One of the most common questions I get asked in my landscaping business is when and how to aerate your turf. People want to know the exact optimal times to carry out aeration.
Some people think June is too late, while others think March is too early. Many think Autumn is better than spring.
I say, after forty plus years in turf maintenance, that there are very few times throughout the year that are bad times to aerate.
There are some conditions that are certainly best avoided. These would include waterlogged ground, frosted ground, and also the other extreme, drought. In most areas that turf is grown, it is suitable for carrying out aeration over a large part of the year.
What to Use to Aerate Your Lawn?
There are many types and makes of aeration tools and machines available. Hand tools would include the common garden fork, and a three to five pronged paul fork. Find examples here. There are even spiked shoes which can be very useful. Find here. Also pushed roller spikers. Find here.
Powered aeration is certainly the best option for anything other than a small domestic lawn. All forms of aeration are good, but to me the main benefits come from spiking with knife tines, and scarifying. Depending on the budget there is a big range available, and remember you can hire as well. See aeration machines here. For professional use here.
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.
I think it depends a lot on the lawn. Newly established lawns should be aerated twice a year. Hard or clay-like soils should be aerated as often as once per month every year to prevent/relieve 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 leads to thicker and healthier turf. This type of turf attracts more organic material, along with all the beneficial bacteria and fungi that are essential to a healthy turf.
A healthy root zone also makes your lawn more resistant to high temperatures, so you can save on water bills by not having to water it as often. A healthy lawn also requires less fertiliser, again saving substantially on the budget.
There are many articles elsewhere on this site that will help you to produce a lawn that will be suitable for your requirements.