The great thing and horrible thing about grass is that it grows. You might find yourself grumbling as you have to start up the lawnmower, but it also means you’ll get fresh, green grass year after year. However, season after season your grass can gain a heavy buildup of dead grass (known as thatch), or the soil can be stomped flat by use. This compact thatch and soil can block air, water, and nutrients, causing your grass to starve. Today we’ll look at aerating basics and the right time for lawn aeration.
What is Lawn Aeration?
Aeration involves using a tool (usually a spike aerator or a plug aerator) that opens holes in the dense soil and sod that allows air, water, and lawn nutrients to reach the root structure of plants. Not only will this help struggling grass get better, but it will also promote deeper grass roots for a healthier lawn.
You Should Aerate Your Lawn If…
While all lawns will benefit from a lawn aeration, there are several conditions that aeration can help solve or mitigate.
- High Traffic: If your lawn sees a lot of feet on it, the soil will get compacted and strangle grass growth. Especially important for green areas in parks, apartments, and multi-family homes.
- Newly Constructed: Even if the contractors laid down grass seed, the lots of newly built homes have been compacted by construction equipment and traffic.
- Dry, Spongy Lawn: Your lawn may have an excessive buildup of thatch around the roots. Take a cross-section of your lawn: if the thatch is greater than 1/2 an inch, time to aerate.
When to Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration should be done during the growing season where the grass can fill in the aeration holes or plugs. For most of New England, your grass will be cool season grass, which makes either the early spring or late fall are perfect times for lawn aeration. We recommend the fall, as it also makes a great time for seeding for winter.