Aerating Your Lawn: What Is It And How Do You Do It?

Posted on: 22 December 2014


If you want a good looking yard, you put a lot of work into it. You mow it, you rake it, you fertilize it, and you reseed any bare patches. While you are doing all that you should also make sure that you are aerating—one of the most beneficial aspects of lawn care

What Is Aerating?

The soil of your yard can become compacted. This is especially true if your soil is a clay soil or your yard gets a lot of foot traffic. That compacted soil makes it hard for the roots of your grass to grow. When you aerate your soil you are de-compacting it, letting some oxygen into the roots, and giving them some more space to grow.

How Can You Tell It's Time to Aerate?

If you aren't sure whether or not you should aerate your lawn, it is easy to check. Find a patch of your lawn that you don't mind digging up. It doesn't need to be a huge area, but a patch that is maybe a foot per side will give you a good idea of what the rest of your lawn looks like. Dig down several inches. Measure how long the roots of your grass are. If they are less than about two inches deep, it's time to aerate your lawn and give those roots some help. 

How Do You Aerate Your Yard?

You have two choices. You can choose to use a machine to do it. The other option is to use a manual method. 


These are tools that you can push over your lawn. They will do the work of aerating your lawn. There are a few different kinds you can choose from. 

One is an aerator that actually that digs out small plugs from your lawn. Those holes are spaced out regularly to let plenty of air into your lawn. They aren't very big, so no one will be able to see that you have done it. You don't have to do anything to the plugs that have been taken out of your yard if you don't want to. They can decompose there and feed your lawn. 

There are also machines that just punch spikes into your lawn. Instead of digging anything out, these machines just punch small holes into your lawn in a regular pattern. Those holes can let air down into the roots of your lawn. 


If you are going to do it manually, there are special tools that you can hook over your shoes. They will have spikes on them. Just walk all over your yard. The spikes will go down into your soil to de-compact it. If you don't have those spikes, you can find them at a garden store. If you have golf shoes, you can do the same thing with them, but they won't work as well. 

If you want to keep your yard looking good, you need to aerate it. You can choose to use a machine to do it, or you can do it manually. The most effective way of aerating your lawn is to use a machine that takes small plugs out from your yard.