The Importance Of Lawn Aeration

Lawn Aeration: One Of The Biggest Keys To A High Performing Lawn

Aeration is an easy and cost effective way to really boost the health of your lawn. By simply plugging holes into the soil, you are allowing for some amazing things to happen to your lawn. Grass roots need air, water and nutrients to grow thick and strong roots that can survive the winter and hot summer months. Have you ever planted grass seed in the Spring and been impressed by how well it started off, only to watch it fizzle out come August? 

Soil Compaction

display showing a bad lawn due to shallow roots, and a lawn with healthy roots from aeration

The reason for this is most likely your ground is super compact. When soil becomes compacted, even slightly, it ruins the flow of nutrients that support thicker, healthier lawn growth. A layer of compacted soil just a quarter to half inch thick can make a significant difference in the health and beauty of your lawn. Sadly, this is most often the case when a lawn burns out in a hot summer. An aeration in the spring and fall could have helped to allow the grass roots to reach those nutrients just a little below the surface. Just one aeration could help save your lawn from dying out! We recommend doing an aeration in the Spring and Fall for the best results. Once a year is fine, but twice a year will really make the lawn stand out. An easy way to figure out if your lawn is compacted is by simply sticking a screwdriver into the ground. If you meet resistance fairly quick, think about how hard the roots of your lawn must be struggling if you can’t even stick a metal object into it!

Thatch Layer

demonstration of thatch layer build up on a piece of turf

You also may notice your lawn has more thatch than usual. Thatch is the build up of decomposing grass that will acts like compaction to prevent the flow of air, water and nutrients grasses need. Aeration will also prevent this, and help fight against thatch buildup. 

When To Aerate A Pennsylvania Lawn

Once the heat waves of August and early September have died off, we enter peak growing season. Pennsylvania is in a ‘cool season grass’ growing zone, but we can healthily support warm season grasses as well.. You may notice some of your lawns have zoysia grass which is a popular warm season grass that turns dormant in the winter and looks completely white. The month of September and the first few weeks of October are the best times for growing grass, which also makes it the best time to aerate a lawn in Pennsylvania. Lawn aeration and overseeding go hand in hand! Add in some starter fertilizer and now we’re really talking. 

Aeration should precede any overseeding or fertilization. It is even alright if you aerate and don’t seed for a few days/a week after.

How To Aerate A Lawn

Aeration can be done a variety of different ways. The most common is renting a core aerator, or hiring a lawn aeration service such as ourselves. You could also simply take a pitchfork and plug holes all through your lawn, especially if you have areas that are more compact than others. There are a number of videos available online that demonstrate this, and this coming fall we will be making some video footage of us aerating to put on the website as well for reference.

The easiest way to aerate is to walk the perimeter of the lawn in a square and keep closing the square in, this way you limit turns and it’s less fatigue on the operator. I highly recommend renting or buying the Ryan Lawnaire Aerator with Easy Steer, which will save you a serious headache. (Rent or buy with the Honda engine not the Briggs and Stratton). Most aerators are an absolute pain because you can’t turn with them so each time you need to make a turn, you have to turn the tines off and flip the machine yourself and re-engage the tines, and continue working, only to repeat 800 times. 

We currently run one of these on our team and we are able to fit through gates that only allow 36” clearance, so if your lawn falls into this category, let us know!

If you are looking for lawn aeration near me, look no further than Bolton Lawn Care. Give us a call or send us an email for an estimate. We promise to reply promptly.

-AB