Many homeowners wonder, “Do you really need to aerate your lawn?” While the short answer is yes, this article goes into the details of what lawn aeration actually is. It can help out your lawn tremendously and bring out the real greens in your yard. Not only that, but it’s a relatively simple process that can usually be done in an afternoon and then you can reap the benefits all year round. This article will go over the best time to aerate and overseed lawns in your area.

”My mom said the only reason men are alive is for lawn care and vehicle maintenance.” - Tim Allen

Do I Need to Aerate My Lawn Every Year?

It's a pain, but it will really help out your grass and soil
It makes the soil so much easier to work with. Source: HGTV

Do you really need to aerate your lawn? Yes, you need to aerate your lawn because loose soil allows grass and plant life to breathe - literally. If you can’t sink half your shovel into your lawn with relative ease, your yard is suffocating your plants. To remedy this, have your lawn aerated, either by yourself or a pro, and get the most out of your soil. Here are some early warning signs that your lawn is in desperate need of aeration.

  1. Patchwork areas
  2. Thin or bare grass
  3. If you can’t easily stick a screwdriver in the dirt
  4. Heavy clay soil
  5. Think thatch layers
  6. Vehicles that have parked on the yard recently
  7. Water puddles on lawn during rain

What Is Aeration?

The mechanized lawn aerator
The more high tech alternative. Source: Family handyman

Very generally speaking, the act of aeration is literally getting air into your soil. This helps with the growth of all plant life that currently have roots in that soil, and it gives them room to breathe.

Lawn aeration is done by perforating your soil with small holes, thus allowing air, water, and most importantly, nutrients into the soil. But the main purpose of lawn aeration is to stop soil compaction. When soil is compacted, it prevents water, nutrients, and air from reaching your plants. So have your lawn aerated every growing season, especially if:

  • Sod had been installed
  • Soil layering had been done
  • The soil has dried out
  • The home was a new construction
  • Your yard sees a lot of use

What Is Thatch?

The more low tech alternative
Yes, they actually make aeration shoes. Source: HGTV

Simply speaking, thatch is the term applied to the layer of both living and dead materials between the soil of your yard and where the actual grass takes root. If you thought of it in terms of layers, it would go grass blades > turf > thatch > roots > soil.

But the thatch is where the magic happens.

Too much or too thick of a thatch layer and the soil constricts around the grass roots, whereas lawn aeration with thin that layer out, providing nutrients and strengthening the roots. When people ask “do you really need to aerate your lawn?” The answer is yes, because the thatch has to be maintained for positive growth.

Heavy Usage

Now one of the most important factors in regular aeration and maintenance depends on how frequently you use your yard. If you have kids, or pets, or a green thumb in the family, it is absolutely required to have the best lawn aerator work possible to keep your yard happy and healthy.

This is why professional athletic fields require more aeration than civilian lawns. Heavy use means more compact soil, which in turn leads to less nutrient, air, and water distribution. Again, the same can be said for lawns that have a vehicle parked on them.

Using a Lawn Aerator

The best way to care for your lawn
Look at how green that grass is. Source: Amazon

Here’s where a determined DIYer can really shine. The very first step will be in determining if you want to use a manual or motorized aerator. This factor is mostly determined by what lawn aerator for sale you can find.

Before you begin, it helps to mark off the septic lines, irrigation lines, and sprinkler system with little flags. It would be a shame to cause damage to your property just by trying to help your lawn out. In any case, here’s a step-by-step on how to aerate your lawn.

  1. For relatively loose soil (that you can sink a shovel into with ease) just do one pass along your mower’s path
  2. For more compact soil, do one pass along the mower’s route, and then do another at an angle
  3. Aim to create roughly twenty to thirty holes per square foot
  4. Leave the soil plugs in the yard to decompose
  5. Fertilize immediately after aeration, as this is when your lawn can absorb the most
  6. Water your lawn a few extra times after aerating

So do you really need to aerate your lawn? Yes. Want to get on top of that? Contact a professional today to get a free quote and get started.

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