How to aerate your lawn

Aeration seems to be a source of confusion for many homeowners, but this process is not complicated, and the effects that it can have a striking effect on the health of your lawn. Aerating your lawn is the process of removing plugs of soil, reducing the chances of impaction and allowing for increased air and water flow throughout your lawn. This allows the soil to fully absorb the nutrients that you provide it with. The process of aeration is not hard, you just need to be aware of a few important steps before you begin.

Selecting the right device, preparing your lawn, perfecting the timing and knowing when to ask for help are all essential when you attempt to aerate a lawn. Read on to find out more information about each of these important steps.

Step One: Select an aerator

There are two types of aerators: Core and spike devices. Spiked tools are more affordable, and they aerate your lawn by pushing plugs of soil down. This method can be effective, but over time it can lead to the impaction that aeration is supposed to help avoid.

Core aerators take the process one step further and remove these plugs. Though core devices are more expensive, they offer a much better solution when it comes to aerating your lawn. If you are unable to invest in one of these devices, check with your local lawn and gardening center about renting an aerator for the weekend.

Step Two: Prepare your lawn

There are a few steps that you should take before you begin aeration to ensure that the process goes smoothly. This includes flagging hard to see items in your lawn, such as sprinklers or underground fencing, and mowing your grass to a lower level than usual. These steps will make it much easier to aerate your lawn, while minimizing the chance of damage.

Mow your lawn lower than normal, but be careful not to remove too much of the total blade length. Mowing too low could cause major damage to your yard, and even result in a scalped lawn. If this happens, you could end up spending a lot of money on reseeding and other costs that are associated with growing new grass. Plus, new grass requires much more time and attention – so make sure not to damage the lawn that you’ve worked so hard to grow.

Step Three: Wait for the right day

If you aerate on a day when the soil is completely dry it will be harder than necessary, but doing so on a day where the ground is fully saturated is pointless. Wet soil moves easily, and the plugs that you remove will fill right back up on the day after heavy rain. For best results, put your aerator to use on the second or third day after heavy rain, or the next day after a light shower. If you are aerating your lawn during a season that is mostly dry in your area, continue to water your lawn as usual until the day of the process.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

If you are unsure about the best practices for aerating your lawn, you may want to give a professional lawn care service a call. While aeration doesn’t have to be challenging, it certainly isn’t the easiest lawn care practice – and it is not always wise for a novice to attempt this process. Many lawn care companies offer lawn aeration services at a low cost, or as a part of a larger package that will take other responsibilities off of your hands as well.


TruGreen will gladly visit your property as often as needed between scheduled visits to make any necessary adjustments and to ensure your satisfaction.

Getting Started with TruGreen

1. Call or fill out the form above to reach a lawn care specialist.

2. Know the square footage of your yard, as well as any specific areas of concern.

3. With the help of your specialist, create a customized lawn care plan that meets your lawn's needs.

4. Schedule your Healthy Lawn Analysis to start your service.