Aerating a lawn allows essential nutrients such as Oxygen, Phosphorus and Potassium to better penetrate the roots of grass. The process involves mechanically poking thousands of holes in the ground, using an aerator machine.

Here are three signs that it could be time to aerate your yard:

  1. Your lawn is thinning. If your yard seems to be thinning and you can’t trace any other obvious cause, such as a new source of shade or watering changes, the reason may be soil compaction.
  2. Lawn fertilizer doesn’t do much good anymore. When soil is highly compacted, the lawn fertilizer nutrients are unable to reach the roots of grass. If you fertilize but don’t see much in the way of results, you may have overly compacted soil.
  3. You have a lot of runoff. Overly compacted soil doesn’t absorb water as well as soil with space between particles. If you’re starting to see more runoff than normal, and more rain or irrigation isn’t the cause, you may need to aerate.

The Lawn Institute suggests that the best time to aerate lawns is approximately two weeks before applying the year’s final fertilizer, or five to six weeks before the first frost.

I think you’re making a big mistake!

After seeing it over and over again, I have determined that the biggest mistake homeowners do to their lawn is mowing too short. I notice it wherever I go, lawn after lawn is mowed down so low that it is often scalped, injuring the crown (or growing center) of the plant and setting it off down a path of no return.
It’s these same lawns that then go on to have problems with weeds and insects. Then, when a popular but dangerous weed killer gets taken off the market, all heck breaks loose. “How am I supposed to deal with all these weeds?” they scream. A viscous cycle of grub prevention, herbicides, and any number of products seems to be required to keep the lawn protected from external stresses.

If weeds are looked at as messengers and not something that is beyond our control unless we can douse them with pesticides, a weed problem might actually be able to get solved rather than masked through herbicides. More often than not, the first step is to raise the height of cut on the mower. I guarantee it is better for your lawn, and it doesn’t cost a thing.