When, Why, and How to Aerate Your Lawn?

A lawn can be needier than you think! You may have watered, mowed, and fertilized, but it can still lack luster. All that hard work to still have wear and tear in your lawn, with hardened soil and low water penetration. The solution that you are looking for is aeration. This is why the nutrients are not absorbed into the soil. As a result, it hinders your grass growth and lushness. Aeration is one of the basics of yard maintenance and should always be added to its checklist. If you haven’t been paying attention to it, it is time to add it to your lawn care routine—Aerate Lawn to get on top of your maintenance game.

To understand aeration more, we have summed it up for you here. All the steps you need to do to have good aeration for healthier grass are mentioned below.

What is aeration?

Aeration entails scooping and punching holes in your lawn so that air, water, and nutrients can penetrate through so that they can reach more profound levels of the soil. This way, compacted soil breaks, and proper circulation in the soil begin.

There are different ways through which you can aerate  lawn, using various tools, aerator shoes, and gas-powered machines [1]. It can be a tedious job but has effective results on the health of your lawn.

Why should you aerate the lawn?

Aeration may need to be added to your lawn maintenance priority list. But it can do wonders for your lawn, especially if you have high foot traffic, active children, and pets. This can lead to soil getting compact, due to which root growth suffers, and thatch can appear. Similarly, if you face the common lawn problems below, you must aerate the lawn to fix them. You can either do it yourself or through the professional lawn services available.

Compact soil.

The soil in your lawn can get dry, hardened, and compacted, which is hard to shovel and feels solid when you walk on it [2]. When this happens, the absorption rate of the soil decreases, and new roots are difficult to grow.

Bare Patches.

This is a visible feature of when your soil needs aeration. You will see dry and bare patches on your lawn. No grass or weed growth will indicate poor absorption and compactness of the soil.

Drainage issues.

Your lawn may have a low area where water from rain or irrigation collects and stays. As the soil cannot absorb water, the water is left in shallow areas.

Foot Traffic.

Heavy foot traffic contributes to soil compaction a lot. Suppose you have kids and pets playing on the lawn frequently or heavy things being transferred through it. It is highly likely that the soil will get harder and will need aeration.

High thatch buildup.

A lot of thatch buildup indicates that aeration is required to restore your lawn. You can check this buildup but slicing a 4-inch thick piece of lawn; aerating lawn if the buildup is more than one-half inch thick,

When should you aerate the lawn?

You need to aerate the lawn in times of high grass growth. Otherwise, you will further damage the soil of your lawn. The grass will rapidly grow and fill the open spaces when aerating in the growing season. You can select the right season depending on your grass type.

Cool season grass.

This type of grass grows in areas that experience frigid winters. They grow well during fall and spring. If you live in the northern half of the US, this is the grass you will use. Its grass types are bluegrass, ryegrass, or fescue [3].

Warm season grass.

Suppose you have hot summer and warmer climates mostly over the year. Then this type of grass is right for you. Its time of high growth is from late spring through summer to early fall.  St. Augustine, Bermuda grass, or buffalo grass can be aerated from late spring to early summer [4].

The best time to aerate  lawn is in the morning. The temperature at that time is low with high moisture. This gets trapped in the lawn, keeping the soil moist throughout the day.

How to aerate the lawn?

If you have observed all the signs which show that your lawn needs aeration, then you can follow these steps and tips.

  • Aeration is done most effectively when the soil is moist. Aeration on dry, hardened soil can be frustrating. The perfect timing is a day after rainfall or watering of your lawn.
  • Once you start aeration, you should review the most compacted solid multiple times. You can go lightly over the unaffected areas or skip them altogether.
  • The holes that you have made should be allowed to dry first. Then they can be broken with a lawn mover or a rake.
  • After aeration, you can go on with your usual lawn maintenance. This can include watering, fertilizing, and mowing.
  • Some tools used for aeration are; spike aerators, slicing aerators, and core or plug aerators.

When aerating your lawn, you must go back and forth a lot while focusing on the problem areas. You have to be patient and thorough when aerating.


Aeration is a great way to rejuvenate your lawn. It helps you increase soil circulation so air, water, and nutrients can be fully absorbed. This gives way for newer and stronger roots to develop and spring. If you are tactful with your aeration technique, then effective results can be achieved, restoring the health of your lawn. You can also hire professional aeration services to help your lawn. They will be more precise about the timing, technique, and expected results.


1. What is the best time for aeration?

Aeration needs to be done when your grass is in the growing season to recover and regrow quickly. For cool-season grasses, the best time is between fall to early spring. For warm-season grass, the best time is late spring to early summer.

2. What soil conditions are required before aeration?

You should not aerate on dry soil—the solid must be wet and moist before aeration. Hence the right time is a day after a rainfall or watering of the grass or you can follow lawn watering tips. Aeration should be done on a smooth lawn.

3. Should Fertilizers be used before or after aeration?

Aeration should be done before applying the fertilizer, as this will increase its absorption rate. Oxygen, water, and fertilizer will reach deep into the soil, giving it nutrients to grow more quickly.

4. Which way works best for aeration?

While there are many tools you can use, aerating with a rake or a shovel can be done very quickly. Move and turn your soil with it. Then you can add compost and fertilizer to it. Sit back and wait patiently to get a lush green lawn.






2 thoughts on “When, Why, and How to Aerate Your Lawn?”

  1. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Lawn Year-Round - Real Green Turf

  2. Pingback: Lawn Dethatching vs. Aeration: The Best Method For Your Lawn

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