How To Aerate Your Lawn For Healthier Grass

When summer approaches, many of us spend more and more time outdoors in our backyards, enjoying the sunshine. So, naturally, we want our lawns to look their best, which often involves a bit more work than just keeping them regularly mowed to an acceptable height. If you want healthy, gorgeous grass, you may want to consider aerating your lawn as well. As The Spruce explains, aerating is important because it helps to deal with thatch. Thatch can essentially be described as the layer of build-up made of organic matter that sits atop your lawn until it is decomposed. While thatch won't do much to your lawn in smaller amounts, once that layer becomes relatively thick, it can impact your lawn's ability to get the oxygen, water, and nutrients it needs in order to keep your grass healthy, as Pennington reports. That upper layer can become compacted even through things like foot traffic, including animals running around the backyard and children playing.

If you're unsure whether or not your lawn needs aeration, Pennington has a "screwdriver test" that you might consider trying. If a regular screwdriver has trouble penetrating the dense soil and layer of thatch on your lawn, you know things have become quite compacted and it's definitely time to aerate it. Luckily, it's an easy issue to fix, and there are a few different ways to get it done.

Either opt for manual aeration or use a machine

Depending on your budget in terms of both time and money, you have a few options. As Pennington explains, it's possible to aerate your lawn manually. The options for manual aeration include spike aerators that poke holes into the lawn, slicing aerators that slice through the lawn, and core or plug aerators, which remove cylindrical "plugs" of soil that then rest on your lawn. Some types of manual aeration can be convenient — you might even consider doing lawn care double duty by wearing spike aeration devices attached to your shoes while you walk around mowing the lawn. However, manual aeration does require a little more elbow grease, and is consequently better suited to smaller yards (or for those who have a bit more time on their hands).

If convenience is key, you can certainly hire a professional company to take care of it all with larger and faster machines. If you don't want to invest in a manual aerator for just a few uses, you may think hiring the pros is your only option. However, as reported by Family Handyman, what many people may not know is that you can actually rent these machines from many hardware stores, home improvement centers, and garden centers. Finally, if you're debating what model is the right choice for you, know that core or plug aerators are the gold standard, as they're seen as the most effective way of aerating your lawn.