When should you aerate your lawn? The following tips are from an expert landscaper who has had experience aerating more than 5,000 lawns. This article will give you insight as to whether or not you should aerate lawn, and the best time of year to do it.
1. Grass has slow or stunted growth. – If your grass is growing very quickly, even after you have fertilized it, it could be because the soil is too hard. When the soil is compacted, the roots can’t develop fully, and this prevents the top of your grass from looking beautiful. If you have a pet, it is pretty easy to notice, that the areas your pet walks across most frequently, will have shorter grass because the roots underneath it are more compact.
2. Ground is dry within a few hours of watering it. Most lawns should stay wet for a few hours after you water it. If the surface of your lawn dries up very easily, and if the water has difficulty penetrating below the surface, then your lawn would benefit from aeration. Areas that tend to dry out faster are off the hills, or portions of your lawn where there is less topsoil.
3. Water runs off the surface rather than absorbing. If you have a lot of clay in your soil, or if the surface is fairly compacted, the water will run off of it rather than be absorbed. If your ground stays hard, no matter how much water you put on it, then you definitely should aerate your lawn.
4. Lawn gets a lot of traffic or has a matted look to it. One of the hardest lawns I ever aerated was for a local preschool. If you have a lot of traffic on your back lawn, due to your pets, or your children playing in the backyard, a good way to keep your lawn green is to aerate it regularly. Most people require lawn aeration at least once every three years. Some lawns that get a lot of traffic, or have poor soil, need to be aerated on a yearly basis.
5. Grass contains a lot of thatch. Thatch happens often as a result of compacted soil. As a result, roots grow along the surface rather than into your lawn. While aerating is the best way to get rid of thatch, it does help to prevent it. The roots of your lawn will grow down, instead of sideways across your grass. Additionally, when you aerate, oxygen required to break down dead thatch can get below the surface, and help it to break down much faster.
6. Ground is really hard that you have trouble driving a screw driver into it. You can check out how hard your lawn is, by trying to drive a screwdriver into it. It should be fairly easy for you to go down 6 inches with a screwdriver. If you go down 2 inches easily but are unable to penetrate any further, then it is time for you to aerate your lawn again.
7. Grass starts to look sparse or patchy. This happens a lot when you have a new lawn. If you forget to aerate it, it often develops patches. Other areas become yellow, and start to die off. In order to fully develop the root system on your lawn, you should have your lawn aerated every 2 to 3 years.
When Should I Aerate My Lawn?
You should aerate your lawn whenever it needs to be done. (Find out more about when to aerate a lawn.) The most common time to aerate is in the spring and in the fall. During this time of year, the ground is soft enough for you to get maximum penetration with your aerator. Personally, I think that the spring is the best time to aerate because it allows your soil to expand during the summer. If it contains a lot of clay, it will expand naturally as the temperature gets warmer. Aerating in the spring is also a good idea because it is a great time for you to fertilize and add more seed to your lawn. This will help your lawn become more enjoyable when you use it in the summer and in the fall.