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Lawn Aeration: Everything to Know for a Healthy Lawn

April 26, 2023
Lawn Aeration: Everything to Know for a Healthy Lawn
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Lawn Aeration is an important part of keeping your lawn healthy and alive. You can't focus on it only in the winter. It's important to keep up with your lawn all year long. Lawn aeration is an important part of that process. If you have been mowing, fertilizing and watering your lawn and it’s still dying, it’s time to aerate. It’s important to know the ins and outs of lawn aeration. To keep your lawn alive, check out some must-knows about lawn aeration.

Lawn Aeration: What Is It And Why Do It

Aeration is the process by which you introduce air into a material. You can aerate many things, but for right now let’s focus on soil aeration, also known as lawn aeration. Soil aeration is the process of removing parts of the soil to aerate your lawn. This allows air, water and nutrients to get to your grass. This will improve drainage in your lawn, nurturing it back to health.

A big component of your lawn not being able to breathe is lawn thatch. Thatch accumulates at the base of your grass. This makes it hard for your grass to get all the air, water and nutrients it needs. You can help slow thatch down by raking deep into your soil or you can use a dethatcher. But even if you take the necessary steps to remove thatch, aeration is still a good idea.

If water is having difficulty seeping into your soil, it’s time to aerate. Aeration is especially helpful if you have clay soil. If you find that customers are always walking or driving on your lawn, aeration may be necessary. The foot and car traffic leads to soil compaction, making it hard for water to get through. When your turf gets compacted like this, your grass will struggle even more than usual in heat or drought. You will notice your lawn thinning and losing it’s color. Aeration will fix this by allowing oxygen, water, and nutrients back into the soil and into your turf.

When To Aerate Your Lawn

So how do you know when it’s time to aerate your lawn? Well if you’re not having drainage issues but you notice your lawn is dying try checking out how far your roots go. If they don’t go further than 2 inches into the soil, it’s time to aerate. Another way to test this is by sticking a screwdriver into your soil. If it’s difficult for the screwdriver to go in, your soil is too compacted, and aeration is necessary.

You should not aerate within a year of seeding or sodding your lawn. The best time for aeration depends on what type of grass you’re growing. Your best bet is to aerate during your grass’ growing season. If you live in the north, you most likely have cool-season grasses. These hit growing season around early fall or spring. If you live in the south chances are, you're using warm-season grasses. Warm-season grasses grow most in late spring or early summer. Aerating during your turf’s growth season gives you a better chance of your grass making a speedy recovery. It will also be easier for your grass to cover the areas where your aeration exposed the soil. You should aerate your lawn about once a year.

In addition to the time of year, try to aerate your lawn when your soil is moist. If your soil is too dry or too moist it won't be as effective. So, try to do it after rainfall but if it’s too wet from it, wait a few days.

How To Aerate Your Lawn

So now that you know when and why to aerate your lawn, let’s talk about how. There are two main types of lawn aeration.

Spike Aeration vs Core Aeration

Spikes designed to help with lawn aeration.

Spike aeration is self-explanatory. It consists of driving a spike into your soil to create a hole. Spike aerators have a rotating drum or wheel covered withspikes. If you’re into the DIY method, you can use a rake or fork to spike your soil. With spike aeration you’re not moving any material from your lawn.

If you’re doing your business or facility’s lawn, you won’t want to DIY. You can still hire someone or rent out a spike aerator. But core aeration is more effective for the purposes of a big commercial lawn. Spike aerators are good if your soil is not super compacted.

A core aerator uses hollow tubular teeth. The purpose of this is, as you move it and remove it into your turf, it removes part of the soil with it. This leaves behind a bigger hole which does a better job of breaking up very compacted soil. The holes they make improve your grass’ root growth.

The down side of core aeration is when the aerator brings up part of the soil, it leaves it on the lawn which is ugly. This is fixable by mowing or raking the soil plugs once they dry out or waiting for them to break down in the rain. Once the plugs break down, they provide helpful soil to the surface of your lawn. Core aerators also give you the option of choosing the size of the holes you’re making.

What will it cost?

Aeration can be a lot of work, especially if you are doing it on a big piece of land. It may be easier to outsource and hire someone else to aerate the lawn. So, let’s talk about aerator costs.

You could always rent a spike aerator or a core aerator, but it still might be easier to have a professional do it for you. If you are going to rent your own aerator, you can usually get them from your local garden center. Aerators go for around $30-$75 for a couple of hours or around $100-$200 for the day. If renting, you may also need to rent a truck if you don’t own one to get the equipment back to your lawn.

A simpler alternative to renting everything may be outsourcing. Outsourcing someone to aerate your lawn usually varies on the size of your lawn. A typical range for hiring someone for lawn aerator services is between $150-$250. This takes into account everyone's house lawn though. If you’re looking to aerate your business’ land you can expect it will cost somewhere between $.10-.$.35 per square foot.

Final Thoughts

The process of lawn aeration is very important for lawn maintenance. However, if you follow all the steps, but nothing comes of it, we are ready to help! Contact us at Earth Development and we will restore your lawn to perfect condition with our services.

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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