- Lawn aeration is the process of removing small plugs of soil from the lawn to allow for better absorption of water, air, and nutrients.
- Aeration is typically done with a machine called a lawn aerator, which has hollow tines that remove the plugs of soil.
- Aeration helps to alleviate compaction by creating small holes in the soil, which allows for better absorption of water and nutrients.
Over time, your lawn can become compacted, which can lead to poor drainage and reduced growth of the grass roots.
When you aerate, you're helping alleviate compaction by creating small holes in the soil, which allows for better absorption of water and nutrients.
Aeration can also help reduce thatch build-up and promote better growth of the grass roots.
There are several different methods you can use to aerate your lawn, including:
- Mechanical aeration: This is the most common method of aeration and involves using a lawn aerator machine to remove small plugs of soil from the lawn.
- Manual aeration: This method involves using aeration shoes or spikes to manually create small holes in the soil, and to be frank, they're a complete waste of time.
- Core aeration: This method involves removing small plugs of soil from the lawn using a machine called a core aerator. See our photos below of us using one of these machines on our lawn.
- Liquid aeration: This method involves injecting an aeration solution into the lawn to help loosen compacted soil, which really only gets you half of the way there.
Lawn Aeration Overview
Lawn aeration is the process of removing small plugs of soil from the lawn to create small holes. See that picture above? Those are the plugs after I aerated my lawn.
Aerating allows air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil more easily, promoting deeper root growth.
Aeration helps the lawn to "breathe" by reducing soil compaction. Compacted soil can make it difficult for air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass.
Aeration creates small holes in the soil, which allows these essential resources to reach the roots more easily.
Aeration can also help to break up thatch, which is a layer of dead grass and other organic material that can accumulate on top of the soil and restrict root growth.
Aeration can also help to control thatch buildup, which can lead to a healthier lawn and reduce the need for other lawn care treatments.
In general, we recommend aerating your lawn at least once per year when your lawn is most actively growing; however, depending on soil condition and use of the lawn, it may be beneficial to aerate more frequently.
Different Methods Of Lawn Aeration
There are several ways you can aerate, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Here is a brief overview of the most common methods of lawn aeration:
This method uses a lawn aerator machine to create small holes in the soil. The machine typically has spikes or hollow tines that are used to remove small plugs of soil from the lawn.
Mechanical aeration is the most efficient method of aeration and can cover a large area in a short amount of time. However, it can also be costly to rent or purchase a machine.
This method uses aeration shoes or spikes that are worn on the feet. The spikes or shoes are used to create small holes in the soil by manually pushing them into the ground.
Manual aeration is a complete waste of time in my opinion. Don't bother.
This method involves removing small plugs of soil from the lawn using a specialized tool. The plugs of soil can then be left on top of the lawn to decompose, or they can be removed and disposed of.
Core aeration can be more effective than other methods at reducing soil compaction and promoting root growth, but it can also be more time-consuming and labor-intensive.
This method involves injecting an aeration solution into the soil using specialized equipment. The solution is designed to break up compacted soil and promote root growth.
The biggest problem with this method is that it doesn't actually aerate your lawn the full way. It just breaks up the soil. Not a method we recommend.
When To Aerate Your Lawn
In general, it's best to aerate your lawn during the growing season when the grass is actively growing.
For cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass, the best time for aeration is typically in the spring or fall.
Spring aeration can help to promote new growth and reduce thatch buildup. Fall aeration can help to improve water and nutrient uptake before the grass goes dormant for the winter.
For warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, zoysia, and centipede, the best time for aeration is typically in the late spring or early summer.
Aerating during the growing season can help to improve water and nutrient uptake, reduce thatch buildup and promote root growth.
In addition to timing, there are several other factors to consider when determining the appropriate time for aeration:
- Soil moisture: Aeration is more effective when the soil is moist, so it's best to avoid aerating during a drought.
- Weather: Aeration should be avoided during extreme heat or cold. It's best to aerate when the weather is mild and not too hot or too cold.
- Foot traffic: Aeration should be avoided when the lawn is heavily trafficked.
How Often To Aerate Your Lawn
How frequently you aerate your lawn depends on several factors, including the type of grass, soil conditions, and the level of foot traffic on the lawn.
In general, we recommend aerating your lawn at least once per year. However, if your lawn has heavy foot traffic or if the soil is particularly compacted, it may be beneficial to aerate more frequently.
For cool-season grasses, we recommend to aerate once per year. For warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, zoysia, and centipede, we recommend to aerate once per year or every other year.
In addition to the type of grass, there are several other factors that can influence the frequency of aeration:
- Soil type: Lawns with clay soils may require more frequent aeration than those with sandy soils.
- Thatch buildup: Lawns with heavy thatch buildup may require more frequent aeration.
- Foot traffic: Lawns with heavy foot traffic may require more frequent aeration.
- Watering: Lawns that are frequently watered may require more frequent aeration.
DIY Aeration vs Professional Aeration
DIY aeration and professional aeration both have their own pros and cons.
Pros of DIY aeration
- Cost-effective: Aerating your lawn yourself can save you money on labor costs.
- Flexible scheduling: You can aerate your lawn at a time that is convenient for you.
- Sense of accomplishment: There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from maintaining your lawn yourself.
Cons of DIY aeration
- Time-consuming: Aerating a lawn can be a labor-intensive task that takes several hours to complete.
- Physical effort: Aerating a lawn requires physical effort, which can be challenging for some people.
- Risk of damage: Without proper knowledge and equipment, you may accidentally damage your lawn.
Advantages of hiring a professional lawn care company
- Experience and expertise: Professional lawn care companies have the experience and expertise to aerate your lawn correctly and efficiently.
- Proper equipment: Professional lawn care companies have access to specialized equipment that can make the aeration process much more efficient.
- Safety: Some lawn care tasks can be dangerous if not done correctly, so it's safer to hire a professional.
- Time-saving: Professional lawn care companies can complete the task quickly and efficiently, saving you time.
- Guarantee of results: Professional lawn care companies usually provide a guarantee of results, which can give you peace of mind.
The biggest con of hiring someone else, of course, is that it's going to cost you money.
Ultimately, the choice between DIY aeration and professional aeration depends on your own schedule, budget, and physical abilities. If you have the time, equipment, and energy to aerate your lawn yourself, then DIY aeration may be a good option.
But if you want to ensure that the job is done correctly, professionally and efficiently, then hiring a professional lawn care company is the best option.