Updated on
March 26, 2022

Can you over aerate your lawn in PA?

Lawn care

We all want to take great care of our lawn and in the  process one of the things that it is important to do to be sure that your grass and plants are getting all the nutrients they need is to aerate your lawn. However, if you're new to lawn aeration, you might be wondering if it is possible to over aerate your lawn or aerate your lawn too often. At JC Landscapes we know what an important investment your lawn is and how it is crucial to take care of your grass, trees, and shrubs.

In this post we're going to break down the ins and outs of lawn aeration in PA and whether or not you can over aerate your lawn. We'll cover the basics of aeration as well as how to know what type of grass you have and the best way to take care of your lawn and when it's time to call in a professional.

What is Lawn Aeration?

Lawn aeration is the process of improving the flow of oxygen through the soil of your lawn. This is important because it determines how well grass roots are able to absorb nutrients and how fast your grass seed and your PA cool weather grasses grow during the growing season. A healthy lawn needs good air flow and nutrient delivery.

The main reason that aeration is necessary is because of soil compaction. Compacted soil can cause grass roots to essentially choke to death and new grass seed to not sprout.

There are two basic methods of aeration for your lawn, spike aerators work by poking tiny holes in the soil with rotating blades or hollow tines, allowing more air to pass through. This method is somewhat affective, but most professionals will recommend using plug aerators instead. A plug aerator works by pulling out cylindrical plugs of soil, making more room for oxygen to flow without creating more compacted soil.

What Causes Compacted Soil?

If you're wondering what it is you're doing that's causing compacted soil, don't worry, there are a number of things that can cause it and some of them are easy to deal with so that you can help protect those cool season grasses and make sure your lawn stays looking its best. Compacted soil can kill a yard of natural grass turf.

One of the main reasons for compacted soil is due to being walked on, driven over, or otherwise pressed down on. This lessens the space between the particles of dirt and lets less air flow through. Having your lawn aerated annually in early fall before the cool season grass stops growing will make sure that it retains oxygen and nutrients throughout the growing season.

Another reason for compacted soil is root overgrowth. That's right, if the roots of your grass, trees, and shrubs get too thick, they can actually choke out other plants and keep them from growing.  This can happen by having too many plants in one place or just over time as some plants get larger than others, they can develop massive root systems that seem to take over and take up all the nutrients and oxygen in a given amount of ground space.

Thatch buildup is another problem that can occur that can make your soil compacted and difficult for your existing grass to grow. Without using core aerators to remove plugs of soil with thatch built up in it, it can be difficult to deal with the problem and can lead to a lot of time consuming wasted labor.

Lastly, it's important to know that using the wrong aeration equipment can actually make soil compaction worse, ruining the work that you intended to do. This is one reason why experts recommend against using spike aerators as the motion of these type of aerator machines can press down on the soil and compact it worse further down. This is why removing soil plugs is more effective because it removes small plugs of soil without pressing down on the surrounding soil.

Understanding Your Grass Seed and Grass Roots

It's important to know your lawn so that you can know how important proper aeration is. Before we discuss aerating your lawn and whether or not over aerating is possible, we want to talk about the types of grasses that we have here in PA and what that means for your lawn.

PA residents should be familiar with the fact that due to the climate lawns in PA have cool season grass types. Northern lawns grow differently than southern lawns so it's important to make sure you take care of your lawn the right way. Not all grasses and lawns are created equal.

How to Tell If Your Lawn Needs Aerating

It's important to recognize the signs that your lawn may have compacted soil and your grass may not be getting enough oxygen. Your existing lawn should be lush and green during the growing season, so if you notice that your grass isn't growing or there are problems, then your lawn likely needs aerating.

The first big sign of compaction for lawns is having bare spots where there should be grass. This is a definite sign that the grass that should be there didn't get enough oxygen and has died. Patches of dry soil are another sign that your lawn needs aerating.

Overly hard ground is a good sign of compaction as well. You can usually tell while mowing your lawn if your grass is thick and healthy like it should be or if there are spots that aren't growing.

Can You Over Aerate Your Lawn?

Yes. You can over-aerate. Over-aerating your lawn can stress out your lawn and leave you with uneven soil.

Even though it can be damaging to over aerate your lawn, it is actually quite difficult to aerate too much. It is recommended to have your lawn aerated once or twice a year. The general rule of thumb is to perform the aerating just before your grass hits its peak growing period. For cool grass this means you would likely wan to aerate in early spring before the grass reaches its growing period in late spring.

Consider JC Landscapes For Annual Aerating

It's a good idea to have your aeration on a schedule each year and to make sure it is done by professionals that know the right way to aerate a lawn for maximum results. It will save you time and effort trying to poke holes in your own yard and will make sure you have a healthy lawn all year round.

If you're ready to take your lawn to next level, schedule your annual aeration with JC Landscapes today.