Does Your Lawn Need to be Aerated?
Soil naturally becomes compacted from the effects of everyday foot traffic and weather. The higher the activity level, whether it's from people or pets, the more compacted the soil becomes. Foot-worn areas, slow water absorption, and overly dry areas during hot weather are all signs of soil compaction. To test for compaction, spray the area down with a hose. If the water isn't quickly absorbed, the soil is compacted. Likewise, if you are unable to penetrate the
surface of the soil easily, compaction is the likely culprit.
Aeration is the process of pulling out plugs of soil to reduce compaction, control thatch, and improve the flow of oxygen, water and nutrients to the roots. Although the plugs of soil are not very attractive, they should be left to return nutrients into the soil as they dissolve back into the lawn.
It's best to use a core aerator with hollow tines that poke the ground and remove cylinders of soil that are then deposited on the surface. If new lawn seed has just been overseeded, planted or sod has just been laid, wait until the roots are well established before aerating. Aerate during spring or fall when the weather is cooler. Water thoroughly at least one day prior to aerating to improve the depth of the plugs and the ease of aeration.