Aeration works by making holes in the lawn by either “spiking” it or “coring” it. Before we get to methods, first discover why aeration is a crucial part of lawn maintenance. Lawn aeration:
- Enables water to better soak the soil and root system
- Helps break up thatch
- Allows oxygen to reach the roots, helping the soil “breathe”
- Loosens compacted soil, letting the root system grow
- Helps organic nutrients access the root system
As for methods, the most effective for lawn aeration, hands down, is “coring” the soil, which extracts plugs of soil from the ground. Avoid using any spiking methods (especially spiked shoes), as this compacts soil more by pushing it in instead of removing it.
- Water your lawn thoroughly the day before. You want the soil to be soft and moist but not muddy.
- As you aerate, beware of puncturing shallow sprinkler lines.
- Afterward, leave the core plugs on the grass–they will help break down thatch. Let them dry out and rake them into the grass or just wait until you mow again to break them up.