How To Get Started and Aerate Your Lawn

It was early morning one fall when I began to aerate my lawn for the first time. The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, and the dew was still fresh on the grass. I worked methodically, moving the aerator back and forth across the lawn. Then, as I worked, I thought about how important it is to aerate the lawn. It allows the roots to breathe and helps the lawn to stay healthy. Suddenly, a spur of the moment decision prompted me to begin aerating the lawn next door as well. I was almost finished when I was interrupted by a noise behind me.

I turned to see my neighbor, Mr. Johnson, walking towards me. “Good morning,” he said.

“I see you’re aerating our lawns. It’s a good thing to do.”

“Yes, it is,” I replied. “It’s important to keep the lawn healthy.”

“I used to do it myself,” Mr. Johnson said, “but my arthritis doesn’t allow me to do it anymore.  Thank you for helping me with it.”

“It’s no problem,” I said. “I’m happy to help.”

After that, we chatted for a few more minutes before Mr. Johnson went back inside his house.  Then, I finished aerating the lawn and then took a few minutes to take in the results of my work, feeling good about helping my neighbor.

What is Lawn Aerating?

Lawn aerating is a process by which small holes are punched into the soil of a lawn in order to improve drainage and allow better access of air, water, and nutrients to the roots of the grass. Therefore, aerating your lawn is an important part of maintaining a healthy and lush lawn.  In fact, it also helps the grass to grow deeper and stronger roots, leading to a healthier lawn. 

Lawn aeration is a common practice in the spring or fall, when the weather is cooler and the grass is growing actively.  The tools and equipment you’ll want to use is usually a matter of lawn size.  For example, some people use a handheld garden fork or a lawn fork aerator to aerate a small lawn or section where a machine won’t reach.  Conversely, folks with a large lawn may want to use a gas or electric machine aerator, which calls for a trip to the local hardware rental store.

Whichever method you choose, aerating your lawn once or twice a year will help to keep it healthy and green!

Tim

About the Author

Lawn care nut? More like lawn care NUTTY! Tim is all about making sure his lawn is the greenest, lushest, and most weedfree on the block. He‘s up at the crack of dawn every weekend mowing, edging and fertilizing his little piece of paradise. As a result, his neighbors all love him (and his lawn), but secretly think he‘s a little bit crazy.

How to Tell if You Need to Aerate Your Lawn

If you have a lawn, you may need to aerate it at some point to keep it healthy.  First, take a look at your lawn and look for a few signs that it may need to be aerated.  For example, look for compacted soil or thinning grass.  Also, try an easy trick to tell if your lawn is overly compacted.  Just look for footprints or tire tracks that remain after someone has walked or driven over the lawn.  Additionally, the grass may also look flatter than healthy grass, because the blades are easily crushed on the compacted ground.  

If you can’t see any grass blades when you look down at your lawn, then it’s time to aerate.  If you see brown patches in your lawn, then it is likely that the roots are not getting enough water.  Also, large amounts of thatch is another clear sign of the need for aeration.  Your thatch layer is too thick if you have an overly spongy lawn, so test your lawn to see if it feels too spongy and awkward to walk on.

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Signs You Need to Aerate Your Lawn:

  • Your grass is thin and spindly.
  • Your soil is hard and compacted.
  • Water puddles on the surface of your lawn.
  • Water doesn’t seem to penetrate the soil.
  • Roots are shallow.
  • Grasses are yellow or brown.
  • Thatch is more than 1/2 inch thick.
  • Moss is taking over.
  • Lawn feels spongy when walked on.
  • Footprints remain after walking on the grass.

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Aerating your lawn is a great way to improve the health of the grass.  Without aerating, water and fertilizer tend to collect near the surface.  Consequently, grass roots will not go deep into the ground if everything the grass needs is at the surface.

A lawn that isn‘t aerated will have trouble growing and sustaining itself.  Also, the soil will become too compacted and hard, which makes it difficult for water and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass.  Additionally, compacted soil will start to cause the grass to yellow and die, which creates an ideal environment for weeds to take over. Furthermore, compacted soil makes the lawn more susceptible to drought, disease, and pests. If you aerate your lawn on a regular basis, you can ensure a thick, green lawn that is resistant to problems.

“After aerating our lawn, we were amazed at how much better our grass looked.  Also, the lawn was greener and healthierlooking than it had been in years. Even the bald spots and patches of dead grass had begun to fill in”. -Jill and John  (Valued Landzie Customers)

Benefits of Aerating Your Lawn

  • Helps your lawn to better absorb water and nutrients.
  • Improves the drainage of your lawn, helping to reduce standing water and puddling.
  • Reduces the amount of thatch in your lawn.
  • Breaks up compacted soil, improving root growth.
  • Improves the overall appearance of your lawn.
aerate you lawn
aerate you lawn in fall

When to Aerate Your Lawn

The best time to aerate a lawn is in the fall before the first frost, because soil can become easily compacted by summer traffic.  Aerating helps your lawn recover from the heat and stress of the summer and encourages new growth.  In fact, grass roots need aeration to take advantage of the moisture and nutrients in the soil.  Also, the process feeds much needed oxygen to the roots.   Furthermore, your lawn will look better in the spring if it is healthier before winter sets in.  

Spring is also a good time to aerate.  Specifically, try to aerate after the last frost but before the grass starts to green up and grow actively.  As a result, you ensure a healthy lawn for the entire growing season.  Also, it’s important to aerate to reduce water runoff and puddling by allowing water to penetrate the soil, because heavy spring rain can damage a lawn when water pools on the surface

Early summer, before the grass gets too hot and dry, is your last chance to aerate your lawn.  An unhealthy lawn is prone to brown and die during the hot summer, while a healthier lawn will remain green.  Nevertheless, make sure to aerate before it’s too late so your lawn will better withstand the heat of the summer. 

How Much Does Lawn Aeration Cost?

Fork aerators are one of the most popular and versatile lawn care tools on the marketSpecifically, they are a manual tool that helps loosen and aerate compacted soil, which makes it easier for grass roots to grow and thrive. While there are many different models and brands of fork aerators on the market, they typically range in price from $100 to $200.

For those looking for a budgetfriendly option, there are several manual fork aerators available for just under $100. These models typically have two or three tines, and are  inserted into the ground with little effort.  Manual fork aerators require more time to cover a larger area, but they are an excellent option for small yards. Also, it’s good exercise to manually aerate your lawn, and it needs to be done once a year.  Additionally, it’s better for the environment if you use a manual fork aerator, because you’re not using energy or adding to pollution.

Alternatively, there are several electric and gaspowered fork aerators available for those who want a more powerful option.   Powered aerators typically start at around $400 and can quickly cover a large area.  Electric models are typically lighter and easier to maneuver, while gaspowered models offer more power and runtime.

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aerate you lawn

How To Aerate Your Lawn or Grass

One method is to use a hand-held fork aerator, which is a tool that has hollow spikes that you push into the ground. This is a good option for small lawns, for instance.  Additionally, you can decide to use a power aerator, which is a machine that pulls out small cores of soil.  This is a good option for larger lawns, because it can cover a big area rather quickly.  Also, be sure to aerate over the entire lawn, and not just the hightraffic areasBe sure to set it at the recommended depth for your grass type, because that will prevent scalping when using a machine.

After aerating, fertilize and water your lawn as usualYou may see some dead patches where plugs were taken out, but these will quickly fill in with new growth.

Simple Steps For Lawn Aeration

First, water your lawn thoroughly the night before you plan to aerate. This will make the soil softer and easier to penetrate.

Second, set up your manual fork aerator or machine, and position it over your lawn.

Third, press down on the fork aerator or drive the machine to start puncturing holes in the ground. Stagger each hole by about half to ensure even coverage.

Fourth, continue until youve covered the entire lawn.

Last, spread a thin layer of compost over the holes and water again if necessary.

Lawn Aerating – Frequently Asked Questions

At Landzie, we try our best to answer all of your lawn care questions, because we want all our customers to become lawn care experts!  We’d like to share these most frequently asked questions with you to aid in your lawn care journey.  Also, please let us know if you have any other questions, and we will be happy to help!  You can use our contact form to submit your question, and we will answer it as soon as possible.  We hope to hear from you soon!

Q: How often should I aerate my lawn?

A: It is important to aerate your lawn at least once a year in order to keep it healthy.

Q: Can I aerate my lawn myself?

A: Yes, you can aerate your lawn yourself with a hand aerator or a rented machineHowever, be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging your lawn.

Q: Will lawn aeration kill my grass?

A: Lawn aeration will not kill your grass, but it is important to aerate your lawn properly in order to avoid damaging it.  If you aerate your lawn too deeply, then you could damage the roots of your grass, or potentially even kill the grass.

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