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Best Time to Aerate the Lawn

Soil Health
5 min read

Easy penetration of air, water, and nutrients into the ground helps grass roots grow deeper, while hard, compacted soil will deter healthy grass growth. Wondering about the best time to aerate your lawn? Get the answer from the experts at Jonathan Green and make a world of difference in your lawn.

The Jonathan Green name has represented genetically superior grass seed, innovation, integrity, determination, and a commitment to excellence since 1881. We supply grass seed, soil enhancers, fertilizer, and organic lawn and garden products to professional customers, such as sod growers and independent retailers, from coast to coast throughout the United States.

What is Aeration?

When water has difficulty penetrating through the soil surface, or your turfgrass is looking thin and unhealthy and has become more susceptible to weeds, diseases, or pests, it may be time to aerate your lawn.

Aeration is the method of creating openings in the surface of the lawn that help water, air, and nutrients to better penetrate the soil. This helps alleviate soil compaction, creates better air flow around the roots of the grass plants, and encourages the roots to grow more deeply.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

You can aerate your lawn at any time of the year, but the best time to do it is in the fall for cool-season grasses like Black Beauty® Original Grass Seed, or in the spring/early summer for warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass. The lawn should also be moist, so be sure to wait until after a good rainfall or give the lawn about a half inch of water before trying to aerate it. If you’re irrigating with a sprinkler attached to a standard garden hose, this usually means 45 minutes per area. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, water for at least 30 minutes per zone. Push a screw driver into the ground. If you can push it up to the handle, you are ready to begin using the aerator you’ve rented.

How to Organically Aerate Your Lawn

For long-term results, consider adding more humate-rich, gypsum-based amendments to the soil.  Humate-rich amendments will foster earthworm populations to support natural, biological aeration of the soil. Gypsum-based amendments will flocculate (loosen) and assist in the natural aeration of the soil.

Jonathan Green MAG-I-CAL® Plus is a natural, humate-rich, three-in-one “soil food” that will loosen hard soil, stimulate soil microbes, and adjust soil pH. It breaks up compacted soil for better air, water, nutrient, and root penetration. The product is available for Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Acidic & Hard Soil or Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Alkaline & Hard Soil. Plan to use it every season to keep your soil biology and chemistry balanced.

For soil that is very compacted, use Jonathan Green Love Your Soil® which has the most soil loosening power to aerate it organically. Love Your Soil® will also feed soil microbes, make the soil more alive and porous, enhance root development, and provide about 25% more soil-loosening power than MAG-I-CAL® Plus.

How to Mechanically Aerate Your Lawn

For the best results, use a plug aerator, which removes plugs of soil 2 to 3 inches deep. The tines on this machine are hollow on the inside to enable them to pull soil cores out of the earth. These machines can be rented from equipment rental stores if you want to perform the job yourself. Do not use spike aerators because they only poke holes in the soil and will create more compaction.

  • Water the lawn thoroughly one to two days before you plan to aerate the soil.
  • Make a single pass over the whole lawn and multiple passes over areas that are very compacted.
  • The excavated soil plugs can be left on the ground to dry and decompose.
  • Spread Love Your Soil® immediately after plugging the lawn to introduce this carbon-rich food source down into the root zone where it will work the fastest.

For more tips on the best time to aerate your lawn and how to accomplish it, visit Jonathan Green online or stop by your nearest independent home and garden retailer for professional advice. Your grass will thank you for it.

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