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All About Aerating

Most lawns benefit from annual aerating. In this post we'll discuss how aerating works and why it can benefit your lawn.

What is Aerating?

For this post we will focus on core aeration. Core aeration is the most effective form of lawn aeration. With core aeration, an aerator is used to remove small cores of soil or plugs. Removal of cores allows air, moisture, and nutrients to penetrate into the lawn. Aeration helps your lawn establish deeper roots and increases plant density. It also helps to solve lawn issues caused by soil compaction.

When To Aerate

You should aerate during peak growing season for your lawn. In our area this is best done in the spring or fall. If you choose to aerate in the spring make sure the lawn has had time to begin growing, opt for sometime around the second mowing. Fall is also a good time to aerate. Plan to aerate in early fall when there is still several weeks of growing season left for your lawn to recover.

How To Aerate

  • The day before aerating your lawn, apply 1 inch of water to the lawn to soften the soil

  • Make sure to mark any sprinkler heads or shallow irrigation, septic, or utility lines so that you won’t accidentally run them over.  

  • For lightly compacted soil, go over your entire lawn once with the aerator, making sure to follow directions for use.

  • If your soil is seriously compacted (or if you’ve never aerated it before), go over the entire lawn twice, with the second pass perpendicular to the first.

  • The aerator will remove plugs of soil. Leave them on the lawn so they can break down and add nutrients back into the soil.

  • Once you’ve finished aerating, water the lawn well.

  • Apply a good fertilizer of your choice to provide the nutrients needed to help the lawn recover.

  • Water your newly aerated lawn every 2-3 days during the next couple of weeks.

Aerating Equipment

The walk behind core aerator is the go to tool for most residential aerating jobs. These machines feature a rotating drum that punches the coring spoons into the lawn. Aerators tend to be heavy pieces of equipment, with most of the smaller models weighing in the 300 lb range. Plan to have a vehicle with room to haul the machine and some help. We do offer ramps and help loading the equipment.

Another option for aerating is a towable aerator. These can be pulled with a lawn tractor or ATV, and work well on larger lawns. These core style aerators use water weight to help get the deepest cores possible.

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