Garden Advice

Benefits of Lawn Aeration and How it’s Done

You want a beautiful and lush lawn, but somehow it doesn’t work? You fertilize, water and mow your lawn thoroughly, but it keeps fading? Are you sure you’re doing your best? 

Sometimes all of this is not enough – you should put more effort into it, and think about lawn aeration. If you are not familiar with the benefits of aeration and the term itself, then keep reading!

Table of Contents:

What is lawn aeration?

Technically speaking, aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes by forking the lawn or removing small plugs of thatch. The process depends on the tools, which we will cover later. 

The main reason for aeration is to ease soil compaction and improve air, water and nutrients circulation in the soil. Over time, your lawn can become compacted due to heavy rains or simply being walked on. When thatch and organic debris take over the soil, this process of transmission is impossible, and as a result, grassroots don’t receive these essential elements and can’t grow healthy.

Aeration is often included in a lawn care service, so if you’re not sure how to perform it, the experts can help.

What is the purpose of soil aeration?

Aerating the lawn can deliver a lot of benefits. Besides helping the transmission of water, air and nutrients, aeration can help make your lawn less susceptible to diseases like fusarium and red thread. If you are not convinced yet, here are some reasons why you should aerate your lawn:

  • Enhances thatch breakdown – as we said, if the thatch layer becomes too thick, it can rob your grass of necessary nutrients.
  • Reduces soil compaction – by removing cores, soil density is decreased, and all the needed elements easily reach your lawn’s root system.
  • Helps the overseeding process – by creating a moist and optimal environment for seedlings and their growth.
  • Prevents waterlogging and enhances heat and drought stress tolerance.
  • Prepares the grass for seasonal climate changes – aeration before autumn fertilization will help the nutrients soak in more efficiently and will give them a boost to overcome summer droughts.
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How often should you aerate your lawn?

Most residential lawns will benefit from yearly aeration. How many times your lawn needs aeration depends on soil compaction, like you might find in clay. For example, golf fairways may need the aeration process at least five times per year. So, you should determine if your lawn becomes compacted by the heavy rains and walking on it.

When should I aerate my lawn?

The most popular seasons to aerate are spring and autumn. This will give the lawn an extra boost through the hot and cold seasons and help strengthen the root system. The best time to aerate a lawn is during the growing season when the grass can recover and take over the open areas caused by the aerator.

Want to know more about when you should take on different gardening jobs? Why not take a look at our helpful gardening calendar?

How to know if your lawn needs aeration?

Maybe your lawn doesn’t seem compacted, but it happens easier than you think. Your lawn probably needs immediate aeration if it:

  • Looks stressed and the grass seems weak and thin.
  • Has a spongy feel and dries out easily.
  • Is often used as a playground for kids and pets, which contributes to compaction.
  • Seems waterlogged and is often muddy.

Need help with aeration?

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How to aerate your lawn?

Finally, if you are convinced that your lawn requires aeration, here are some lawn aeration tips:

  • Make sure the soil is moist, water your lawn thoroughly or, for an even better effect, wait for heavy rain.
  • Make several passes over the most compacted areas, as most aeration machines cover a small part of the soil surface.
  • Let the excavated plugs dry (if you are using a hollow tine or core aerator) and break them up to give your lawn a neat look. Also, the plugs deposit a light coating of top dressing, which helps the thatch decompose.
  • After aeration, you should proceed with good lawn practices, like fertilizing, watering and mowing.

Spike or plug aerator, which is better?

Spike aerators simply poke a hole down into the soil. There are even lawn aerator sandals, with which you can create small holes in your grass, simply by walking onto it. Some people even aerate their lawn with a garden fork. Spike aerators can be effective but unfortunately can’t help you with larger areas.

Plug or core aerators, use rows of hollow tines to remove plugs from the soil. The size and depth depend on the machine – the deeper and closer the holes, the more receptive the lawn becomes.


  • Aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes or removing small plugs of thatch.
  • Aerating the lawn can deliver lots of benefits.
  • The most popular seasons to aerate are spring and autumn.
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