Can you hurt or damage your lawn with over aeration?
Like any living organism, your lawn has a set of basic needs that must be met in order to thrive. The fundamentals that promote the lush green yard you’ve always dreamed of are proper watering and mowing practices, adequate nutrients, sufficient sunlight, and a suitable soil environment for roots to grow.
If you’ve perfected your mowing, watering, and fertilization practices but your lawn is not flourishing the way it should, your soil may require aeration. There is much to gain from lawn aeration, such as reducing compaction and associated puddling, managing thatch levels which can harbor unwanted pests, and increasing turf density and root growth.
This article will help you decide if aeration is the right next step for your lawn. We will cover why it’s needed, when you should aerate your lawn, and what will happen if you aerate too much or not enough.
How often should you aerate your lawn?
The rule of thumb is to aerate your lawn annually. This is especially true if the soil is unusually compacted. Golf courses often aerate multiple times during the year because of traffic from players and golf carts. This is especially true along high traffic areas such as greens and tees where wear and compaction can occur at a higher degree. We recommend having a lawn care expert assess your lawn and its soil condition to make the best decision on how often you should aerate your lawn.
When you may need to aerate your lawn more often
Lawns with especially compact soil may require more frequent aeration. Compacted soil is very hard, doesn't allow much water to soak into the soil, nor the air exchange required for healthy root growth. Additionally, fertilizers have a tough time penetrating the soil under compacted or thatchy conditions. Soils with high clay and silt content are more prone to compaction because of their small particle size and texture. If you live in an area with high clay content, you should aerate more often. Aeration is also a proactive way to limit thatch build-up, which when left unchecked, can be unhealthy for lawns as it naturally repels water, harbors harmful pests, and can be detrimental to turf root growth. By aerating annually, thatch accumulation can be maintained.
To determine how often you should aerate your lawn, we recommend consulting a TruGreen lawn care professional to evaluate your lawn and soil condition. We recommend also reading this short, expert guide - get to know your soil texture.
When is it not recommended to aerate your lawn?
Your lawn needs time to adjust and regrow after aeration, which is why winter should be avoided as your lawn is in its dormant state. Grass simply won't grow and thrive if the ground is very wet or cold. For cool season grasses, summer should be avoided as it is a stressful time for lawns that grow and thrive in cooler temperatures.
At TruGreen, we schedule aeration for time periods when the turf will be actively growing, so it can spread and fill in the holes created by aeration. For cool season turf, this is usually in the fall. For warm season turf, this is usually late-spring and early-summer.
Your lawn’s healing process after aeration
Every lawn is unique, but proper post-aeration care can help provide the right environment for your lawn to recuperate and respond best to the aeration process. For post-aeration care, keep mowing as usual and provide about an inch of irrigation per week, so the lawn doesn't dry out. To help cool season lawns recuperate quicker, TruGreen experts recommend overseeding alongside aeration to help improve turf density, which helps naturally crowd out weeds. Those small plugs of topsoil that were removed during the aeration process have created the optimal environment for germinating new seeds. It is recommended to irrigate lightly every few days to prevent the seed from drying out. After you see the new seed germinating and growing, resume your regular watering schedule. Read our pre and post overseeding guide to learn more.
TruGreen knows what’s best to help your lawn bounce back after aeration and will breathe life into your new and improved lawn. Find out about our professional aeration and overseeding service and give your lawn the best care possible.