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  • Writer's pictureBrett

Lawn Aeration

Updated: Feb 29

Creating a healthy and vibrant lawn is not just about watering and mowing; aeration plays a crucial role in ensuring your grass can breathe and absorb nutrients effectively. Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. Here are some best practices for aerating your lawn:

1. Identify the Need for Aeration

Not all lawns need aeration. Your lawn is a good candidate for aeration if it:

Is used as a playground or has heavy foot traffic, which can compact the soil.

Was established by sod with poor prep and soil layering exists, which disrupts drainage and root growth. Dries out easily and has a spongy feel, which might indicate thatch buildup. Has soil compaction or clay soil.

2. Choose the Right Time

Timing is everything when it comes to aeration. For cool-season grasses in the Northwest, early fall or spring is the best time to aerate. Aeration should be done during your lawn's peak growing period to allow the grass to heal and fill in any open areas after soil plugs are created. Irrigated lawns can be aerated throughout the growing season, but it is best to avoid the stress during high heat timeframes.

3. Select the Proper Equipment

There are two main types of aerators: spike aerators and plug (core) aerators. Spike aerators simply puncture holes in the ground with a solid tine or fork, while plug aerators remove a core or plug of grass and soil from the lawn. Plug aerators are what we use and are generally more effective, especially for alleviating soil compaction.

4. Prepare Your Lawn

Before aerating, ensure your lawn is properly prepared:

Mow your lawn to a slightly lower height than usual.

Water your lawn two days before aerating to soften the soil, making it easier to remove plugs. Do not overwater. Try and make sure it does not get watered 24 hours prior to aerating.

Mark any irrigation components, buried lines, or sprinkler heads to avoid damaging them during aeration.

5. Aerate Effectively

When aerating:

Make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. For less compacted areas, a single pass may be sufficient.

Leave the extracted soil plugs on the lawn to decompose and filter back into the holes, providing nutrients back to the soil.

After aeration, it's an excellent time to overseed, topdress with compost and/or apply fertilizer, as the treatments can reach the root zone more easily.

6. Post-Aeration Care

After aeration:

Keep the lawn moist, but not soaked, to encourage growth.

Avoid heavy use or traffic on the newly aerated lawn to allow the grass to recover.

Consider overseeding your lawn to take advantage of the improved soil conditions.

7. Regular Maintenance

Aeration should be part of your regular lawn care routine, but the frequency depends on your lawn's specific needs. Most lawns benefit from annual aeration and compost topdressing, but highly compacted or heavily used lawns might need it more frequently.

By following these best practices for lawn aeration, you can help ensure a lush, healthy, and beautiful lawn that is more drought-resistant, absorbs nutrients more effectively, and has improved overall health and vigor.

Call Earthworks Landscape Service, Inc. to get this service scheduled... 503-678-7744 or send us an email at Now scheduling for services in Woodburn, Canby, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, Tualatin, Oregon City, Molalla, and surrounding areas.

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