Aeration has many benefits for your lawn and is one of the most important cultural practices that you can possibly do for you lawn. Core aeration is the most common form of aeration that we do for lawns.

The benefits include:

  • Improvement of drainage
  • Increases air, water, and nutrients to the roots
  • Helps relieve soil compaction
  • Stimulates new growth
  • Decreases thatch build up
  • During drought conditions, aeration helps water reach thirsty roots
  • Creates a better environment for overseeding
  • Increases the effectiveness of applied fertilizers

What time of the year is best to aerate? Fall is the best time because it can be combined with seeding. You can aerate in the Spring but it would need to be done before pre-emergent is applied for crabgrass.

Experts say you should have at least 9 holes per square foot and in some clay soils 18 holes per square foot. In order to accomplish this, you may have to make several passes with a drum style aerator. If you have a mechanical or reciprocating aerator, you can pull enough cores in one pass to be sufficient. I don’t think you can aerate your lawn too much in the fall. The more cores you pull, the better. You can turn a lawn into nothing but cores and it will recover and be better than before in a couple weeks. The cores dissolve over the course of a few weeks with watering and rainfall. I recommend mowing after aeration to also help break up the cores. The soil that is pulled during this aeration process will also help reduce thatch.

When should I seed? Seeding is best to do at the same time as aeration (as mentioned above). The reason for this is after aeration the seed that falls into the holes (Fescue or Rye grass primarily) can germinate and help fill in the bare areas. For large bare areas in your lawn, we recommend using a slit seeder with a seed box or broadcast the seed using a power rake that has solid knives to cut slices through the thatch into the soil. This will further open up the thatch and allow the seed to fall in the slits and up in rows.

Once the bare areas in your lawn are seeded, you will need to keep it moist by watering so that the seed can germinate. This can take 7-21 days depending on the type of seed you use.

In conjunction with aeration and seeding, now is the time to apply a fall fertilizer to help your lawn start to recover from the summer heat and disease activity.

If you need assistance with aeration, seeding, or fertilizing, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (314) 423-9244. We look forward to showing you a beautiful lawn in the Spring by preparing in the Fall.