When is the best time to aerate your lawn?

Lawn aeration involves creating holes in the soil so that nutrients, air and water can all get down into your grass roots. Over time, soil can become extremely compacted. Especially after heavy rain and periods of drought. This can create an extremely inhospitable environment for your grass.

As a result, we need to “break through” that soil so that general drainage can improve.

When should I aerate my lawn?

You should always aerate your lawn during the growing season. This is typically between Spring and Autumn. By aerating your lawn during the growing season, you are giving your lawn enough time to heal and recover.

Aeration involves removing large plugs of soil from the lawn. As a result, this process will create gaps in your grass. More often than not, people will fill these gaps in by overseeding the lawn.

A man aerating his lawn.

A man aerates his soil using a machine. In the bottom right-hand corner, you can see the plugs of soil that have been removed.

By tossing a layer of new seed over the lawn, the gaps left behind by aeration and scarifying can be filled in with new grass, some of which will find its way down into the holes that you’ve created.

Consequently, if you carry out the aeration process outside of the growing season, then you will be unable to fill in these gaps.

When is the BEST time to aerate your lawn?

Most gardeners agree that Autumn is the best time to carry out aeration. This is because there are generally less weeds around at that time of the year.

If you were to carry out this process at the start of Spring, then there is a good chance that seeds from nearby weeds will find their way into some of the holes that you’ve just punched into the ground.

Remember that weeds are pretty active in Spring. Especially the summer annual weeds, which begin to emerge as soon as soil temperatures increase. Therefore, it is a bad idea to provide them with more areas to germinate in. You don’t want to roll out the red carpet and invite them to set up shop.

If your soil is badly compacted and aeration in Spring is a must, then you should at least hold off until the end of Spring, when most weeds have already established themselves. Afterwards, you should overseed your lawn.

Weeds will always pose a danger to your lawn.

It is important to note that disturbing your lawn will always create the perfect conditions for weeds to spread. Although you can minimize the risks by aerating in autumn, those risks will always be there. Especially with winter annual weeds, which can germinate during fall.

Consequently, you should scan your lawn for weeds and manually uproot them by hand before you begin to aerate. If your soil is compacted, then it is fair to say that you probably have a few weeds that you need to take care of.

Grass roots spread out in the fall.

Generally speaking, grass roots will begin to spread out during the fall. During the summer months, these roots tend to become inactive because of heat and drought conditions.

One of the goals of aeration is to break up compacted soil so that the grass roots can spread outwards and grow. Therefore, it makes sense to aerate at a time when conditions are a bit wetter and the roots are actively growing.

Why should I avoid aerating during the summer?

As stated above, grass roots do not tend to grow well during heat and drought conditions. However, there is also another reason why you might want to avoid carrying out this process during the summer.

Following aeration, the turf will require some time to heal itself. However, this might prove to be difficult during the warmer months, when the lawn is more likely to be walked on and used for recreational purposes.

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