Is your lawn looking thin and brown, and you’re unsure what to do? Do you envy your neighbor’s lush green yard? Don’t fret. You, too, can have the perfect yard for BBQs and yard games by aerating your lawn! Aerating your lawn can help liven up your dull yard to grow your grass back healthier and thicker. Curious if aerating is suitable for your lawn? Keep reading. We break down everything you need to know about aerating your yard, below.
What Does Aerating a Lawn Do?
Over time, the soil of your lawn can become compressed. This can happen for all sorts of reasons—maybe there’s a bunch of foot traffic or the lawn is made of mostly clay soil. But whatever the reason, this compacted soil has produced a layer of “thatch” between the grass and the rich, loose soil underneath. This thatch blocks the grass from growing deeper into the ground – blocking all those nutrients in the rich soil from reaching the roots of the grass.
Aeration is the process of digging small, cylindrical holes into the ground to break up this thatch and allow the roots of the grass to grow deeper. This helps oxygenate the soil while also spreading nutrients around your lawn to help your grass grow back fuller and healthier.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
The best time to aerate your lawn is when it can bounce back from aeration quickly when the grass is at its peak growing season. If you have warm-season grass, this will be in early summer. If your lawn is made up of cool-season grasses, the best time to aerate it will be in early spring or fall.
After you choose the best time to aerate your lawn, you might want to consider some other home maintenance tips that you could knock out at the same time. We break down a few simple tasks that you can do to keep your home looking great for your family at any season.
How to Aerate Your Lawn?
Alright, now that we’ve broken down how aerating can help save your lawn and when you should consider aerating your lawn. It’s time to get into the specific steps to lawn aeration.
- Rent an Aerator
- Mark Lawn Objects with Irrigation Flags
- Aerator the Lawn in Two Directions
- Fertilize the Lawn
Rent an Aerator
Luckily, this sure-fire way to improve the health of your lawn isn’t too complicated. The first step is to rent an aerator from your local hardware store. There are a couple of different types of aerators, but for most smaller lawns, a core aerator is the way to go.
Core aerators use 2- to 3-inch cores to plug and pull soil every few inches. The soil that is removed via these plugs is then distributed over the lawn. Core aerators are especially useful if your yard is heavily compacted as it is an efficient method for loosening soil and breaking through any thatch.
Spike aerators and liquid aerators are two other standard methods for aerating lawns. Spike aerators create holes in lawns by pushing soil into the ground and are best for properties that aren’t compacted (as it can make compaction worse). Liquid aeration relies on chemicals to create microscopic pores in the soil to help your grass absorb water and nutrients.
Mark Lawn Objects with Irrigation Flags
Your lawn probably has a few objects underneath it, like old tree stumps or irrigation heads. These are spots that you don’t want to run over with the aerator. So, be sure to mark these areas with irrigation flags and avoid any mishaps.
Most aeration methods only dig 2- to 3- inches into the ground, meaning any buried pipes or gas lines should be far enough below the aerator not to be damaged. That said, if you’re dealing with rocky soil or you’re unsure of the location of your water/gas lines, you may want to talk to city officials.
Aerate the Lawn in Two Directions
With the lawn marked and the equipment rented, it’s time to start aerating!
You’ll want to push the aerator across the lawn, covering it entirely in one direction. Then, do the same perpendicular to the initial direction. This pattern will ensure that your lawn is fully aerated.
If you’re using a core aerator, this process will also leave plugs of soil dotted across your lawn, but don’t worry; these can be safely left on the lawn to decompose in about a week or so.
Fertilize the Lawn
After aeration, the lawn is primed for a healthy dose of fertilizer and grass seed. Be sure to spread the fertilizer and grass seed evenly across the lawn, so that it can soak up all those nutrients and grow back stronger than ever.
How Often Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
For most healthy growing lawns composed of average or sandy soil, you should plan on aerating every 2 or 3 years. But there are situations when you should aerate more often. For example, if you have poor soil that lacks nutrients, if it’s clay-heavy, or if it’s been compacted. In these cases, consider aerating your lawn once a year.
The best way to judge how often you need to aerate your soil is just by checking how healthy it is. If your grass is thin, splotchy, and browning, it’s probably time to aerate your lawn.
Can I Aerate My Lawn Too Much?
Yes! If your lawn is healthy and your soil is nutrient-rich and not compacted, there’s no need to aerate your lawn. In fact, doing so can harm your lawn and damage the soil since it won’t be able to soak up water and nutrients.
How to Aerate Your Lawn by Hand?
While you can aerate your lawn by hand, we don’t necessarily recommend it, as it is much more labor-intensive than using a core aerator. However, there are a few different tools to aerate your lawn by hand, such as a manual spike aerator or manual core aerator.
Does Liquid Lawn Aeration Work?
While it would be nice just to be able to pour these liquid aerators on our lawns—and skip all the manual work of aeration–it doesn’t seem like liquid lawn aerators are as effective as core or spike aerators. *
Is Lawn Aeration Necessary?
Yes, aeration is necessary to maintain a healthy and beautiful lawn. It helps ensure that your grass can get all the nutrients and water it needs to thrive.
Keep Your Lawn and Home Looking Beautiful All Year Long
At CPI, we’re more than just home security experts. We’re here to help you keep your home safe, secure, and comfortable. For more recommendations on keeping your lawn and home looking fresh all year long, check out our other home maintenance tips.
*Gecko Green, “Does Liquid Lawn Aeration Work?”