A well-loved lawn can easily become compacted, meaning that your soils surface becomes hard – stopping the free flow of nutrients which can cause yellowing and poor performing grass. Knowing how to aerate your lawn will help your lawn breathe and grow as best it can!
Learning how to aerate a lawn is simple, and once you know how to do it, you can complete this task whether your lawn is large or small. Keep reading to find out how to quickly aerate your lawn and get your grass seed growing lush and thick once again!
What does it mean to aerate a lawn?
Aerating a lawn is the simple act of creating holes or ‘pockets’ within your soil to help your lawn breathe. Opening up these spaces in your lawn helps water, oxygen and nutrients to flow freely through your soil. When your grass receives everything it needs to stay in good condition, it will create a much healthier and perfectly green garden lawn.
So, how do I aerate my lawn?
Lawn aeration should be completed in line with seasonal overseeding so you can aerate a lawn in autumn or spring/summer when temperatures are 10 degrees and above. Make sure to never aerate when your grass isn’t growing – for example, during dormancy in winter or during a severe heatwave. Aerate a lawn after scarifying, which involves removing the top layer of thatch that may have been building up. You can complete aeration in two ways, depending on the size of your lawn.
Aerate by using your garden fork
You can easily aerate a small lawn by using a garden fork. Dig your garden fork into your soil about 3cm deep. If you find this difficult or your soils are particularly hard, use your own weight to drive the fork into the ground. Wiggle the garden fork in circular motions to create four holes, and repeat this across your whole lawn.
Using a hollow-tine aerator/corer
If you have a larger lawn, a hollow-tine aerator or corer will be easier for you to use and will remove plugs of soil to create longer-lasting results. You should also consider using a hollow-tine aerator if you have an ornamental lawn. The same process applies: dig the hollow-tine aerator 3cm deep into your soil, and as you pull it up, the plugs of soil will come out. Make sure to remove these from your lawn’s surface. If you have a fine ornamental lawn, you should then top dress it, brushing your topdressing of choice into the newly formed pockets.
Why would I need to aerate my lawn?
Lawns that see a lot of use from kids and pets can become compacted very easily, and aerating your lawn is a good way to fix this. Yellowing grass and poor drainage can often be a sign of a heavily compacted lawn that would benefit from aeration. On the other hand, lawns that don’t get a lot of use but are purely for show also need to be aerated as part of their regular maintenance routine.
Lawns with heavy clay soils should also consider aeration as part of their seasonal lawn maintenance, regardless of what level of use they get. Clay soils are often full of nutrients, but because of their dense nature, it is difficult for these nutrients to get to where they need to be. Aeration is a great gardening process that can help alleviate this and get even the most difficult of soils back to their very best!
Aeration is excellent at helping to keep your lawn healthy; we also have further reading and tips on lawn care throughout the seasons: