Lawn Aeration – Greenskeeper’s Secret Weapon

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Lawn Aeration – Greenskeeper’s Secret Weapon


Ever wondered how greens-keepers keep the golf course grass so healthy and lush? One of their secrets is aeration. Aerating does several things that are beneficial to your grass. It improves drainage, opens up existing thatch, and improves the environment for microorganisms that naturally break down thatch. This combined effort allows water and oxygen to reach the grass roots, relieves soil compaction, and greatly improves the root system.

Aeration Equipment

There are several possibilities for lawn aeration equipment. You can use a core aerator, solid blade aerator, cavex rake or aeration shoes. I can only recommend using a core aerator or cavex rake because it is by far the best choice for the job. The solid blade aerators and aeration shoes simply poke holes in the soil without removing cores which can actually contribute to soil compaction and has minimal effects on the thatch layer. A core aerator punches a hole in the ground and removes a cylindrical plug of grass and soil. A child might mistaken it for dog poop!

When to Aerate

Timing is very important when it comes to aerating. You should aerate during the grass’s peak growth season just like dethatching. For warm season grasses that is in the spring and cool season grasses in late summer to early fall. Also, keep in mind that aerating exposes your lawn to weed growth, so you might want to put out a pre-emergence herbicide after performing aeration.

How to Aerate

You can either perform this job yourself by renting an aerator from you local garden store or rental shop or you can hire a professional lawn care company like Scotts to do the job.

Begin with these steps:

  • Lightly water the lawn beforehand to make the job easier.
  • Mark all pipes, sprinkler heads, and wires.
  • Make two passes at a right angle to the first.
  • After the cores dry, break up and work back into the soil.

Wait a couple weeks and you should begin to notice the positive effects of your job on the lawn.

Tip: There are ways to help prevent the need for aeration or at least increase the time between jobs. You can create stone walkways where the lawn receives the most traffic, mow often enough to maintain the 1/3 rule, and avoid driving heavy vehicles on the lawn.


The Rumford Gardener LA5000 Lawn Aerator Sandals



Yard Butler M-7C Lawn Spike Aerator


Liquid Lawn Aeration

Ever heard of liquid Aerify? If mechanical aeration sounds like too much work, this might be what you are looking for. Aerify covers all of your soil instead of six inches or so apart and it can have a deeper impact than even a core aerator with several applications. It also allows your to aerate without thinning out your grass with all the missing plugs. So how does this liquid soil aerator work? It is ionized which makes it cling to and break up soil. Did I mention that it is also a cheaper alternative than renting a machine? I recommend giving it a try and seeing how it works on your lawn.

Author Bio

Matt Morrison is a lawn expert, homeowner, and website hobbyist from Texas. He enjoys working on his own lawn and helping others make their lawn the best it can be. You can read more of his articles here.

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  1. Matt;
    After aerations and overseeding, what type of material is generally required for top dressing? I have a lot of clay in my yard.

  2. Georgia Lawn

    Aeration in Georgia is so critical. Due to the compacted clay soil, turf simply has a difficult time thriving without core aerating each year. For higher quality lawns, twice a year is vital. The golf courses aerate monthly in season, why not a home lawn?

  3. Hi guys,
    Can you tell me more about liquid lawn aerators? How they work along with information on brands, types and where to buy would be great.

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