A beautiful, lush green lawn does wonders for your home’s curb appeal, but growing a flawless lawn isn’t always easy. The weather is out of your control, after all, so you’ll need to take steps to counteract the effects of extreme temperatures and damaging pests.
Beyond maintaining a regular watering schedule and staying ahead of insects and lawn diseases, you’ll need to keep your lawn aerated. Regular aeration keep grass healthy and disease-free, which means that your yard will likely be the envy of the neighborhood.
Whether you’re interested in trying your hand at aerating your own lawn or you’re gathering information before contacting a Best Pick lawn maintenance company, you’ve come to the right place.
Aeration, a common part of spring lawn maintenance, is the process of exposing your soil to the air by removing plugs of soil from the turf.
The resulting hollows allow water and nutrients to move through the soil, increasing the quality and health of grass over time and resulting in stronger roots. Healthier roots can withstand the hotter temperatures and droughts that often accompany summer weather.
Benefits of Lawn Aeration
Aeration is particularly useful for lawns that undergo a lot of foot traffic; the more a lawn is used, the more compacted the soil becomes, which significantly reduces the spaces in the soil that would typically hold air.
Due to the decreased flow of air within the soil, compaction can negatively affect root growth. Roots need oxygen from the air to grow and absorb water and nutrients.
Aeration improves your lawn by:
- Increasing oxygen, water, and nutrient movement through the soil
- Creating stronger roots
- Allowing better absorption of rainfall and irrigation
- Developing a topsoil layer underneath the grass
- Preventing fertilizer and pesticide runoff
- Inhibiting thatch accumulation
Does My Lawn Need Aeration?
Aerating isn’t necessarily needed for every lawn. If you’re unsure about whether you need to aerate, remove a six-inch-deep section of your lawn. If the grass roots only extend one to two inches into the soil, it may be too compacted, and it could significantly benefit from aeration.
Additional signs of needing aeration are:
- Your lawn regularly receives heavy use
- The thatch on your lawn is greater than one-half inch
- You have a dense, clay soil
If your lawn is not prone to soil compaction, then it will likely grow normally without the aid of aeration. Natural factors such as earthworm activity and winter freeze-thaw cycles often loosen compacted soil. Do not aerate your lawn during the first year your lawn is newly seeded or sodded.
When Should I Aerate My Lawn?
Most lawns should be aerated once or twice a year, depending on the soil, grass type, and amount of use. A lawn experiencing heavy traffic should be aerated twice a year, while a well-established lawn with little traffic can be aerated once a year.
If you have cool-season grass:
- Aerate in the spring (April) before applying pesticides or in the fall (September) before overseeding.
- Not sure if you have cool-season grass? If your lawn is made up of Kentucky bluegrass or fescue, you do.
If you have warm-season grass:
- Aerate in the summer—late May through July—when the grass is growing.
- You have warm-season grass if your lawn is made up of Bermuda or zoysia.
How to Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration is hard work, and it gets exponentially more difficult the larger your yard is. Your best bet is to hire a Best Pick lawn maintenance company—they’ll make sure your lawn is aerated correctly, and they’ll take the necessary steps to ensure that your grass stays healthy year-round.
A lawn care professional will be able to best help your lawn by analyzing your soil type, grass health, and the best aeration time for your lawn. Lawn care professionals will also have a range of machines with different-sized tines and weights for the best amount of penetration for your soil.