Turftime Equipment Blog

The Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn

The best time to aerate your lawn is usually after all the kids in the neighborhood are through using it for a playground. It’s important to know about the ideal times for aeration, because those are the times when it will have the most positive impact on your lawn. If the playground usage happens to come in the early spring or fall, so much the better. When your lawn gets a great deal of traffic, as mine does, it can cause a lot of extra compaction of the soil layer near the surface, and that can make it very difficult for grass roots to penetrate the soil, to get the nutrients they need. Springtime is generally when to aerate your lawn, as well as when to fertilize your lawn, but it is true that aeration is a good idea following a prolonged period of compaction, such as from extra traffic.

Why You Should Aerate

You should aerate your lawn when any of the following circumstances are true:

  • There is a sod covering over your native soil, which causes layering that disrupts drainage. Aerating your lawn will break up the layering effect, and allow grass to grow as it should.
  • You have a new home, and the topsoil was stripped away during construction. The soil underneath that topsoil is likely to be clay or fill, and that does not contain the necessary nutrients for your grass to grow correctly. In this situation, you should also fertilize your lawn.
  • Your lawn dries out quickly and feels spongy afterward. This probably indicates a thatch issue, and you can check on this by shoveling out a chunk of soil four inches deep. When the layer of thatch is more than 1/2″ deep, you should aerate.
  • Your lawn gets a great deal of traffic, which will tend to compact the soil and make proper growth difficult.

Types of Aerators

There are two basic types of aeration machines, plug aerators and spike aerators. Spike aerators operate by inserting tines into the ground to create a slim hole to a certain depth. Plug aerators work by actually removing plugs of soil, usually two or three inches deep. Plug aerators are considered to be much superior to spike aerators, because they accomplish the task of aerating the soil better, with actual removal of soil plugs. The tine insertion method of a spike aerator may actually lead to greater soil compaction in the immediate areas surrounding the holes. For best results, stick with plug aerators.

Lawn Aeration Tips

Here are some tips you should observe when aerating your lawn, so as to achieve the maximum benefit from the process:

  • Try to aerate after a rain, so the ground is moist and receptive to aeration
  • Break up the plugs which are removed from the soil during aeration, after allowing them to dry. They should then be returned to the soil by pounding them with the back side of a rake or shovel, or running your lawn mower over them.
  • Most aeration machines tend to cover a relatively small surface area with a single pass, so make sure you pass over each section multiple times to get proper aeration. If you are in need of an aerator, your best bet is to review the three full lines of aerators offered by Turftime Equipment, the Advantage Aerators, the Estate Aerators, and the Pro Series Aerators.
  • Don’t worry about destroying any herbicides which you have already put down on your lawn – aeration will not disturb them.
  • Following your aeration project, make sure to maintain your lawn as normal, with fertilizing, watering, and regular mowing.

Lawn Fertilizing Tips

So that you can maximize your lawn fertilization efforts, you should follow these tips:

  • Use a slow-release type of fertilizer
  • Granular fertilizer is best to use, because it can easily be distributed by a spreader
  • Plan to fertilize between four and five times during the year, with the first application coming in April
  • Make sure to water your lawn frequently, because the more fertilizer you put down, the more water it will need
  • Use care when filling up your spreader, because if you spill a lot of fertilizer in one place, it will burn out the grass in that area
  • Do not over-apply the fertilizer – it’s best to start out by applying half the amount recommended on the bag label
  • Sweep up excess fertilizer, so it doesn’t accumulate in one spot on your lawn.

Aerating and Fertilizing Your Lawn the Right Way

If all the kids in the neighborhood continue to congregate in your yard for play, it doesn’t have to spell the end of your beautiful-looking lawn. By fertilizing several times in the spring, and by aerating at about the same time, your grass can be provided with all the elements it needs from the soil, so it can maintain good health. Use a granular fertilizer and make sure to use a plug aerator when you get around to soil aeration. The best aeration machines can be purchased from Turftime Equipment, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 800-201-1031, or fill out a contact form to get started today!

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