How and Why you should Manually Aerate your Lawn

Aeration is a lawn care method designed to create openings in the lawn and the underlying soil structure and penetrate layers of roots and thatch. This allows essential water and air to penetrate the soil and make it easier to reach the grassroots. This process is often referred to as “core aeration” after a small plug or core has been removed from the ground.

Why Aeration is good for your lawn

Aeration is a solution to highly compressed soils that are planted on high-traffic lawns and soils with high clay content. It is rarely needed if the soil is on the sandy side. Core aeration may be advertised as a solution to thatch problems. However, if thatch already exists, it will not alleviate this problem very often. If thatch is the real problem, dethatching is a better solution. But dethatching is a very violent on the lawn and can end up damaging it. An annual core aeration can prevent thatch problems in the first place so it well worth the effort.

If you have a type of soil or condition that requires aeration of the lawn, you can do it once a year. It doesn’t hurt your lawn and actually makes it healthier and more attractive. Some people don’t like the appearance of the small soil and turf plugs that are pulled and scattered by the lawn. If so, you can scrape them together. However, if you leave it on the lawn, it will quickly collapse and decompose.

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Lawn aeration

Is lawn aeration really necessary?

Almost all lawns benefit from aeration, and if you want a great lawn you need it. Lawns that suffer from heavy traffic, excessive dusting (more than an inch thick), or heavy soil are most benefited from it.

 

When is the best time to aerate my lawn?

Late summer to autumn is the best time to aerate the lawn. Before the cold temperatures begin, grass seeds can germinate and develop a strong root system. When the temperature drops, the pressure from weeds is minimized but the grass still grows.

Preparation before Aerating your lawn

Aerating is much each if the lawn is soft, so either water the lawn 24 hours before you plan on aerating or do it after rain. Make sure to mark underground sprinkler heads or invisible fences with flags so you don’t break anything by accident.

What Aerator is the best for home use?

You want to use Hollow tine or core aerators, these have hollow metal tubes that remove the plugs from the ground. You want to avoid solid-tine or devices with spikes as they may compact the soil and actually make the problem worse.
Our favorite is the Opmeiro Lawn Coring Aerator as it has springs and does not get blocked as frequently as other aerators we have tested.

Pros of the Opmeiro Lawn Coring Aerator
1. The recoil spring helps you pull it back out, it is a clever design to recycle some energy from pushing the tool down.
2. The coring tube can do side discharge so it has less chance to be stuck with dirt, however they still do get stuck from time to time.
3. Lightweight but decent quality build.

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Tips before Aerating

  • This will work for small areas or spot aerating, but spending money to have a professional doing a large area may still be worth it. You’re going to spend a lot of time and energy if doing it manually with this tool.
  • Wet ground is VERY helpful, but too wet is also not good.
  • Gloves are recommended or you may develop blisters on your hands.
  • After aerating soak the coring tips in a bucket of water when you’re done using it for the day. This will prevent soil from drying out inside the tips and stop it from plugging up.
  • Remember to wear shades, rest and drink enough water when aerating. Good Luck!

Other popular choices can be seen here:

About the author

All my life, I enjoyed doing things with my hands and interacting with nature. I'm a self-taught carpenter, an angler, a hunter, an outdoorsman, an engineer, and an avid hiker. Not as agile as I was in my former years, I've decided to spend more time putting my experiences on paper.

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