Frequently Asked Questions About Lawn Aeration
What is Aeration?
Aeration is a lawn maintenance practice that removes soil plugs or slices the turf and opens passageways through thatch and into the soil. This promotes a healthy exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and helps your lawn to breathe. The passageways also give water and fertilizer a pathway to your lawn’s root zone where roots can take them up more efficiently. Aeration encourages root growth by reducing thatch buildup and soil compaction. Aeration, combined with a comprehensive lawn maintenance program (regular mowing, watering, fertilizing, weed control, etc.), results in a greener, healthier and more drought resistant lawn.
How can I tell if my lawn needs aerating?
Over time, the soil beneath your lawn gets compacted and thatch accumulates. If your yard has not been aerated within the last year, it needs aerating.
What would happen if I never aerated my lawn?
Eventually, you would have a weak and sick looking lawn that is susceptible to weeds and disease and is harder to maintain. But aeration is just one practice used to ensure a healthy lawn. Proper watering, fertilization, mowing and pest control are also important maintenance practices.
When should I aerate and how often?
At a minimum, you should aerate your lawn at least once a year. Fall works the best for most grass types. Heavily used lawns, or those growing on heavy clay may need aerating more frequently. Twice per year lawn aeration provide the best results.
Can I water my lawn and fertilize after aerating?
Yes, you certainly can. The newly made aeration holes give both water and fertilizer direct access to the roots, and watering can help to break down the aeration soil cores.
Can I overseed after aerating?
Yes. For better germination, put the seed down while the holes are still open and before the cores start to break down. Do not use a weed and feed fertilizer overseeding, as it will hinder germination. A starter fertilizer is best.
How long will it take for the cores in my yard to disappear?
The cores will break down naturally and disappear into the lawn over time, depending on weather conditions. As the cores disintegrate, the soil microbes they contain will help break down thatch, so don’t rake them off. Watering and mowing also help to break down the cores sooner.
When should I aerate and when should I dethatch?
If your lawn has more than a half inch of thatch, it needs to be removed. A power rake will take care of a moderate thatch buildup, however core aeration or slicing the turf will alleviate thatch buildup and reduce soil compaction at the same time.
Can I aerate newly laid sod or seeded lawn?
No, you should wait at least six months before aerating new sod and hold off aerating newly seeded lawns until the seedlings reach maturity.
Can aerating damage any underground utilities lines, pipes or wiring?
Most underground utility lines are buried to deep enough that aeration tines will not strike them. Other buried items such as sprinkler systems could be impacted. If you are concerned, call to have underground utilities marked. Use flags to mark irrigation heads and other hidden objects to avoid damaging them and/or the aerator. The aerator tines won’t usually penetrate deeper than 3”, and more commonly will pull plugs about 1”-2” in depth. Most irrigation systems are 6”-12” below grade. If you are concerned or uncertain talk with your aeration technician before the service.
Should I continue to aerate after my lawn improves?
Yes, you should aerate your lawn at least once a year, or more if necessary, as well as perform all other important maintenance practices (watering, fertilizer, pest control, etc.) to maintain turf health and vigor.
Can I aerate my lawn myself?
Yes, you can typically rent an aerator for a whole or a half day at most rental yards. The cost of the rental ranges in the neighborhood of about $50-$65 for half a day and about $90-$110 for a whole day. One should also consider the time spent to pick up, transport, and return the aerator. For the cost of a rental Sierras Lawn Aeration can get the job done, usually in about 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your lawn.
Do I have to be home?
No. We just need to have access to your front and/or back lawns. We’ll do the work and leave an invoice on your front step or mailbox.
What about my sprinklers?
Don’t worry. Since starting the business in 2002 we have never damaged a sprinkler. We flag the sprinklers before aerating your lawn. We use your irrigation systems manual valves to turn on the sprinklers for a quick minute so we can locate and flag your sprinklers. “Never say never.” “There’s always a first time for everything.” Yes, we know. Nobody’s perfect. While our record is pretty solid and we take precautions upfront to mitigate damage to your irrigation system, accidents sometimes happen. If we break it, we’ll fix it. We are a licensed landscape contractor and are quite proficient with sprinkler systems. We’ve got you covered!