Lawn aeration improves growing conditions resulting in a healthy, vigorous lawn. It is the best way to cultivate and improve the soil without harming your lawn.
The best time for this chore is when your grass is actively growing.
This is in the fall or early spring for cool-season grasses, however fall is the preferred time to core aerate if you do it only once.
Early summer is when warm-season grasses start to grow and is the best time to aerate southern lawns.
What is Lawn Aeration?
Supplying the soil with air or exposing it to the circulation of air. Healthy soils need to “breathe”. The process of aerating a lawn is accomplished by removing small soil plugs (or cores) with a machine. Coring improves the soil (or cultivates the soil) without destroying your yard.
How Aerating Improves Lawns
- Reduces soil compaction
- Breaks down thatch
- Helps air, water and nutrients get into the root zone
- Increases/stimulates grass root growth
- Opens up the soil so amendments can be added
Tip: aerating before overseeding will yield great results. The grass seeds find their way into the holes where they find very favorable conditions and germinate quickly. The seeds are protected, stay moist and make good contact with the soil. In a week, you will see grass seedlings growing in all the holes!
QUESTION: Why is coring – or removing plugs – better than spiking? The holes made by spikes close up quickly while the holes from coring last a long time. in some of the southern states that get a lot of sunshine, like Texas and Arizona, lawns and their roots need to breathe, so core aeration is your best bet for a healthy lawn.
How to Aerate Your Lawn
- You can rent a lawn aerator at most equipment rental shops.
- Water your lawn the night before to ensure good soil moisture. You will want the soil to be moist not wet!
- Mark all irrigation heads, valve boxes (and anything else that you don’t want to poke holes in) with flags.
- Try to run the aerator over your lawn in at least three directions. Poke a lot of holes for the best results.
- Now’s the perfect time to overseed and compost topdress.
- The plugs will disappear in a couple of weeks. Leave them on your lawn, the soil that you bring to the surface will help break down thatch.
- If you aerate in the spring and you plan on using a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer — aerate before you apply your preemergence or you will reduce its effectiveness. Remember, crabgrass preventer also works on grass seed – don’t use it if you overseed!
Video: Benefits of Core Cultivation
More Essential Lawn Care Practices:
How to choose the best lawn fertilizer. What do the numbers on the bag mean? Are organic fertilizers more eco-friendly than chemicals? Consider costs and nutrient needs. Are they pet-safe?
Lawn Mowing: Tips and techniques, the basics of lawn care. How to cut grass like a pro. Cutting grass to keep it looking groomed and healthy. DIY tips and advice for growing grass.
Use this fertilizer calculator to determine the amount of granular fertilizer product that is needed to spread on your lawn according to recommended rates.