Updated on
May 31, 2022

How often should you aerate your lawn in PA

Lawn care
How often to aerate

We all want to keep our lawn healthy and looking its best, but doing so is not always easy. Depending on the type of soil composition you're dealing with, the needs of your lawn will be different.

One of the ways to help promote grass growth and give you a green lawn is to aerate the soil in your lawn.

To help you make the most of your lawn and keep it great shape we'll go over some of the details of lawn aeration and how often you should aerate your lawn if you live in PA.

What is Soil Aeration?

Everyone knows that in order for our plants and grass to grow properly it needs all the right nutrients. Water, sunlight, and fertilizer are all key ingredients, but one thing that sometimes people forget is that plants also need oxygen, oxygen that is delivered through the soil.

The process of soil aeration involves removing portions of dirt to help air flow. This will improve the oxygenation of root systems and the overall health of plants and grasses.

There are typically two methods to aerate your soil: using a plug aerator or a spike aerator. A plug aerator will remove plugs of soil from the ground, creating space for air to pass through. Conversely, a spike aerator pokes small holes in the dirt to create pockets for oxygen to move through the soil.

Like JC Landscapes; most landscapers recommend plug aeration to help oxygenate your lawn because spike aerators may increase soil compaction, resulting in actually reducing airflow. Lawn aeration helps new grass seed, existing grass roots, controlling thatch build up, and the root system of grass plants, trees, and shrubs.

What is Soil Compaction and Compacted Soil?

One of the main reasons why you may end up needing to aerate your soil is due to soil compaction. Compacted soil occurs when the soil has been pressed down, lowering the amount of space between the particles of dirt. To put it simply, compacted soil means that the your grass plants  can't breath and therefore plants and grass tend to struggle or die.

As far as causes for soil compaction go, there are a number of factors that contribute and several reasons why it may happen.

The type of soil is one of the main culprits for compacted soil and some soils are naturally more easily compacted than others. For instance, most lawns have a fairly porous soil that allows for air exchange and root growth. If you have a more dense type of soil that has a lot of sediment or clay, then you'll find that getting plants to grow is much more difficult and you'll likely have more bare spots and dead grass than you want.

Another major factor that causes the ground  to be compacted is walking or driving on it. This presses down on the surface and makes the particles compress together. The more this is done, the more compacted the soil becomes.

Benefits of Regular Soil Aeration

Aeration should be considered a part of your regular lawn maintenance or lawn care program. Lawns need  regular mowing, regular application of fertilizer, and regular aeration to maintain a healthier lawn. There are several benefits to regular aeration that you should take advantage of for a healthy lawn.

Better Oxygenation and Grass Growth

The most basic benefit of aeration as we've described is that you will have a healthy lawn due to better oxygenation and better flow for water and nutrients. This means that lawns can survive the winter better and will look greener during the growing seasons.

Aerating at the right time will make sure that you avoid damaging your lawn and keep it growing and help seed germination.

Better Fertilization and Healthier Grass Roots

Aeration is not just for pushing oxygen to root systems, it also makes dispersing nutrients and applying fertilizer following aeration  much more efficient since it is easier for them to reach deep into the soil and feed the grass and plants to help them grow and keep them actively growing year round.  Lawn aeration is important to all parts of yard grown beyond just reducing soil compaction.

Easier and More Productive Lawn Maintenance

Lastly, we want to talk about how a properly aerated lawn makes lawn maintenance easier and more productive. compacted dirt is harder to dig through, harder to mow and makes fertilizer less effective. By aerating regularly you can keep the soil soft and make it so that all the time and money you invest has the desired effect.

We know how important your lawn is and that the time and money you invest in lawn care should mean a healthy and happy lawn for you and your family to enjoy  for years to come.

How Often Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

There is a a bit of science to when and how often you aeration should be done. Typically it depends on the type of grass and soil you have.

There are essentially two types of grasses: warm season grasses, typically found further south; and cool season grasses, which is what we typically deal with in Pennsylvania (Zoysia being the most common exception).

When to aerate is a long-debated topic.  On one side are the spring aerators; making good use of the soft spring soil and upcoming warm temperatures.

On the other side are the fall aerators; playing into the fall growing season and taking refuge in the idea that there shouldn't be much chance of a drought further stressing the turf.  

How often to aerate your lawn should be dictated by your soil type primarily.  

If you have softer, loamy soil you may only need once a year or even less depending on the conditions.  

Conversely, if you have easily compacted, clay soil you may consider once, to twice per year for the best results.

Early spring aeration is great for seed if you are not performing additional lawn applications such as pre-emergent for crabgrass and other weed control that my interfere with the germination of new seed.

In most cases though, as JC Landscapes would recommend; it is a good idea to aim for early fall. Fall aeration should be done as soon as possible in early fall, before the ground starts to harden and the grass stops growing and the soil surface is still soft. Fall lawn care is important to keep your lawn in good shape for the harsh winter.

Final Thoughts

Lawn care is about more than just cranking up your lawn mower and cutting the grass. You have take all the different parts of your lawn into account and make sure that it gets what it needs. Besides the nutrients that are supplied naturally, your lawn needs extra care to make sure it stays in great shape.

Using a core aerator reduces soil compaction and makes your lawn more lively and beautiful. Core aeration will also help with nutrient delivery and can even help with weeds and seeding by allowing fertilizer and herbicides to do their jobs more efficiently. Nutrients and air are two of the most important parts of lawn care and regular aeration helps with both.

Now that you know the many benefits of properly aerating your lawn, we hope you'll make the decision to add regular aeration to your everyday yard maintenance. When you're ready, contact JC Landscapes to schedule your yearly yard aeration.