When to aerate? Lawn tips for year-round healthy grass

A healthy lawn is within your reach, but if it’s starting to feel like an impossible goal you may need to change your approach. Aeration is an important step toward a healthy lawn, and it could be the missing link to the green grass of your dreams.

The process of aeration involves removing plugs of soil from your lawn, increasing airflow and improving drainage patterns. There are many types of tools that can be used to to achieve this technique in your yard. Read on to learn about keeping your grass looking healthier than ever with a few simple steps.

Why aerate?

There are many benefits to aerating your lawn. This practice stimulates growth, increases turf durability, reduces thatch, and encourages deeper root growth. Sometimes plug removal is all it takes to turn your lawn around, and this easy process can be as valuable as months worth of lawn treatments.

When should you aerate?

The ideal time to aerate your lawn is during the growing season. This way new grass can fill the open holes that appear during plug removal. If using cool season seed, early spring and fall are the ideal times of year for aeration. Warm season seed responds best to late spring aeration.

Aerating your lawn doesn’t have to be hard, but under the wrong conditions it can be. Hard soil especially presents a problem, so ideally you should begin the process following rainfall or irrigation. If the ground is too moist your project could turn messy and ineffective, so wait 24 hours after rainfall or watering before you start.

What tools are required?

There are a several types of tools that can be used when aerating your lawn. All have their pros and cons–take a look at the following tools to help figure out the best choice for your lawn:

  • Garden Fork – A simple garden fork can be a very useful tool for the simplest type of aeration. This is certainly one of the more cost effective options available, but unlike more sophisticated devices, a fork will simply push plugs down into the ground instead of removing them. Simply drive the fork into the ground, if the ground is too thick, place your foot on the base of the fork and use your body weight to drive it into the ground. This method is also going to take you a very long time if you’re aerating the entire yard!

  • Aeration shoes – These shoes that feature prominent spikes on the bottom make for what is surely the easiest way to aerate your yard. Aeration shoes come in several forms, some of which are full shoes and other that simply attach to the bottom of your normal footwear. Just strap these shoes on and start walking around your lawn: You’ll be aerating as you go. Like a fork, plugs are only pushed down using these shoes, not removed, and since aeration is required when your soil becomes too compacted, walking on it to aerate may sort of defeat the purpose!

  • Hollow tiner – A hollow tiner is like a garden fork that’s designed especially for aeration. Unlike a pitch fork, tiners have hollowed spikes that remove the plugs of soil instead of just displacing them.

  • Spiked aerator –  The quickest way to aerate your lawn requires a professional grade aerator. Usually these devices attach to the back of a tractor or lawn mower, though standalone units are available for rental or sale. As you pull the mower, the spiked barrel will rotate and remove plugs as you go. Aerators range anywhere in price from one to several hundred dollars. Some home improvements stores will rent these devices to homeowners who aren’t ready to commit to buying.

Consider using a scarifier

Aeration may not be required in your lawn, and a good way to test the waters is to use a scarifier in your lawn. Many of the same benefits of aeration are also seen when using this device. Scarifiers remove thatch and leaves from your lawn, leading to better irrigation and water flow patterns in your yard.

If you think your lawn could benefit from aeration but you don’t have the time to devote to it, consider getting in touch with a professional lawn service company. These companies understand all of the subtleties of aeration, and you could save a lot of time spent on trial and error by reaching out to one of these providers. Don’t wait until your lawn has dried up and died–consider lawn aeration today.