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When’s The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn

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What Are The Benefits Of Overseeding

Spring or Fall Aeration? Which is Best?

Many gardeners ignore overseeding because they don’t understand the major benefits of the procedure. That’s why it’s essential to state the reasons for the importance of this preventative action, so you can understand why it’s so advantageous for your garden.

As time passes, the condition and the quality of your grass will deteriorate. Symptoms such as dry or barren patchy areas, the increasing prevalence of weeds, or your lawn generally looking wilted and weak are all too common for gardeners who do not undertake any maintenance outside of mowing.

When the grass finally falls into this state of disrepair, many gardeners react by spraying fertilizer, increasing watering frequency, and taking manual action to pull out those irritating weeds. But the truth of the matter is that this hassle can be avoided by merely overseeding the lawn.

But as with many elements of tending to your garden, timing is everything. So when is the best time to aerate and overseed a lawn?

Pros And Cons Of Using A Lawn Aeration Service

There are a few pros to calling in professional lawn aeration services, one of which is that you don’t have to lift a finger as they do all of the work for you. If you are an extremely busy individual who can’t even spare 30 minutes, then this may be an option that suits you.

Another benefit is that when you mechanically aerate grass, it literally pulls up plugs of soil. What this means in terms of your overseeding is that some of the seeds could potentially nestle in those holes left behind by the machine, helping to the seed to develop deep roots quickly. However, that’s where the advantages end.

The most apparent issue with hiring a mechanical aeration contractor is cost. Depending on the size of the area to be aerated, you could be looking at hundreds or potentially thousands of dollars for the service. Next, you’ll face a lawn with thousands of unsightly plugs left behind the mechanical aerator. While they will disappear, it can take well in excess of a week for that to happen.

It also takes a great deal of time. No matter how good a machine is, an operator will have to make several passes at each strip of grass to make sure there are enough holes to have the desired effect on the soil. Not only does this increase the number of those soil plugs mentioned above, but it also takes several hours to cover larger lawn areas adequately.

What Is The Best Time To Aerate A Lawn

Late summer and fall is the optimum season. Why fall? Blame it on summer. Thats when many lawns become compacted from heightened activity, foot traffic and dry weather. Fall aeration alleviates the compaction, preparing the soil to grow healthy grass the following spring.

Spring aeration is an alternative, but if you aerate in the spring, you could unearth weed seeds and cause unnecessary weed growth. And if youre applying a crabgrass preventer in spring, punching holes in your lawn after treating with a pre-emergent herbicide can compromise the chemical barrier it creates to prevent crabgrass and other weeds.

The absolute worst time to aerate is during hot, dry weather, which could quickly dry out the grass, causing undue stress to your lawn.

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Why Is Fall The Best Time For Core Aerating And Seeding Your Lawn

Aeration and overseeding are two practices that help to keep your lawn looking great for years to come. Its like a day at the spa for a lawn, providing it with everything it needs to grow well and bringing old roots to life again.

As important as it is, there is generally some confusion about aeration, particularly about when the best time to aerate and seed your lawn is. Fall is the best time here in Massachusetts, and this article will explain why that is.

Should You Aerate Your Lawn


While it may sound like lawn aeration is for every home, the truth is that some lawns dont require it. Here are three key factors that help us determine whether a lawn will benefit from an aeration procedure:

  • Does the lawn dry out easily and have a spongy feel? This could be due to excessive thatch. If we find that your thatch layer is bigger than ½-inch, well recommend aeration.
  • Is the lawn a popular hangout for kids and pets? The more feet a lawn is exposed to, the more compact the soil becomes.
  • Did you just move into a newly-constructed home? Often times the topsoil of a newly-constructed lawn is subpar, and the grass is more often than not compacted due to construction traffic.

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Time To Aerate Your Lawn Spring Or Fall

The best time to aerate your lawn is when the grass germination period is about to start. It can be any spring or fall. So, the ideal time to aerate warm-season grasses is summer or early spring. On the other hand, you can aerate cool-season grasses both in spring or fall. However, among both fall season is the best for aeration due to the following reasons:

1. Spring season favors the germination of the weeds. So, you can aerate lawn in spring if youve planned to use any pre-emergent fertilizer.

2. If you aerate your lawn in the fall, itll loosen the soil before winter. And will result in strong root development.

3. Fall is the best time to seed a lawn. If you do the aeration, before seeding, the seed would have direct contact with the soil. And as a result, maximum germination will occur.

Spike Aerators For Your Lawn

Spike aerators put holes into the soil with an actual spike.

Some people use special aeration shoes that have spikes on the bottom to aerate their lawns. While cheap, these arent the best tool for the job. If possible, it is better to use actual spike aeration machinery.

Others just use a pitchfork or manure fork to push some holes into the ground. This can be a quick and easy way to aerate a section of your lawn that is particularly high-traffic. I will sometimes do this on areas near my front walkway where kids and visitors frequently take a shortcut across my lawn.

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What Is Lawn Aeration

Lawn aeration requires punching holes in your lawns surface, reducing surface compaction and allowing air to permeate the ground. These holes also create a path for water and fertilizer to easily reach the root zone beneath the turf, helping ensure a thick lawn.

There are different ways to aerate your lawn. A small lawn can be handled with a manual core aerator. This can be tedious, and you should wear thick-soled work boots to protect your feet from repetitively stepping on a metal bar.

The most effective way to aerate a lawn of any real size involves a machine with hollow coring tines. This type of aerator punches holes and removes soil cores from the ground.

Spike aerators and those with slicing knife blades, such as the Craftsman Tow Spike Aerator, are less effective. Many lawn owners like them because they dont bring soil to the surface, which can cause a mess. However, these non-coring aerators are not as efficient at opening up the soil for nutrients and water to enter.

Dont bother with aerator spikes you attach to shoes and wear around the yard. They dont penetrate the ground enough to make a difference.

How Often Should You Aerate Your Lawn

When is the best time to Aerate and Overseed your lawn?

For healthy lawns, aeration should be done once a year. If soil compaction and thatch buildup occur frequently on your lawn, it is best to aerate it twice a year.

Some home-owners recommend aerating lawns on an as-needed basis. For instance, if you notice signs such as thinning of grass or worn areas, or puddles, it is time to aerate your lawn.

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Water And Fertilize After Overseeding

Even if you manage to overseed at precisely the right soil temperature, new seeds still need help to get the best germination. Once you have scattered your seeds, you need to water the areas generously at least three to four times in the following seven days.

Once the seeds have begun to germinate and show their first sign of growth, it’s then a good idea to apply fertilizer to further their progress. Finally, once your lawn or specific overseeded areas hit around two and a half inches of growth, mow the entire lawn to promote further growth.

You Aerate And Overseed During Dry Conditions

Aerating is easy on your turf, and you, when your soil is slightly moist. Overly dry and compact soil is harder to penetrate and requires more manual effort to push the machinery. Especially during times of drought when you grass is already stressed, its best to wait until the day after a good rainfall before aerating.

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How & Why To Aerate Your Lawn This Fall For A Better Yard Next Year

When it comes to fall lawn chores that can help propel lawns to healthier, lush growth next year, its hard to beat aerating!

Aerating is one of the most over-looked tasks when it comes to overall lawn care. And yet, it helps solve so many of the problems and issues that plague lawns every year.

Why Aereate

Aerating is the process of puncturing the soil below to create open pockets. Why is that so important? It is through these pockets that air, water, and nutrients find their way to feed the roots of grass.

Over time, the soil of lawns compact from foot traffic, mowers, and other general use. And as this compaction occurs, it keeps all of the valuable life giving minerals and nutrients from getting through to the roots.

Rains simply wash away, as do any type of fertilizing, seeding or watering efforts. But by opening up the soil, your lawn can once again breathe and come alive!

How & When To Aerate

The best time to aerate a lawn is in the fall or early spring. These are both periods where the lawn is softer, and not in full-growth mode.

Late fall or early spring are the best times to aerate. These dormant periods give time for the lawn to recover and thrive.

Not only does it make it easier to perform, these more dormant periods are great for allowing the lawn time to recover from the process.

Attempting to aerate in the summer months can make it hard for the tines to break through the thicker lawn growth. And wintertime of course poses the obvious issues of frozen ground.

Which Method Should You Choose

Aerators which remove plugs of soil are the most effective, according to most lawn care and turf experts.

This is definitely what I have found.

That said, the efficacy really depends on your lots type of soil. Also, consider the size of the lot youre going to be aerating when choosing a tool and method for lawn aeration.

Poking methods can be less effective due to causing additional compaction around where you place the holes.

I recommend that you use an aeration tool that pulls soil plugs at least 2-3 inches deep. These should also be no larger than 1 inch in diameter and no farther than 4 inches apart for best results.

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When Is The Best Time Of Year To Aerate

While aerating a lawn can deliver significant benefits, timing is just as important as doing it. Although you will find companies that offer aeration services year-round, Chorbie takes a more conservative approach, designed to both protect and enhance your lawn. We only aerate lawns when air and ground temperatures are within a specific range, typically in the spring and fall months. The reasons for this timing include:

  • Temperature ranges that are neither too hot nor too cold reduce stress on the grass root system. Exposing the root system to extremes in temperatures can cause damage, forcing grass to concentrate on recovery instead of growth.
  • Aerating during the winter when most people are not watering can cause the soil under the grass to dry out. This principle also applies during the heat of the summer, causing drought stress as water evaporates before the grass has a chance to absorb it.

Best Ways To Aerate Your Lawn

If you have decided that you are going to aerate your lawn, its important to do it properly.

First make sure that the soil has enough water. It will be very difficult to aerate soil that is dry. Either try to aerate right after it has rained, or water your lawn the day before you begin.

There are plenty of aeration machines that only cover a small part of your lawn are once, so try to make multiple passes over the same area, and move the machine in different directions .

If there are areas that do not need to be aerated, there is no reason to do so. Save your energy for the areas which need it the most.

In order to keep a cohesive lawn, you will want to allow any soil plugs that have been excavated, to dry and then break them up. You can break them up by running over the lawn and plugs with a lawn mower, but I use the back of a leaf rake once theyre dry.

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You Fight Weeds Too Early

Weed control can work wonders keeping invasive growth at bay on a healthy turf, but chemicals and herbicides can harm seedings roots and fresh blades. Even organic and natural solutions can cause stress on the young plants, so its often best to wait until your grass is strong before laying down any weed control substances. We advise waiting until youve mowed your new grass four to five times before tackling any emerging weeds.

Best Time To Aerate And Overseed Your Lawn

When To Aerate Your Lawn In The Spring | The Best Time: Early vs Late

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?

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When To Aerate Your Lawn

You want to aerate the lawn when your grass is in its peak growing period so it can recover quicklythink early spring or fall for cool-season grasses, and late spring through early summer for warm-season grasses. If you have high-traffic areas or heavy clay soil, you will want to aerate every year. If you have sandy soil or your lawn is growing well, aerating the lawn can happen every 2-3 years.

Is There A Bad Time To Aerate Your Lawn

The golden rule is never to aerate a dormant lawn. If your grass isnt growing, dont aerate it.

Avoid aerating when your lawn is very wet as the lawn can become quite torn or smeared with mud. This wont damage your lawn but will make it look poor purely from a cosmetic point of view.

If you have a powered slitter, avoid using it during the drier, warmer months as the slits can open quite wide. Again, this is purely a cosmetic issue and wont cause any long term problems with the lawn.

If you are using a hollow tine aerator, avoid using this during early spring as it could cause too much water drainage if the weather turns particularly dry. Wait until the grass is actively growing.

Another reason to avoid performing this form of aeration during the early spring is due to the increased risk of spreading weeds. The plugs/cores created by the aerator might expose weed seeds to the top-soil layer at the time of year that weeds are actively growing. Ideally wait until late summer or early autumn. If you do need to perform core aerate the lawn in spring, pickup all of the cores immediately after aeration.

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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 To Know If Your Lawn Needs Aeration

    Aeration isnt necessary for everyone, but you should probably aerate your lawn for a few of the following reasons.

    • If your lawn is used often, and youd describe it as high traffic .
    • Another reason to aerate is if you recently put in your lawn. Often new lawns have a lot of pressure put on them, so its important to loosen the soil, get air to the roots, over-seed, and top-dress your lawn with organic compost. This will help your lawn get established and prevent weed growth.
    • If your lawn seems to dry out or has a bouncy feel. This is another reason to aerate and it could mean you have a thatch problem. One way to check this is to remove part of the lawn with a shovel and dig four inches down. If your thatch layer is deeper than ½ an inch aeration is a good idea.
    • Finally an important reason to aerate, is if you personally established your lawn by sod. Lawns that were grown from sod means there is soil layering. When there is a thinner soil over your other soil, this can create a drainage problem, and can stunt root development. Aerating and over-seeding your lawn will help correct this and improve your yard.

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