Aeration, or core cultivation, is a standard in lawn care. Aerating a lawn means supplying the
air, usually by poking holes in the ground throughout the lawn using an aerator. Aeation reduces
compaction and helps control thatch in lawns while helping water and fertilizer move into the
You can top dress in spring and fall with a light layer compost to help improve your soil. You
aerate the lawn before applying to help the compost work its way into the soil.
High traffic areas are hard to relieve without reworking the soil. Aerating twice a year
during the spring and
fall may help.
A lawn can be aerated at any time the ground is not frozen, but should not be done when it is
extremely hot and dry. Heavy traffic areas will require aeration more frequently.
Aeration is most effective when actual cores or plugs of soil are pulled from the lawn. Holes
should be two to three inches deep and no more than two to four inches apart. Lawns should be
thoroughly watered the day before aerating so plugs can be pulled more deeply and easily. Mark
sprinkler heads, shallow irrigation lines, and cable TV lines before aerating so they
On thatchy lawns, it is important to leave the cores on the lawn, allowing them to work back
the grass. Otherwise, the cores may be removed or left on the lawn. Lawns may be fertilized
seeded immediately after aeration. There is no need to top dress lawns following aeration.
Thatch is the tangled mat of organic matter above the ground and below the crown of the
Thatch acts as a natural mulch to retain moisture, lower soil temperature, cushions crown, and
discourages the germination of weed seeds.
Too much thatch can cause shallow rooting, nutrient imbalance, and invasions of insects and
Aeration is removing plugs from the lawn. Power raking is removing debris, generally around
between the grass plants.
Thatch is made up of organic matter and living plants.
Thatch develops when the organic matter accumulates faster than organisms can break it up.
These factors include improper mowing, fertilization, and watering too frequently with light
Look for dry and dead patches and areas that are very spongy. Also remove a wedge of the turf
Thatch that is ½ inch or less is generally not a problem.
You can reduce your thatch problem by controlling your fertilization procedures and by watering and
Although there are differences of opinion, power raking should be done prior to the grass greening
Yes. By removing grass clippings prior to power raking, it means there is less debris to
After you have finished raking, fertilize and irrigate.
Aeration improves drainage and opens the thatch so water and oxygen can reach the roots.
aids in root growth and relieves compaction.
The best times are early spring and late fall.
Light watering before you aerate allow the tines to more easily penetrate the sod and remove
Yes. In heavy traffic areas, the soil is compressed so that there isn’t a free movement of
nutrients and water into the soil. Aeration helps to loosen the compacted areas.
Yes. Make one pass with the aerator, and then make a second pass at right angles to the
Leaving the plugs on top help break down thatch because they carry microorganisms that
Core aeration is the summer exposes roots to excessive heat and drying.