Covers only a small area at a time
You can still aerate the lawn with the Agri-Fab push aerator if you don’t have a lawn tractor. This push aerator is outfitted with spikes and works best on small lawns with loamy soils. You can also pull this aerator. Just 16-inches wide, it can accommodate one concrete block to help push the five spiked discs into the ground to a depth of 2.5-inches. It is 38-inches high, weighs about 27 pounds, and has a small footprint for storage.
Don’t Miss: When Should I Apply Fertilizer To My Lawn
Best Time To Aerate And Overseed Your Lawn
Theres nothing better than a lush lawn that lets you spend time with your family in the back yard, laughing and having fun. But, to keep grass healthy, techniques such as overseeding and aeration are important. This leads us to the question, when is the best time to aerate and overseed your lawn?
Why Spring Is Not The Best Time To Overseed And Aerate
People often want to know when the best time to overseed is, and they often assume its the spring.
On the surface, that makes plenty of sense. Spring has always been a symbol of renewal because its a time that dormant growth revives and new growth flourishes.
Its certainly true that spring is a good time for grass to grow. Warm weather is returning, and several months of growing time lie ahead. There are some challenges though, and they can quickly lay waste to your time, effort, and money.
Early spring is a great time for new grass because of the factors we just mentioned, but those same factors are also conditions that favor weed growth. If you overseed in spots that are already thick and strong, this is less of a problem, but weak areas left from winter or the previous fall are at risk. When weeds overtake a struggling spot thats just been overseeded, they then have the potential to spread to other areas, causing even more unsightliness and more damage.
For some people, the solution to this is to use a pre-emergent herbicide treatment to prevent new weed growth from appearing, but the problem with that is pretty apparent: theres a good chance youre going to also kill the new growth that you want, and then you have to start all over again.
That something is summer.
You May Like: How Do I Completely Redo My Lawn