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How to aerate a yard

How to aerate a yard

In order to achieve and maintain a beautiful lawn, you should employ basic lawn care practices such as properly mowing, fertilizing and watering. It is also important to ensure that nutrients can reach the soil beneath your grass. Aeration can be an extremely vital element to a healthy lawn because it allows air and water to penetrate built-up grass or lawn thatch.

Get rid of thatch and make way for a beautiful lawn with this quick guide to aeration. You’ll learn why, how and when to aerate your lawn for the best results.

What is Aeration?

Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn.

The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction. Compacted soils have too many solid particles in a certain volume or space, which prevents proper circulation of air, water and nutrients within the soil. Excess lawn thatch or heavy organic debris buried under the grass surface can also starve the roots from these essential elements.

Should You Be Aerating Your Lawn?

One of the most common questions from homeowners is how to determine if they should be aerating their lawn. Your lawn is probably a good candidate for aeration if it:

  • Gets heavy use, such as serving as the neighborhood playground or racetrack. Children and pets running around the yard contribute to soil compaction.
  • Was established as part of a newly constructed home. Often, the topsoil of newly constructed lawns is stripped or buried, and the grass established on subsoil has been compacted by construction traffic.
  • Dries out easily and has a spongy feel. This might mean your lawn has an excessive thatch problem. Take a shovel and remove a slice of lawn about four inches deep. If the thatch layer is greater than one-half inch, aeration is recommended.
  • Was established by sod, and soil layering exists. Soil layering means that soil of finer texture, which comes with imported sod, is layered over the existing coarser soil. This layering disrupts drainage, as water is held in the finer-textured soil. This leads to compacted conditions and poor root development. Aerating breaks up the layering, allowing water to flow through the soil more easily and reach the roots.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

The best time for aeration is during the growing season, when the grass can heal and fill in any open areas after soil plugs are removed. Ideally, aerate the lawn with cool season grass in the early spring or fall and those with warm season grass in the late spring.

Aerating Tools: Plug Aerator vs. Spike Aerator

Two main aerating tools exist — a spike aerator and a plug aerator. With a spike aerator, you simply use the tool to poke holes into the ground with a solid tine, or fork. Plug aerators remove a core or plug of grass and soil from the lawn. For the best results, use an aerating tool or machine that actually removes plugs of soil. Poking holes is less effective and can actually cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes.

Look for an aerating tool or machine that removes soil plugs approximately 2 — 3 inches deep and 0.5 — 0.75 inches in diameter, and about 2 — 3 inches apart. These machines can be rented from lawn and garden stores or home improvement centers. Always follow the directions provided by the store. You may want to consider sharing the rental cost with a neighbor who is interested in aerating the lawn.

How to Aerate Your Yard

If you're convinced that your lawn is in need of aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:

  • Before you get started, make sure the soil is moist enough. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to aerate soil that is bone dry. Aerating the day after a rain shower or watering your lawn the day before is advised.
  • Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass, so make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. Save resources (and your energy) by leaving unaffected areas alone
  • The excavated soil plugs should be allowed to dry and then broken up to give your lawn a uniform, clean appearance. Break them up by running them over with a lawn mower or pounding them with the back of a rake. (Your lawn mower blade may need to be sharpened after breaking up the plugs.)
  • An aeration myth is that if you apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the spring, aerating your lawn will destroy the herbicide "barrier." This is not true — research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention.
  • After aerating, it's important to continue basic lawn care practices such as proper fertilizing, mowing and watering.

Aeration is a beneficial practice toward achieving a beautiful lawn, but most people don't realize it or understand the process. If your lawn is a candidate, make it an integral part of your lawn care regime. Your lawn will thank you for letting it breathe again.

Don’t forget to include annual lawn aeration in your yard-care schedule. Loosening compacted soil helps your grass stay healthy and green. Here’s how to aerate your lawn easily and effectively.

While just about every homeowner knows their lawn needs watering, mowing, and fertilizing to look its best, many people don't know that aerating a lawn is also part of basic yard care. The job can be a bit tedious, but it's not difficult, and the benefits of aeration—green, healthy grass—make those few hours well spent.

There are several ways to aerate your lawn with a variety of soil aeration tools such as aerator shoes and gas-powered machines, but with whichever method you choose, your soil will be perforated with small holes to penetrate the roots.

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Over time, soil tends to compact and become hard due to foot traffic, mowing, clay soil, or poor drainage. This prevents water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the hungry roots. As a result, the turf becomes thin, pale, or patchy.

Lawn aeration—a process of making holes in the turf—breaks up hard soil so that water and nutrients penetrate the grass roots more easily. There are two basic types of lawn aerators:

  • Spike aerators, which simply poke holes into the soil
  • Plug aerators, which actually remove a plug of soil and grass

Both break up hardened soil, but lawn plug aerators are more effective.

When to Aerate the Lawn

The best time to use aerating lawn tools depends on the type of grass you have. Cool-season grasses, such as fescue, bluegrass, or ryegrass, should be aerated in early spring or early fall. Warm-season turf, including Bermuda grass, zoysia, or St. Augustine, does best with aeration in the late spring. Whatever your type of grass, do not aerate the lawn within one year of planting seed or sod.

How to Aerate a Lawn by Hand

Large stretches of turf require gas-powered aerator tools, but if you have a fairly small patch of grass, a handheld (or footheld) aerator will work. There are several types of manual aerators.

  • Aerator shoes have sharp spikes on the bottom. Just strap them on over your regular shoes and walk across your grass, making multiple passes in different directions to thoroughly penetrate the turf. If you're looking for one of the least expensive and most popular aerator tools, consider getting lawn aerator shoes with strong metal buckles like Punchau shoes, $22.97 on Amazon.
  • Handheld aerators come in a variety of configurations but most somewhat resemble a pitchfork. Most are spike aerators, but there are versions that remove plugs. Using a handheld aerator is simple but tiring: Stab the spikes deeply into the grass, pull out, and repeat, taking care to cover the entire lawn. If you have a smaller yard with tiny patches of grass, consider investing in a aerator with a foot bar for extra leverage like the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator, $32.52 on Amazon.
  • Manual drum aerators—sometimes called lawn spikers—are a spike- or blade-covered heavy drum with a long handle. To use, push a drum aerator like the Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator, $69.99 on Amazon across your lawn, making at least two complete circuits in different directions. Most manual drum aerators are spike lawn tools, but some are plug aerators.

Powered Types of Aerators

For larger lawns, or if you prefer to spare your back, gas-powered aerators make the job relatively quick and easy. These heavy-duty aerators usually remove plugs of soil and grass, which is the best method of lawn aeration. Lawn aerator rental is available at many garden centers or home improvement stores.

  • Pull-behind aerators look like manual drum aerators, but instead of muscling the aerating tool, a riding lawn mower does the work. This means that pull-behind aerators like the Agri-Fab Tow Plug Aerator, $245.99 on Amazon can be heavier and spikier than manual lawn aerators, thus they can also be more effective.
  • Gas-powered aerators look like lawnmowers, but instead of spinning blades that cut grass, they have spinning spikes that aerate the soil. Some multi-functional models like the VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier and Aerator, $169.99 on Amazon contain an additional dethatcher drum for added convenience.

The Basics of Aerating a Lawn

Whatever type of yard aerator you choose, the basics of how to aerate a lawn are the same.

  • A few days before you aerate the lawn, mow it to about half its usual height, and then water it well.
  • Rake up any fallen leaves or debris.
  • Mark the locations of sprinklers with marking flags or chalk.
  • Aerate the lawn using your chosen tool. If it's a spike aerator, make at least two passes over the lawn, each in a different direction. If using a plug aerator, just one pass is needed.
  • Leave any soil plugs on the lawn; they will return nutrients to the soil as they decompose.
  • Fertilize your lawn or apply a top dressing of compost. This is also a good time to reseed any bare patches.
  • Return to watering and mowing your grass on its regular schedule.

To keep your grass looking its best, make sure you aerate annually in addition to watering, fertilizing, and weeding on a regular schedule.

How to aerate a yard

Grass roots need air, water and nutrients to grow thick, deep and strong. When soil becomes compacted, even slightly, it inhibit the flow of the essentials that support thicker, healthier turf growth. A layer of compacted soil just 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick can make a significant difference in the health and beauty of your lawn.1 Aeration creates holes down into the soil to alleviate compaction so air, water and nutrients can reach grass roots.

Deprived of their basic needs by compacted soil, lawn grasses struggle in stressful situations, such as heat and low rainfall, and lose their healthy, rich color. Grasses gradually thin and eventually die out completely, for lack of the oxygen, water and nutrients available just inches away. Even a single aeration session can open the avenue for these essentials to reach their mark and put your lawn back on an upward trend.

How to aerate a yard

Core aerators pull small plugs of soil to the surface.

When Lawns Need Aeration

It may not seem your lawn could get compacted, but it happens easier than you may think. Vehicles or small equipment driven on lawns are more obvious offenders, but even outdoor entertaining or yard play by kids and pets can leave all or part of your lawn compacted. If you live where heavy clay soil is the norm, annual aeration is probably needed to keep your lawn from becoming thin and weak.

Dethatching and aerating are two different tasks, but they often go hand in hand. Thatch is the layer of decomposing organic matter that forms right at the lawn surface, between soil and grass. When thatch gets more than 1/2 inch thick, it works like compaction to prevent the flow of air, water and nutrients grasses need. Aggressive spreading grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass in northern lawns and Bermudagrass down south, form more thatch than many other grass types. Aeration helps penetrate and reduce thatch buildup or prep it for removal through dethatching.

If your grass often looks stressed and your soil is hard to the touch or rainwater puddles up where it used to be absorbed, you may have compaction problems. Confirm your suspicions with a simple “screwdriver test.” Take a regular screwdriver and stick it into your lawn’s soil by hand. It should slide in fairly easily. If you meet resistance, your soil is compacted, and aeration can help.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

As with most larger lawn projects, such as planting grass seed, it’s best to aerate during or right before the time your grasses reach their peak time for natural growth. Aeration is good for lawns, but it can stress grass if timed improperly. Never aerate dormant lawns.

For cool-season grasses common in northern lawns, early fall or early spring are the best times for aerating. For warm-season grasses common to southern lawns, the best time for aerating is late spring or very early summer. When aeration coincides with active growth, grasses recover quickly and fill in areas where aerator equipment exposes soil.

Aerating is easiest on you (or your equipment operator) and your lawn when your soil is moist from irrigation or rainfall the day before. Overly dry soil can be tough to aerate, so moisture eases the process. Never aerate overly wet lawns; wait a few days instead.

How to aerate a yard

Slicing aerators slice through lawns and leave soil in place.

How to Aerate Your Lawn

Aerating equipment comes in three main types, from small manual versions to larger tractor-like or pull-behind machinery:

  • Spike aerators simply poke a hole down into the soil with a solid, spike-like tine. Some homeowners wear spiked aerator “sandals” strapped to their shoes to aerate as they do yard work. While these can help on a small scale, spike machines can make compaction worse by pressing soil together around the holes. 1
  • Slicing aerators have rotating blades that cut or slice through grass and thatch and down into soil. Like spike aerators, slicing aerators leave soil in the ground, but they create pathways for air, water and nutrients without causing more compaction.
  • Core or plug aerators, typically preferred by lawn professionals, use rows of hollow tines that remove plugs of soil from your lawn and deposit them on top, where they break down. The size of the plugs and the holes they create vary in width and depth, depending on the machine used.

You can hire a lawn service to aerate for you or do it yourself like a pro. Equipment rental companies and lawn and garden stores often rent aerator machines and provide basic operating instructions for the model you choose. Aerating is a lot like mowing as you work back and forth across your lawn. Concentrate on any known problem areas, like pet runs or backyard baseball diamonds. Make several passes in different directions to help ensure optimal coverage and benefits.

How to aerate a yard

What to Do After Aeration

After you finish aerating your lawn, let soil plugs or extra soil dry where they fall. They’ll break down in rain or crumble the next time you mow, adding beneficial soil and organic matter to your lawn surface.

Right after aeration is a perfect time to overseed with premium Pennington Smart Seed and fertilize your lawn or do simple lawn repairs. Seeds and nutrients have direct contact with soil through the openings your aerator created and roots have fresh pathways for the things they need. The combination can help put your lawn on the fast track for quick seed establishment and thicker, lusher growth.

By adding aeration to your annual task list or doing regular compaction tests to check for need, you help ensure your lawn can reach its full potential for thickness, health and beauty. Pennington is committed to providing you with the finest in grass seed and lawn care products to help you achieve your lawn goals.

Pennington and Smart Seed are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.

As fall rolls in, one of the most important lawn maintenance tasks you need to consider is aeration, and overseeding. The process of aeration and overseeding is simple and is easily explained in this infographic. Learn how to aerate and overseed in 5 easy to follow steps. Let's check it out!

When is the best time of the year to aerate?

Most lawn care pros say that fall is the best time to aerate your lawn. It’s simple, aerating, and overseeding in the fall gives your grass plenty of time to establish itself before the more strenuous hot weather rolls in. However, early spring can work well too.

What do I do to prepare my lawn for aeration?

The first step to preparing your lawn for aeration is to clean up your yard. Remove any toys, sticks, or other obstacles. Then you will want to cut your lawn. Ideally, you want to cut the lawn a bit lower than you typically do so that the grass seed is more likely to find its way into a hole.

What is the best type of aerator?

For almost any situation, the best aerator is a core aerator., or a hollow tined aerator. Unlike the solid tine aerators, hollow tines actually de-compact the soil and bring nutrients from deeper down to the surface of your lawn.

What does it mean to overseed the lawn?

Overseeding is simply the process of seeding over a lawn that already exists. The practice fills in patches, makes thin lawns thicker, and creates an all-around greener lawn.

Why is it important to rake in the seed after overseeding the lawn?

Raking in the seed gives the seed a better chance of germinating successfully. By raking in the grass seed, you reduce the seed's exposure to direct sunlight and provide it cover to retain moisture. This allows the grass seed to germinate without getting too hot or too dry.

At the end of the day, aeration and overseeding are excellent ways to green up your lawn. By decompacting your soil, allowing nutrients to reach deeper, and planting new grass. Your lawn will be thicker, fuller, and greener in no time!

For more great lawn care and landscaping, tips check out our lawn care blog . In the meantime be sure to share this infographic with your friends and family, so you can make your neighborhood a little bit greener.

Aeration is the process of getting oxygen to plant roots. Learn how to reinvigorate your compacted lawn through aeration.

Skill Level

Start to Finish

Tools

  • rake
  • irrigation system
  • shovel
  • core aerator

Materials

  • empty tin can
  • water
  • turf fertilizer
  • grass seed
  • compost
  • marking flags
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Use an Aerator to Revitalize Compacted Lawns. 01:04

Introduction

Determine the Need for Lawn Aeration

If you have noticed that your turfgrass isn’t looking its best or that water has difficulty penetrating through the soil surface, it may be time to aerate your lawn. Clay soils and lawns that bear heavy foot and vehicle traffic are especially notorious for needing aeration as they become compacted over time. Using a shovel, dig a square-foot section of grass about six inches deep and examine. If the grass roots don’t extend further than two inches deep into the soil, your lawn would benefit from aeration.

Note: Don’t aerate a lawn that has been seeded or sodded within one year of planting.

Step 1

Prepare the Lawn for Aeration

Water the lawn thoroughly one to two days prior to aerating your lawn. Apply at least 1″ of water to the grass; this can be measured by placing an empty tuna can in the middle of the watering zone. If the can is full, then 1″ of water has been applied to the grass. Watering the lawn will help the aerator penetrate the soil and pull out soil cores much more easily. Flag irrigation heads and other hidden objects in the lawn so that you will avoid them when operating the aerator over this area. If you do not have an irrigation system, use a garden hose and sprinkler to water the lawn.

Note: Depending on your climate, the best time of the year to aerate cool-season grass, such as fescue, bluegrass or rye, is in August through October when the grass is breaking its dormancy and begins the period of active growth; the best time to aerate warm-season grass, such as Bermuda, Zoysia or St. Augustine, is April through June.

How to aerate a yard

Aerating your lawn is a fairly simple and easy process that can be done by almost anyone, and below is a step by step guide illustrating how to properly aerate your soil. the day before you plan to aerate your lawn, wet the earth significantly (applying about an inch of water to the ground will sufficiently soften the soil). 6 steps to aerate your lawn [diy how to] whether you’re an avid gardener or just looking to renovate your own lawn, you may have heard of aerating your soil. it’s an easy, simple, and quick process that can reap your garden or lawn massive benefits in a comparatively short amount of time. Lawn aeration promotes lush, green grass, but it is a task that is often overlooked by many homeowners. this home depot project guide offers step by step instructions on how to aerate your lawn, for fresh, nutrient dense grass. other reasons your lawn may need aerating. compaction of soil is the main reason you could need to aerate your lawn but it is not the only one. you may need to aerate. Lawn aeration promotes lush, green grass, but it is a task that is often overlooked by many homeowners. this home depot project guide offers step by step instructions on how to aerate your lawn, for fresh, nutrient dense grass. 2 aerate the soil. fall is also a great time to aerate your lawn so that oxygen, water, nutrients and fertilizer can easily reach the grass roots. you can rent a gas powered, walk behind lawn aerator for about $70 per day. the self propelled machine will quickly punch holes into the soil and extract plugs of dirt.

How to aerate a yard

6 Steps To Aerate Your Lawn Diy How To Prince Gardening

6 steps to aerate your lawn diy how prince gardening. beginner gardening diy lawn core plug aerator for very small amount of grass 2 by danjcla. an aerator for a healthier lawn nickell al tool and equipment. the 3 best lawn aerators manual and machine. agri fab smartlink 13 in plug aerator 45 0474 the. beginner gardening diy lawn core plug. Aerate the lawn using your chosen tool. if it's a spike aerator, make at least two passes over the lawn, each in a different direction. if using a plug aerator, just one pass is needed. leave any soil plugs on the lawn; they will return nutrients to the soil as they decompose. fertilize your lawn or apply a top dressing of compost. 7. reclaimed wood lawn aerator. 1. repurposed oil drum aerator. this diy aerator is made from a five gallon oil drum and it’s pretty simple to put together. once the spikes are in place, you add a handle and wheels and then just push the aerator through your yard to keep your soil and grass healthy.

Regardless of where you live and what type of turf grass you’re working with, aeration can help your lawn be healthier and more beautiful. The trick is knowing when it’s best to aerate, what equipment to use, and what else you can do to encourage the vigor of your grass. Additionally, aerating can also assist in limiting weeds’ ability to gain a foothold in the lawn.

According to Josh Friell, Ph. D, of The Toro Company’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology, aeration introduces temporary stress to the turf. Recovery time is closely linked to growing conditions and annual growth cycles. As a result, it’s important to keep those considerations in mind when determining an annual aerification plan.

When is the Best Time to Aerate?

Aeration is best performed just before or during periods of high growth. However, not immediately preceding or during periods of stress to the lawn. For example, heat or drought. The type of grasses that make up your lawn will determine the best time of year to aerate.

When to Aerate if You Have Cool-Season Grasses: If you’re working with cool-season grasses, including bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass, aerating during the growth periods in the spring and fall is best.

When to Aerate if You Have Warm-Season Grasses: For warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, buffalograss, St. Augustine and zoysiagrass, aerate during warm times of the year, between late-spring and early-autumn.

Considerations for Aerating in the Spring: In the spring, wait until you’ve mowed the lawn a few times before aerating. Doing so ensures the lawn will grow fast enough to recover and take advantage of the increased pore space and air exchange at the root zone that aeration creates.

One caveat, says Friell, is that any disturbance of the root zone in the spring can increase weed competition by bringing buried seeds to the surface. “Applying fertilizer and a pre-emergent weed killer following aeration can reduce the potential for weed competition and increase the hardiness of the grasses. But don’t apply a weed killer if you plan to overseed following aeration. It will prevent germination of the seed you put down.”

Considerations for Aerating in the Fall: “Aeration should be performed early enough in the fall that the turf can recover before it needs to prepare for winter dormancy,” Friell said.

How Frequently Should You Aerate Your Lawn? As for frequency, Friell said aeration should be performed at least once per year on most lawns. Lawns with compacted soil or soil with high clay content may benefit from aeration twice annually.

3 Things To Do After Aerating Your Lawn:

  1. Watering after aeration is always a good idea. As Friell said, lawns should not be aerated when turf is wet, or the dirt contains enough moisture to be muddy.
  2. Apply an application of fertilizer and weed killer shortly following aeration. However, be sure to skip the weed killer if you’re going to overseed following aeration. after aeration so seeds can take advantage of the disturbed surface. This creates better seed-to-soil contact, which encourages successful germination.

Sources:

When to Aerate Your Lawn“, Bayer Advanced, Web. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016

Day, Julie, “Spring Lawn Care Guide“, TodaysHomeowner.com, Web. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016

Fresenburg, Brad S. “Spring Lawn Care — Aeration, Fertility and Crabgrass Control“, University of Missouri Integrated Pest Management, Web. March 15, 2012

Juror, Richard and Wallace, Greg, “Properly Aerating Lawns“, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Web. Aug. 12, 2015

To revitalize your grass, you may consider aerating and overseeding, or creating holes in your soil to plant fresh seedlings. In fact, when done correctly, aerating and overseeding can be extremely beneficial to the wellbeing of your turf. Unfortunately, mistakes can be all too easy to make— and could cost time and money, with little return.

Be sure to avoid these seven aeration and overseeding mistakes to get the thick, healthy look you desire:

How to aerate a yard

1. You don’t choose the right equipment.

We’ve all seen the do-it-yourselfers walking across their lawn in cleats, poking holes in the soil. Instead of investing in an aeration machine, they think aerating is just about creating holes— but actually, the concentrated force of stepping with a spiked shoe further compacts your soil. Even spike aerators, which use a solid tine or fork to poke holes, can cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes.

For best results, use a plug aerator, which removes a core, or plug, of grass and soil from your lawn. Look for an aerating tool or machine that removes soil plugs approximately two to three inches deep and roughly half to three quarters of an inch in diameter, about two to three inches apart.

2. You don’t know how to use your aeration machine and accidentally damage your turf.

After you choose the right aeration equipment, much of the success of your new growth will be the result of how well you operate the aerator. Walk-behind aerators are a common choice but can be heavy to push. Large lawns can mean achy arms and sloppy navigating, resulting in inconsistent growth.

How to aerate a yard

In addition, during each turn, you must disengage the tines by lifting up from the handle to prevent damaging the turf. This can be time-consuming, so instead, some operators will lift and spin the whole unit when it’s time to turn, potentially causing compaction and bare spots later on. Make sure you choose the right machine and understand how to use it to ensure the best results for your lawn.

3. You aerate and overseed during the wrong time of the year.

The proper time to aerate is when new life has the greatest chance to grow in your region. You wouldn’t want to aerate and overseed too early, before the last frost hits for example, and kill the seeds. You also wouldn’t want to do it during the peak of a hot summer, when the harsh sun and temperature suppress new growth.

For cool-season grasses, common in northern lawns, aerate early fall or spring. Warm-season grasses, common to southern lawns, grow best in the late spring or very early summer. Not sure which applies to you? Here in Pennsylvania, cool air and moist soil in the fall and spring make it the perfect time to lay fresh turf, helping to build greater resistance against disease, insects, and drought.

How to aerate a yard

4. You aerate and overseed during dry conditions.

Aerating is easy on your turf, and you, when your soil is slightly moist. Overly dry and compact soil is harder to penetrate and requires more manual effort to push the machinery. Especially during times of drought when you grass is already stressed, it’s best to wait until the day after a good rainfall before aerating.

5. You don’t keep your lawn moist after aerating and overseeding.

After planting the seeds, you must make sure they’re covered with moist soil— at least a fourth of an inch— to foster growth. A common mistake rookie aerators and overseeders make is thinking that the natural rain cycle will provide all the water you need, but a few days without moisture could mean bad news for a new seed.

For about three weeks after seeding, or until the grass begins to peek out of the dirt, set a daily watering schedule. Once the grass has gained a little height, you can ease back to your normal pattern.

6. You mow too soon.

After you lay down your seedlings, they’ll need time and the right environmental protection to grow. They’ll need to acclimate and set roots before the first mow, so during the first two to four weeks post aerating and overseeding, don’t mow. This time varies depending on your area and the type of grass you planted; for example, fescue and ryegrass typically take about 10 to 14 days to germinate, while Kentucky bluegrass might take up to four weeks. A lawn care professional can advise you on the right timespan.

How to aerate a yard

During this sensitive time of growth, try to allow avoid heavy foot traffic on your property, which could compact the seeds too deeply. Once the grass reaches about three to three and half inches, you can fire up the mower for a fresh cut.

7. You fight weeds too early.

Weed control can work wonders keeping invasive growth at bay on a healthy turf, but chemicals and herbicides can harm seeding’s roots and fresh blades. Even organic and natural solutions can cause stress on the young plants, so it’s often best to wait until your grass is strong before laying down any weed control substances. We advise waiting until you’ve mowed your new grass four to five times before tackling any emerging weeds.

Sometimes, It’s Better to Trust a Professional

Being mindful of these seven aeration and overseeding mistakes can certainly help create the beautiful turf you long for, but landscape maintenance can be time-consuming— and there’s a lot of dos and don’ts along the way!

A lawn care professional will know the right equipment and understand the needs of your unique property. Our team at Caramanico is here to get the job done right and prepare your turf for vibrant growth for your commercial property. Give us a call at 610.499.1640 or fill out this form to get a free property assessment today.

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So you have decided you want to aerate your lawn and after looking into it you have decided the simplest way to do it is with a garden pitchfork.

Whichever way you choose to aerate your lawn you will greatly improve the health of it so I would definitely recommend it as a procedure you should build into your annual lawn maintenance routine, especially if you have children trampling all over your beautiful lawn.

I have used a garden fork to aerate my lawn many times as it is you would presume the simplest way to do it, just grab a fork and stick it into your lawn, simple eh?

Aerating your lawn with a garden fork is not as simple or easy as you may think it is.

In this article, I will tell you what I have learned from my experiences in aerating my beautiful lush green lawn with a fork and this might help you understand why I no longer use the garden fork method for lawn aeration.

It definitely does work and will improve the health of your lawn but there are some drawbacks I will tell you about so read on to find out about them…

To aerate your lawn with a pitch fork simply stick it in the ground through the thatch and down to the roots level. Move the fork 6 inches and do it again. Continue this process in straight lines either up and down or across your lawn until it is all covered in aeration holes.

The Best Technique To Aerate Your Lawn With A Fork

So you have decided you are going ahead with what you presume is the simplest way to aerate your lawn and that is to carry out the process with a pitchfork.

  • The first thing you should do is mow your lawn as it just makes the process a whole lot simpler when you can see the holes you have created.
  • Then work out your plan of attack, you want to be going in straight lines either up and down or across your lawn.
  • Start sticking the pitchfork in the ground down through the thatch layer and down to the roots of your lawn, stick it in as far as it will easily go.
  • Whether you are going up and down or across you should make the holes a distance of 4-6 inches apart when you are aerating your lawn.
  • Carry out this process across your whole lawn using this methodical technique and you should see a massive improvement in the health of your lawn.

There you have it, that’s the best technique to aerate your lawn with a pitchfork.

Read on to find out some details from my experience that might make you consider a different method.

Is It Hard Work To Aerate With A Fork

Honestly, aerating your lawn with a fork can be extremely hard work.

If you are not in good shape I would not recommend doing this method of lawn aeration.

So you have a small lawn that is maybe only 6-8 square meters then yeah it’s fine, get a pitchfork and get stuck into aerating your lawn. If you have a large lawn as I do and you are not in good shape like me, I definitely would not recommend using a fork for lawn aeration.

I have used the fork technique many times when I used to have a small lawn but now I have a rather large lawn and I did attempt to aerate it with a fork for the first time when I moved and I promised myself, never again.

I remember my thoughts after I had aerated a couple of meters and they were thoughts of pure dread at how much effort it was taking to slowly cover my rather large lawn in holes.

The effort it took was incredible and it really did use every ounce of energy I could muster to complete the task but that was just the beginning.

The days after I had exhausted myself by aerating my massive lawn with a fork was where the real pain occurred.

After aerating my lawn every muscle in my body ached for days and even muscles I never knew existed ached, also, my knees ached which must have been from stamping the fork in the ground, my back and neck also ached for days.

This is why I now recommend using a fork to aerate your lawn only if you have a small lawn and never if you have a large lawn.

How Long Will It Take To Aerate A Lawn With A Fork

It really is not a quick job to aerate your whole lawn with a fork, especially if you are so exhausted by doing it that you have to stop for regular cups of tea or freshly squeezed lemon juice.

If you are a super fit person with muscles then the time it takes to aerate your lawn could be dramatically reduced.

  • 2 minutes per square meter + tea breaks if you are unfit
  • 1 minute per square meter if you are a fit person

When I used to use the pitchfork method to aerate my lawn, I would set aside an afternoon to do it knowing that I could go at as relaxing of a pace as possible and have time for tea breaks.

I do find it really hard work which is why I don’t use this method anymore and have invested in affordable equipment to make it a whole lot easier to carry out what is a vital task if your lawn gets trampled on.

Read on and in the final section, I will tell you about what options are available to make this difficult task much easier for you.

Other Lawn Aeration Equipment

  • Spike aerators – A spike aerator is exactly what it sounds like, a piece of equipment with a spike on it that will make a small hole in the ground. The problem with spike aerators is that the will make a hole but they simply push the soil sideways which can actually make the ground more compact.
  • Core aerators – A core aerator is the ultimate piece of equipment for lawn aeration if you ask me. When you push a core aerator into the ground it will remove a core of soil, the same way you remove the core of an apple. The advantage of this is that the soil doesn’t get pushed sideways and compacted even more, it removes the core which will make your lawn less compacted long term.

There you have it, you now have the knowledge you require if you want to go ahead and aerate your lawn with a fork and you know what to expect and why I now use a top of the range core aerator.

Meet The Author

Hello, my name is Samantha Bray and this is my blog. I have enjoyed gardening ever since i was a little kid 20+ years ago so i decided to make this blog out of my hobby, please have a browse and enjoy my work.

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