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Best Time to Aerate Lawn: Garden Maintenance Tips

Last Updated: 02 July 2021

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As a homeowner, it’s essential to learn all the basics of maintaining a healthy lawn. If you’re looking for rich nutrient-dense grass, then you’re going to need to learn how to mow, fertilize, and water your grass. However, there’s always one method of maintaining your yard that many homeowners skip.

The method they never really use is called Aerating. This simple method is used to help bring more nutrients into the ground and promote the grass to grow stronger and faster. In this article, you’ll learn what aeration is and the best time to aerate a lawn. While you might use a backpack leaf blower to keep your yard neat, know that this operation is done for your soil.

What is Aeration?

What is Aeration?

Aeration is a fancy term that translates to putting small holes into pockets of the ground allowing more nutrients to slip through. It’s similar to poking holes in your meat to allow the spices to penetrate beneath.

Besides that, aeration also allows air, water, and other nutrients to penetrate the grassroots. It prevents grass tips from gathering everything you put onto them and instead will enable it to nourish the ground. So, how do you aerate a lawn?

Why Aerate Lawn?

Why do we aerate the lawn? Well, aeration is an excellent way to help adjust soil compaction. Soil compaction is a common issue due to how houses are designed. The compacted soil that’s on your land is filled with rocks, debris, and other dirt that makes it harder for the soil to absorb anything that doesn’t directly hit the ground.

To aerate the soil, you’ll be able to quickly adjust the volume of the dirt and allow proper circulation. Other elements will find it much easier to penetrate the grass and soil, leading to a higher quality of grass.

When to Aerate Lawn

When to Aerate Lawn

While you can technically do this process year-round, it’s not usually recommended. The issue with aeration is that it’s most useful when the grass is first starting to bud, which means it isn’t to aerate lawn in summer. So, when is the best time to aerate your yard? Ideally, you’ll find that mid-spring is the best time to aerate a lawn.

However, if you find yourself needing to do it later in the season, then that’s fine as well. You won’t see as effective results compared to if you aerate lawn in spring. Spring is the best time of year to aerate a lawn.

Some soil types tend to need to be taken care of more often than others. If this is the case with your lawn, the best time to aerate the lawn spring or fall. Although, it’s not recommended to aerate a lawn in fall due to excessive aerating can be damaging. Make sure you get rid of dandelions before proceeding.

Here are the following steps you can take to aerate your lawn. Although, we suggest following the aeration machine manual for the best way to aerate lawn:

  • First, prep the area by making sure to water the lawn and allowing it to dry. Why should you do this? Dry soil is exceptionally frustrating to work with, and you’ll find that the dirt will pile together instead of cleanly separating from the ground.
  • the best way to aerate lawn
  • Prepare the area by using the fastest leaf blower and clearing twigs.
  • An aeration machine is going to be your best friend. These tools are more effective than manual versions and can save you time and energy. You’ll need to make sure that the machine creates enough space between each pass. To do so, you may need to go over aerated ground multiple times to create more holes.
  • The holes should then be left alone until they are dry. To make the soil plugs more effective and appear cleaner, you can use a lawnmower or rake to make clean holes, although this step is not necessary.
  • To get rid of weeds, chemicals, or crabgrass herbicide will not be removed while aerating. Many gardeners tend to believe that this happened, but it’s been proven not to be the wrong time.
  • After everything is done, it’s vital to maintain your lawn still. It means you’ll need to fertilize it and even consistently water the grass. This includes mowing after aeration. If you don’t, then you will miss out on the benefits of also aerating in the first place. Use fertilizer for grass to get the best effects.

How Often to Aerate Lawn

Luckily, aeration doesn’t take a lot of time, nor does it need to be performed more than a few times a year. If you’re looking to keep to the minimum recommendation, then we’d say that most professionals state once or twice per year. Although, you’ll find it beneficial to do it at least up to four times a year depending on your region and climate.

The best method to gauge how often you need to aerate your lawn is by determining how compact your soil is. If you live in an urban area or tend to be in a highly developed country, chances are your soil is compact. Other regions, such as high clay content or poor soil quality, may also need to be aerated at least four times a year – once every season.

How Much to Aerate Lawn

The best time to do it is done by either using a plug aerator or a spike aerator. If you’ve had no prior experience with aeration, you may need to read a more in-depth guide on how to aerate with these tools. However, we can provide you with the necessary steps of using each tool;

How Much to Aerate Lawn

A spike aerator is a tool where you’ll need to hold it above the ground and stab it to create holes. It’s labor-intensive and not recommended for large lawns, as it will be pretty time-consuming.

On the other hand, a plug aerator creates a larger hole and is a type of tool where you plug it into the ground and pull out grass and soil. While these are much more effective, they do come in aeration machines which can save you time.

So, which one should you use? Poking small holes with a spike aerator isn’t that effective. While it will likely be more effective than just doing nothing, it won’t show amazing results. Instead, using an aerator machine can not only make a huge difference but will also save you a lot of intensive labor.

As for how much to aerate a lawn, you should look for tools that remove approximately 2-3 inches in width and around ½ an inch down at 2-3 inches apart. Anything more or less is not recommended, as it won’t provide much of a difference to the appearance of your lawn.

For tools, it can be a bit pricey if you’re investing in a machine, but we can promise it will show effective results. If anything, some lawn and gardening stores enable you to rent machines for a small fee.


Aeration is very straightforward once you understand the whole process. It’s a method that can help enhance your lawn if you’re finding that regular maintenance isn’t working. By using this process, you can improve the look of your yard and help it grow more appealing. Although the process tends to be overlooked because many people never talk about aerating their lawns.

Hopefully, HandyHomeMaster has helped you learn how to aerate the lawn and produce a better type of grass. If you’re looking for a method to create a pristine-looking yard, you can’t go wrong with this method. Just be sure to follow our steps and get the right equipment and tools so that you will have the best time to aerate and overseed the lawn.

What do you think of the aerating lawn? How do you do it? Leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation!

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