When should I aerate my lawn?

By | 29/11/2012
An Aerated Lawn

Aeration is one of the most beneficial treatments you can do to a lawn. Over time, all lawns will gradually become compacted through foot traffic, mowing and naturally through gravity and rainfall.

Aeration is the mechanical treatment to help alleviate this compaction by punching holes all over the lawn.

A basic lawn aeration can be carried out by hand using a manual aeration tool, or a garden fork, but this is extremely difficult and time consuming and hence is only really practical on the very smallest of lawns.

To aerate your lawn properly you need to use an aeration machine. These machines drive specially machined tines into the ground using their weight, combined with a mechanically driven spiking action. Even the smaller aeration machines suitable for domestic lawns need to weigh the best part of 100kg to be most effective!

This means that the priority for deciding on whether or not you can aerate your lawn rests on the condition of the soil, and whether or not it can withstand the weight of the machine without damage.

Whether or not you can aerate mostly depends on the condition of the soil!

If the lawn is too wet, then the machine will drive the air out of the soil, and make trenches with its wheels, causing the lawn to become uneven and compacted, damaging the grass and undoing all of the good work.

Conversely, if the lawn is too hard, say from drought, then it will be nearly impossible for the tines to penetrate the soil. The machine will just “walk” over the surface! It is also inadvisable to aerate your lawn during a frost. Then the wheels of the machine will damage the grass leaves, breaking the cell walls, killing the leaves.

Ideally, the soil should be moist underneath, but reasonably dry on the surface. This is when the treatment will be most effective.

Consider combining aeration with fertilisation!

Aeration is great for opening up the soil and allowing moisture down to the roots, and if you time it correctly, you can gain extra benefit and combine your aeration treatment with a fertilisation treatment. This will reduce any surface run off and, most importantly, allow the feed and nutrients to get down to the roots much more quickly.

The improvement in you lawn seen from a combined aeration and fertilisation treatment will be very dramatic, because the grass will see as expansion in the roots system due to the new space found in the soil and the fertilisation will encourage new growth extremely quickly, greening up your lawn, helping it to resist drought and become much more hard wearing. An aeration treatment is one of the very best treatments you can do to your lawn.

So, what time of year should I aerate my lawn?

The best months of the year to aerate your lawn, to gain the best effect would be in the spring or autumn, and combine it with a fertilisation treatment. However, if the situation in your lawn is critical (i.e. it is very compacted) then I would treat it at the first available opportunity and aerate it as soon as the environmental conditions are correct.

Time of year for an aeration treatment
– If conditions allow – Recommended time

On a compacted lawn, aeration is a priority!

I aerate lawns all year round, scheduling it for the best time for the particular lawn in question.

If you would like to book an aeration treatment for your lawn, would like your lawn measured for compaction, or would just like to discuss the available treatments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kris Lord

Next time: Should I use Hollow-tines or Solid-tines to aerate my lawn?

5 thoughts on “When should I aerate my lawn?

  1. Jon Fuller

    Anytime is fine BUT do it when it’s frosty your in for a very bumping ride also seed won’t take, also it’ll look terrible over winter and you’ll have to water it every day which will bring moss back, better leaving till later summer early autumn

  2. Anthony Boydston

    I have tunnel ants throughout my lawn leaving mounts everywhere. Will this in anyway help to rid the ants?

  3. Matt

    This is great information. Aeration is good for lawns anytime. I use manual coring aerator in my small size yard. It’s a little time consuming but works great if you do one small area at a time.


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