Frequently Asked Questions About Lawn Aeration and Plug Aerators
The top two to three inches of soil get compacted over time. Compaction is caused by traffic, temperature, sunlight and root stress. All these factors, effect the roots and make it harder for them to get what they need to give you healthy grass.
Plug aerators use hollow tines to plunge into the ground and pull out a dirt plug. This leaves holes that allow improved nutrient, air, sunlight and water movement to the roots. These holes also keep water, which allows less-frequent watering while still keeping the lawn green and healthy. Plug aeration also break-ups dense clay and heavily compacted soils, leaving more room for roots to grow. Healthier roots and less compacted dirt equals a lawn more able to withstand heat, disease, drought and traffic.
Whether to use a professional or do it yourself?
You can hire a professional to aerate your lawn annually or as needed. Ask friends or neighbors for referrals or call lawn care companies. Many professionals will ask you to point out sprinkler heads or other obstructions in your lawn and may want you to water your lawn beforehand, then they do all the work. If you want to do the job yourself, you can buy or rent a lawn aerator. The aerator should be heavy enough to get good penetration into the ground yet comfortable for you to use.
How to aerate your lawn?
This depends on the type of aerator being used. Generally, the aerator is either pushed or pulled over the entire surface of the lawn in long rows. Corners and working around trees or other in-lawn plants is tricky, but many aerators are specifically designed to work in these challenging areas.
When to aerate lawn? In general, aerate in spring (March to May) and fall (August to November). This is especially true of cool season grasses such as the popular Kentucky Bluegrass. Warm season grasses are aerated in the spring or summer. Ground-condition also matters. If the ground is too hard, it will be difficult for the aerator to deeply penetrate the soil and pull up plugs. Frequently penetration improved by watering for an hour the night before. If the ground is too soft and wet, it is best to wait until it dries out a little more.
How often to aerate your lawn?
A new lawn needs aeration aerated every year for the first five year. Then, once every three years. Heavily used lawns require aerating twice every year, especially is they see daily use by children or pets.
What to do after you aerate your lawn?
Water well after the lawn is aerated to encourage roots to grow deep. Also, it is a great time to fertilize and over-seed, helping the grass to out-compete weeds and take advantage of improved access to the nutrients and room they need to grow.
*Learn More About Aeration: