In this article, I’ll discuss when to aerate your lawn and how often to aerate. I’ll also talk about why to aerate a lawn – the benefits of aerating your lawn.
Irrespective of where you reside – US, UK, Canada, Australia – and regardless of the type of lawn you have (the type of grass seed) aerating your lawn will make it more beautiful and healthier.
Obviously you’ll have to know when to aerate your lawn, how often to aerate your lawn, and what equipment is best to aerate your lawn.
As is the case with scarifying your lawn, when you aerate it, it causes temporary stress. The amount of time it takes your grass to recover is linked to growth conditions. So, what this means is that for best effect it’s wise to determine an annual plan for aerating your lawn.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn? Can You Aerate Your Lawn In Summer?
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The ideal time to aerate your lawn is just prior to or during peak growing months.
Nevertheless, you should avoid aerating your lawn when the weather is very warm and / or there’s a lack of rainwater.
Essentially, it’s the type of grasses that your lawn consists of which will determine when you should aerate your lawn. If your lawn consists of cool-season grasses, inclusive of fescue, bluegrass, ryegrass, you’ll enjoy best results if you aerate either in the spring or in the fall / autumn.
On the other hand, if your lawn consists of warm-season grasses – buffalograss, Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustine for example – it’s good policy to aerate during warmer periods. Ideally, that would mean sometime between the latter part of spring through to early fall.
So, yes, if your lawn is seeded or turfed with warm-season grasses, you can aerate during the summer months.
If you’ve decided to aerate your lawn in the spring it’s pertinent to mow your lawn a few times prior to aerating. What this does is that it encourages your grass to grow. In which case, because it is now in full-growth mode it will be able to recover quickly from the aeration process.
There is a caveat with this, though. When you disturb your lawn’s root zone during the months of spring it has a tendency to bring buried weed seeds up to the surface.
The way to combat this is to apply a lawn fertilizer in addition to a weed killer of the pre-emergent kind after aerating the lawn.
A good springtime pre-emergent weed lawn fertilizer is Andersons Pro Turf Barricade Granular Pre-Emergent Weed Control.
And a fine springtime lawn fertilizer is Natural Alternative’s Early Springtime Fertilizer.
Do note that you should not make an application of a weed killer if, after aerating your lawn, your plans are to overseed. If you do apply a weed killer it will kill off the grass seed.
If you aerate your lawn during fall / autumn do it early on. This way your lawn will recover sufficiently prior to wintertime dormancy.
How Often to Aerate a Lawn?
Lawn aeration should be carried out at least one time each year. If your lawn sits on compacted soil – soil that has a high volume of clay, it’s good policy to aerate twice annually or even more often.
After Aerating Your Lawn What Should You Do?
After aerating your lawn provide it with plenty of water. Don’t be tempted to aerate when the grass is wet, however. Dry conditions are what are required for best results.
Apply lawn fertilizer in addition to a weed killer shortly after aerating. If you do wish to overseed, avoid the weed killer.
It does make good sense to overseed following on to aerating the lawn. That’s because the lawn seed will thrive due to the disturbed soil surface. In effect, aerating will create improved seed/soil contact. That works to encourage successful seed germination.
Why Aerate a Lawn? What are the Benefits of Aerating a Lawn?
Fortunately, it’s not all hard work with few benefits and little payoff. There are numerous benefits to aerating a lawn. For starters, if you aerate regularly then you’ll enjoy a healthier, better-looking lawn. Here are some key benefits to aerating your lawn.
Better air exchange between the atmosphere and the soil.
Improved uptake of water by grass roots.
Improved uptake of lawn fertilizer.
Reduced amount of puddling and water runoff.
Reduced amount of soil compaction.
Tolerance to drought and heat is enhanced.
The breakdown of thatch is also enhanced.
Improved cushioning effect and overall resilience of the grass.