Lawn Aeration in progress - a close-up of a Lawn Aerator at work

Lawn Aeration in progress – a close-up of a Lawn Aerator at work

Guest Post by Spencer Landscaping

One of the most common questions I get asked in my landscaping business is when and how to aerate a lawn. People want to know the exact optimal date to aerate their lawn. Some people think June is too late, while others think March is too early. Many think Autumn is better than spring.

I say, after almost ten years in the landscaping business and the thousands of lawns I’ve had the pleasure of working on, that it all depends on a few significant factors.

Typically, spring and autumn are the best times to aerate because when the lawn is growing quickly. But, depending on where you live, the grass may be growing in June and not March, or perhaps March and not June. It also depends on the weather that year. These last few years have been so unseasonably cold that you could aerate through the end of June in several areas of the country, where years past, the beginning of May was getting too hot.

Lawn Aeration Conditions

The only real requirement when aerating your lawn is that the soil temperatures should remain between 50 and 75 degrees farenheight. But, exactly when you do it is determined by what you plan to do after the lawn is aerated.

Do you want to overseed and fertilize, just fertilize, just overseed, or just leave it? If you want to overseed, you want to make sure the temperatures are conducive to that activity. Also keep in mind that the warmer (toward 80 degrees F) it is, the faster the grass will come up, discouraging weeds from taking their place. In a 50 degree heat, it could take six weeks or more for the grass to come out. In 80 degrees, it will be up in a week or two.

What to Use to Aerate Your Lawn?

Just be sure that when you aerate, the best type of machine to use is a core aerator. You can get simple hand-held core aerators which aren’t too costly, or, for a step up, take a look at a rolling core aerator.

Whichever type you use, try to do the job before the ground gets too hot and too hard, or too cold and too hard.

How Often to Aerate Your Lawn?

When aerating lawns for other people I often hear the question, “how often do I need to aerate my lawn.” Knowing when to carry out your aeration is very important as doing it too soon after a previous time can damage the lawn.

Some lawn experts suggest that lawn aeration should be done once every 3 years. I think it depends a lot on the lawn. New, un-established lawns should be aerated twice a year. Hard or clay-like soils should be aerated every year to prevent soil compaction. Another reason to aerate more often is if you have not aerated in a while.

A few evenly spaced aerations can help strengthen the root system. A stronger root system can lead to thicker and healthier turf. This type of turf attracts more organic material that will benefit the soil and helps to provide a sustainable batch of organic nutrients to benefit your grass. It can also make your lawn more resistant to high temperatures and you can save on water bills by not having to water your it as often.

Having been a landscaper for the last eight years, Spencer is a reliable expert when it comes to lawn care and lawn repair. He likes to share his valuable ideas about lawn aeration and lawn thatching, and many other great ideas on having a healthy lawn.