Maintaining a healthy and happy lawn is an important job for any homeowner. With a properly maintained lawn, you will see benefits in various aspects of your property and quality of life. One aspect of maintaining a proper habitat for your home’s outdoor space is the proper aeration of the lawn. In this post, we will be going over some expectations vs. realities associated with aerating the lawn, so that you are best prepared to complete the task when the time comes around.

Lawnovations is Tulsa’s trusted lawn care provider with over 20 years of proven experience. For any landscaping job big or small, trust us to handle what the others can’t. Read on to learn more about aeration and what to expect when taking on the task.

What is Aeration?

Aeration is the act of creating uniform and spaced out pores across the surface of the lawn. These are typically one inch in diameter and two inches deep, with around three inches of spacing in between each of the holes. Aeration can be done manually or with a machine, and this is likely based on the size of the lawn in question.

Frequency of Aeration

How often you need to aerate a lawn is something that causes great discussion and debate within the industry.

Assumption: Aerate the Lawn Every Year

You may be under the impression that your lawn will need to be aerated at the beginning of each spring. This is because after a long winter with little to no growth, the lawn looks like it is dead and not “breathing.” This is especially noticeable if there was a good amount of snowfall throughout the winter and the lawn looks like it was smothered for the past season. As a responsible homeowner, you will want to tend to the grass and let it breathe as soon as possible.

Reality: Aerate the Lawn Once Every Five Years, or as Needed

Most experts suggest only aerating the lawn every five years or so unless it is noticeable that the lawn needs it more often than that. The purpose of aeration is to break up compacted or dry soil that prevents the circulation of air in and out of the lawn. The problem is that when it is done too often, it can actually weaken and destabilize the integrity of the lawn and soil.

One way to notice if your lawn needs aeration that year is to monitor the response of the lawn after a rainstorm. If the lawn is clear and lush the next day, then you most likely do not need to aerate it at that time. However, if there are still puddles and residue floating on top of the soil, this signals that the soil underneath the grass is compacted and could use aeration to help break up the compaction.

Distance Between Aeration “Cores”

The spacing between each hole is a topic that gets discussed and tested to see what works best across most applications.

Assumption: the More Holes, the Better 

As a novice in lawn maintenance, you might assume that the more holes you add, the more your lawn can “breathe” and recover from the smothering known as winter. This can make sense, because really compacted soil is firm, and so breaking it up into more pieces may instigate a quicker recovery.

Reality: Follow the Guidelines Set Forth by Experts

Most experts can agree that aeration should be performed in a universal method. That method is to pull out plugs that are one inch in diameter, two inches in depth, and spaced three inches apart from each other. This has been a tried and tested method, and has led to many landscaping inventions.

For instance, if you browse your local gardening store for an aeration device, it is pretty standard that the devices will follow these dimensions. This is not from sheer coincidence or fate, but rather an immense testing and revisal history.

There’s no telling what might happen to your lawn if you add or subtract more holes from your aeration process, but it will lead to more work as you will not be able to utilize the tools invented for this specific process. Following the guidelines is the best way to minimize your workload and still gain the results sought after.

When to Aerate the Lawn

Knowing the proper time of the year to aerate the lawn can provide you with the knowledge needed to successfully complete the task on your own terms.

Assumption: Aerate the Lawn in the Spring

Based on numerous things you might have read, as well as your personal monitoring of the seasons and grass, you could assume that all grass would need to be aerated in the spring, if at all. This can make sense because winter is definitely the main instigator of soil compaction, along with the build-up of fall leaves smothering the surface.

Reality: Aeration Time Periods Vary Based on the Type of Grass

Grass is classified into two separate types based on geographic location. There are warm-season grasses, as well as cool-season grasses. Each of these types of grasses has varying growing periods, which in turn requires the aeration to match their specific requirements.

With cool-season grasses, aeration can be completed in either the early springtime (when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees) or in the late fall as a preparation for the wintertime.

With warm-season grasses, aeration should be completed in the late spring, right before the summer growing season begins.

While it doesn’t seem like the time difference between early and late spring would make a difference, it is important to know which type of grass is in your area so you can properly time your future aeration. Simple knowledge of whether your lawn has warm or cool-season grass can go a long way.

Aeration Support From Lawnovations

Lawn aeration is not the most simple lawn maintenance task. There are tons of variables that go into it to determine the success or failure of the entire operation. If you do not own your own aeration equipment, you can find them to be very expensive, even as rental equipment. For professional and expert aeration lawn services, be sure to contact Lawnovations today and see how we can help bring lush life back into your yard!