Many regions in Texas have clay or sandy soil, both highly susceptible to compaction. Aeration helps break down the soil and allows water, oxygen, and nutrients to penetrate. This promotes a thicker, healthier, and lusher lawn and strengthens the root system of the grass.
Generally, aerating your lawn in Texas depends on the type of grass and soil you have. Warm-season grasses, which cover most of Texas lawns, are best aerated in late spring to early summer. For the cool-season grasses, aerating in the fall is recommended.
Lawns with clay soil should be aerated twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), while those with sandy soil should be aerated once a year (either in the spring or fall).
Lawns in Texas can be aerated either in the spring or fall. As mentioned above, the time you aerate largely depends on the type of soil and grass your lawn has.
Let’s take a deeper look at the best time to aerate your lawn and why.
The best time to aerate warm-season grass is late spring through early summer. This is because warm-season grasses enter their prime growing period in the summer, and the rapid growth ensures that grass quickly fills the holes created during aeration.
Examples of warm-season grasses include:
- Bermuda grass
- Buffalo grass
- Centipede grass
- Zoysia grass
- St. Augustine grass
- Bahia grass
Cool-season grass grows best in cooler temperatures, which is why you should aerate and overseed in the fall when the grass is in its peak growing season. The rapid growth of the grass helps the lawn make a speedy recovery.
Examples of warm-season grasses include:
- Fescue grass
- Texas Bluegrass
- Perennial ryegrass
Most Texas lawns have clay or sandy soil types that are highly prone to compaction. The compaction robs the soil of nutrients, water, and air, all essential for a healthy lawn. Aerating your lawn loosens the non-porous soil, allowing the lawn to get enough air and nutrients.
Clay soil tends to compact more than most soil types. If your lawn has clay soil, it is best to aerate it twice a year for a healthy lawn.
Sandy soil also compacts easily, but not as much as clay soil. Lawns with sandy soil should be aerated at least once a year.
When to aerate a lawn in Texas by region
Texas is the second-largest state in the United States, so it makes sense that different regions will have different climates and soil types. The best time to aerate your lawn in Texas will, therefore, depend on your location, soil type, and grass type.
Here is a quick guide to help you know when you should aerate your lawn, depending on the region in which you live.
Houston and Southeast Texas
Lawns in Houston and southeast Texas should be aerated twice a year, either in the spring or fall. For best results, aeration should be done in April/May, and in October.
The prevalent soil type in this region is clay, which is prone to compaction. And since most lawns have Bermuda or St. Augustine grasses, which are nutrient-greedy, the soil compaction prevents nutrients, water, and air from reaching the soil.
Aerating your lawn twice a year ensures that the soil receives the maximum amount of nutrients for a healthy lawn all year.
Dallas and North Texas
The best time to aerate lawns in Dallas and North Texas is in the fall, as the cooler temperatures prevent the soil from drying up after aeration. The Dallas and North Texas regions have cooler temperatures than most of Texas, so the ground will not be as dry. Besides, your lawn will have a better chance of fighting a weed invasion than when the aeration is done in the spring.
However, aerating your lawn in the spring is also highly effective since most lawns in North Texas have warm-season grasses.
That being said, lawns in these regions can be aerated in spring (April/May) or fall (late September through October).
Austin and San Antonio
If you live in Austin, San Antonio, Central Texas, or Waco, aerating your lawn in the spring will yield the best results. These regions grow warm-season grasses like Bermuda, Buffalo, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grass, which is why spring aeration is best.
Breaking up the soil and thatch in the spring allows the grass roots to grow faster and deeper throughout the summer. It is recommended to aerate your lawn in April before the ground becomes too dry due to the summer temperatures.
Lawns in West Texas can be aerated either in the spring or fall, depending on the type of grass you have. Most Texas lawns have warm-season grasses that should be aerated in the spring for optimal results. However, since West Texas experiences cooler nighttime lows in the fall, some homeowners may prefer seeding their lawns with tall fescue grass that responds best to fall aeration.
For warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, Buffalo, and Zoysia, aerate in March or April. On the other hand, cool-season grasses such as tall fescue, Bentgrass, and Wheatgrass should be aerated in late September/October for the best results.
How to aerate your lawn
If you are sure that your lawn needs aeration, here is how you can get excellent results.
- Mow your lawn: It is important to mow your lawn before aerating it to make the process successful and avoid damaging your lawn mower.
- Flag obstacles: Be sure to mark objects such as sprinkler heads, septic lines, cables, etc., to make the aeration process easier and faster. Lawn care professionals will not compensate for damage to any unmarked objects during aeration.
- Rent an aerator: You only need to aerate your lawn once or twice a year, so it makes financial sense to hire an aerator rather than buy it. You can rent the aerator at your local rental center or home improvement store.
- Prep your lawn: Make sure the soil is moist before aeration, as aeration can be challenging on dry ground. Water your lawn the day before aeration, but do not make the soil too muddy, as this may make the aeration process difficult.
- Aerate: Using your lawn aerator, poke holes into the moist ground and pull the soil plugs (cores) out to let air and moisture in. The soil cores should have a depth of at least 2 to 3 inches. To ensure the aeration process is successful, make several passes across your lawn to perforate the soil. Leave the soil plugs in the yard; they will break down on their own and add beneficial nutrients to the ground.
What to do after lawn aeration in Texas
After aeration, there are several things you can do to boost the growth of your grassroots and improve the overall health of your lawn.
- Leave the soil cores on the lawn. The plugs will decompose on their own after a week or two, and the soil will filter back into the holes left after aeration. The plugs also add nutrients to the soil.
- Apply fertilizer to add nutrients to the soil and boost the growth of the grassroots. Also, water your lawn every 2–3 days after aeration to help the roots grow deeper and stronger. This ensures your lawn is healthy and better able to combat weed invasion.
- Reseed or overseed your lawn to cover up patchy areas and make the lawn thicker and fuller. Reseeding is recommended immediately after aeration as the soil plugs and holes created will cover the grass seeds, and the non-compacted soil promotes faster germination.
Should you hire a pro to aerate your lawn?
If you are a lawn enthusiast and love getting your hands dirty, you may prefer DIY aeration. However, the process may be more involving than you thought. Also, you will need to rent an aerator for $50 to $210 per day, plus a deposit of $150, not including the transportation cost.
This is quite costly, considering professional aeration costs about $75 to $210, with an average of $145. Oftentimes, the rental equipment may be clunky due to being overused, and it may cost you even more money for repairs in case it breaks down.
More so, the equipment may be heavier than you imagined, making your work more frustrating—imagine yourself doing a full pass on your lawn using equipment you can barely lift!
That being said, it is best to hire a lawn care professional to do the job for you. You will get professional results and not have to go through all the problems above. More so, you can spend your time doing more important things.
Aeration and lawn care tips for your Texas lawn
Now that you know when and how to aerate a lawn in Texas, here are some tips to ensure a healthy lawn after the aeration process.
- Avoid mowing your lawn during hot conditions, as the soil might dry out, and the lawn may not recover from the stress.
- Avoid aerating newer lawns. It is recommended to aerate a new lawn after one year when the grassroots are strong enough to sustain and recover from the stress.
- Overseed your lawn to cover up patchy or thinning grass.
- Refrain from mowing your lawn after aeration, as the lawn mower may cover the holes or disrupt the newly planted grass seeds.