Lawn Aeration Basics
In general, the higher the clay content of your soil, the greater the need to aerate. Clay soil tends to stick very tightly, causing less air space. The act of aerating breaks those bonds.
Another consideration when deciding whether to aerate is the amount of soil compaction due to traffic. Areas with high foot traffic, such as baseball diamonds, often require more frequent aeration. New construction sites often become compacted because trucks have driven over the ground multiple times. If your lawn has a low area that tends to hold water, those areas should be aerated regularly.
I am often asked how often it should be aerated. The answer depends on the degree of compaction. The average lawn should be aerated once a year. Problem areas can be aired more often and up to once every two months.
There are three basic methods of aeration: tines, core, and liquid. Spike aeration is simply poking holes in the soil with a solid spike. Tined aeration is the least desirable method and many turf experts believe that this method can increase compaction.
Central aeration is the actual removal of soil plugs from the ground. The finger-sized nuclei break off and become part of the soil again. Central aeration is the most widely used method and is effective.
The last aeration method is liquid aeration. This method is the least known, but in my opinion the best method. Liquid aeration is accomplished by spraying a liquid solution over the soil and then watering it down. The benefits of using this method over central aeration are many. There’s less clutter, no cores on the awning. The liquid, when water enters, works as deep as 12″, vs. 3″ for core aeration. Another benefit is that the liquid can be used everywhere, while coring is limited to sprinkler systems, tree roots, etc. The product I like to use to make liquid aerations is Aerify! Further.
Aeration can be done any time the grass is not frozen. I recommend aerating in the spring or fall so that the grass can recover.