How to aerate a lawn, a full guide described here

Most homeowners do not know that lawn aerating is also part of basic lawn care. Therefore, despite doing everything and applying every hack, the lawn stays lackluster. So, in this blog, we are informing you of everything from basic to expert tips to know how to aerate a lawn. Let’s get to know all the info.

Table of contents

aerate a lawn

What is aeration of the lawn?

Let us give you a quick review of the lawn aeration methods; these are spike and plug aeration.

Spike aeration is a method in which deep cuts are put in the soil to let the oxygen, water, and fertilization reach the grassroots. This is best for less compacted and sandy soil.

While on the other hand, plug aeration means taking the plug of soil out of the lawn rather than just putting deep cuts. This aeration method is best when soil is very compacted and is best for clay soil because the spike aeration can cause clay soil to become more compacted around the cut.

Want to know more about aerating the lawn and when to do it? Then you should read our article “What is lawn aeration and when is the best time to do it?

Two methods of lawn aeration

Various tools for aerating the lawn

In our previous post “The aerate lawn tools, its types and know how to choose the best one” you can read about which lawn aerators are on the market. Here you get some tips on tools that are suitable for a villa garden.

Aeration using a robotic lawnmower

If you want a simple and comfortable aeration of the lawn, you should mount spike wheels on the rear wheels of your robotic lawnmower. This means that you get an automatic aeration of the lawn every time the robotic lawnmower is out mowing your lawn.

The disadvantage of the spike wheels is that the air holes do not become as deep and wide as when done with real spears. For this reason, you should also aerate the lawn with a lawn aerator.

Push aerator or aerator with wheels

Traditionally, push aerators have a drum-shaped roller that commonly has spikes or hollow tines attached to it. Also, it has a long handle/rod to control it; some push aerators have a dual handle grip on the rod.

You only need to push the aerator from the handle to aerate a lawn.

Handheld lawn aerator

Aerators that are manually operated or do not have wheels belong to this category. These tools can have solid tines or hollow tines. This means that you either spike aerate or plug aerate with the hand-held tool. Manual plug aeration is incredibly heavy work and the soil easily gets stuck in the holes, which makes the work tough and time consuming.

Basically, the handheld aerator is shaped like a fork. With the help of the handle and the footrest, you can push the spikes into the ground to create the air holes. Repeat the step over the entire lawn.

The lawn aerator we sell is made of stainless steel, which means that the tool does not rust when used in moist soils or stored outdoors. The length of the spikes is correctly dimensioned to make holes deep enough for the entire grass root to get the air supply it needs. The tool is also easy to use with its well-thought-out ergonomic design.

Aeration of larger lawns

For really large lawns, we recommend rear-mounted or a mechanical pipe and hole pipe aerator. There are lawn aerators for spik and plug pipe aeration that are pulled behind a riding lawn mower. The accessory is mounted on the back of the riding lawnmower and then driven back and forth over the lawn.

We at TrädgårdSmart use a machine that can either spike or plug aerate the lawn. Before we start renovating the lawn, we find out if the soil is compact or porous. Depending on the result of the soil test, we mount solid or hollow tines on the machine.

Read our article on what types of tools are available to aerate the lawn with and how to choose a suitable one?

How To Aerate Lawn Manually?

1. Equipment

  • Lawn aerator of your choice.
  • Garden gloves to keep nails, fingers, and hands clean, prevent scars and existing scars from getting infected.
  • Garden hose or garden pipe to water your lawn if you don’t have a sprinkler system installed.
  • Irrigation flags or chalk powder to mark the obstacles in the lawn.

2. Do this before aerating the lawn

Correct steps taken before aerating a lawn contribute to perfect lawn aeration. We have listed all of them here.

- Mow your lawn

Mow your lawn at half-height of the usual grass height. This means if you mow your lawn to 5 cm height, then before aerating, mow it to 2,5 cm height.

- Clean the yard

There would be cutting-grass debris or fallen leaves in the yard. Raking them up must be your next step after mowing the lawn.

- Water the lawn

Water your lawn; actually, soak your lawn about 2-3 centimeters of water. To estimate that the lawn has enough water, place a small tuna can in the middle of the lawn. Keep watering the lawn until it fills up. Check the weather forecast if you need to water the lawn.

- Place irrigation flags or chalk marks

To avoid damage to your sprinkles or underground pipes, place irrigation flags and or chalks marks. It will ensure that you don’t enter that area while aerating the soil. However, if you have any kind of dust allergy, cover your mouth and nose while making marks with chalk powder.

Steps to aerate your lawn

Follow the order below for a successful result. Repeat the treatment a couple of times every few months if the soil is very compact.

- Aerate the lawn

Now, to aerate a lawn, you can choose either a manual aerator (shoe, handheld, or push aerator) or gas power aerator (tow/pull behind aerator or riding lawn aerator). Manual aerators are best with less compacted small soil. Gas power aerator is best for heavily compacted and big lawns.

If you choose a spike aerator, passing over the lawn twice means aerating two times, in the aeration process, but each time in a different direction.

If you are aerating a lawn with a plug aerator, only one pass over the lawn is sufficient.

Furthermore, consider not passing over the irrigation flags or chalk marks to avoid damage to your pipes, sprinkles, or aerating tool.

- Fertilize your lawn

When there are holes in the soil, it is best to fertilize the lawn so that it reaches the grassroots directly and maximize its lushness.

- Seed the lawn

Finally, support the lawn with new grass seeds and feel free to apply a thin layer of topdress. This makes the grass seeds grow better and makes the soil more porous. Work in the topdress with a lawn level rake to get a smooth and nice grass surface.

Questions and answers

Here you have some common questions and answers about the topic of aerating the lawn.
  • Rake away dead grass
  • Aerate the stain with a lawn aerator
  • Fertilize
  • Sow new grass on the spot
  • Apply a layer of dressing soil
  • Smooth the surface with a levelawn

You can aerate the lawn almost all year round as long as there is no frost in the ground. Aerate the lawn more often if the soil is compact and muddy to make it more airy and porous. It will benefit grass growth.

Absolutely, but do not use sandbox sand because it is too fine-grained. The sand must have a grain size of at least 0.2 mm.

More reading on aerating the lawn

Read our other articles if you want to know more about how to aerate a lawn and why it is good to do so.

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