The Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn


Did you know that in North Dakota and Minnesota alone, up to 30% of land suffers from soil compaction? According to researchers, that can lead to at least $1.76 billion in agricultural losses.

That should tell you how significant the issue of soil compaction is. Moreover, it could affect your lawn.

Fortunately, you can prevent that through proper and timely lawn aeration.

The question is, when exactly should you aerate lawns?

Keep reading, and we’ll tell you what you need to know below.

When Your Lawn Is Bone Dry

According to Heartland Turf & Landscape, aeration opens up a lawn, boosting its airflow. In addition, the holes created by an aerator help improve the soil’s water absorption. That leads to more oxygen, H2O, and nutrients penetrating the topsoil and the layers below it.

Thus, a classic indication it’s time to aerate your lawn is if its soil is bone dry, rock-hard, and dense. All those signs mean it’s suffering from compaction.

If you’re wondering how to aerate a lawn by hand, you can use a hand aerator or a spading fork. However, a powered aerating machine is better if you have to punch holes all over your lawn. In that case, you can pay for lawn aerator rental services or hire a lawn care company.

When You See Bald Spots

One of the best times to aerate your lawn is if you see bare spots where nothing grows, whether grass or weed. Compaction is most likely affecting the soil in these bald areas. Aerating can help introduce more air, water, and nutrients into them.

When There’s Frequent Water Accumulation

About half of a healthy soil consists of organic matter and minerals such as sand, silt, and clay. The rest comprises pore space, the available room for air and water to move around the particles in the soil.

Unfortunately, soil compaction reduces pore space. That results in the water being unable to penetrate the top-most layer of your lawn. Instead, it forms water pools or creates mushy, muddy spots.

So as soon as you see such problems in your lawn, take that as a sign it’s time to aerate it.

When There’s Too Much Thatch

Thatch is a mixture of organic matter that builds up on a lawn, usually around the base of turfgrass. As long as it doesn’t become too thick, it can help make your grass and lawn more resilient to heavy traffic.

However, it becomes a problem if the thatch gets to about half to three-quarters of an inch thick. In that case, it can already restrict air, water, and nutrient penetration into the soil. Over time, that restriction can result in soil compaction.

If you discover excessive thatch on your soil, remove it with a dethatching machine first. You should then aerate your lawn afterward.

Aerate Lawns When Those Issues Occur

As you can see, the best time to aerate lawns is when problems like dryness or excess thatch occur.

However, you can do it yearly if you have an otherwise healthy lawn. You can bump that up to once every six months if it gets heavy traffic or if you have clay soil. That can help keep the soil in top condition.

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