Just as you wouldn’t apply a winterizing fertilizer in July, or mow a lawn that’s soaking wet, proper lawn aeration requires specific timing. In order to create a lush, green lawn that enhances your landscape, it is important to aerate your grass at the right time of year, depending on your grass and soil type.
Know Your Turf
There are two different categories of grass: cool-season and warm-season. Cool-season grasses emerge from their summer dormancy in early fall, growing vigorously due to lack of weed competition and lower temperatures. Strong fall growth enables the lawn to recover quickly from aeration stress. Remember to allow at least four weeks of growing time before the first frost. Cool-season turf types such as annual and perennial ryegrass, rough bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and creeping bentgrass should be aerated during early fall months.
Warm-season grasses start their active period of growth during the warm summer months. When you aerate warm-season grasses in late spring to early summer, the holes created will be filled in by the following period of rapid growth. Warm-season turf types such as zoysia grass, St. Augustine grass, centipede grass, buffalo grass, Bermuda grass and bahiagrass should be aerated during late spring and early summer months.
Know Your Soil Type
All soils are not the same; different soil types will require more frequent aeration than others. For example, lawns in sandy soil should be aerated once a year or every other year, and clay soil, which compacts easily, should be aerated yearly or twice a year. In more arid climates, turf growth and health will benefit from being aerating twice a year. If your lawn sees heavy foot traffic, is used to park cars or is frequently driven on, aerate annually.
- Aeration creates holes that allow seeds and nutrients to penetrate the soil. Plan to aerate before fertilizing or reseeding your lawn.
- Because aeration can spread portions and weedy roots and weed seeds, it’s best to tackle any weed infestation before aerating.
- Allow your grass to become established before aeration. Hold off on aerating a new lawn for at least a year.
- Use the correct aeration tools. While you can aerate by hand with an aeration pitchfork or a garden tiller attachment, those are slow-going methods best suited for spot aeration. To evenly aerate large swathes of lawn, a commercial aerator is more appropriate. A stand-on aerator like the Exmark Stand-On Aerator that uses hydraulic pressure to drive the times into the soil will make quick work of large areas of grass.
- Wet soil will plug aerator tines and allow the tines to penetrate too deep. Aerate grass when the soil is moist, but not saturated. To achieve the proper moisture balance, water your lawn before aerating. It needs approximately one inch of water absorption, so water for an hour the day before aerating for normal soil, or water for 20 minutes for several days before aerating if the ground is hard.
- Avoid aerating during extremely hot days or a drought. Aerating under those conditions will allow heat to dry the soil and cause stress to the lawn.
At Commercial Lawn Equipment, we are dedicated to providing expert lawn care tips and tools to homeowners and landscaping professionals. Our knowledgeable staff is always available to answer your landscaping questions, and we offer a variety of products and services. Contact us today for all your lawn care needs and for information about our 0% financing.