Here in South Central Pennsylvania, farm stands are filled with end-of-summer bounty, and that’s a sure sign it’s time to start aerating your lawn. In York, Hanover, and Lancaster Counties, the end of summer is the perfect time to prepare your lawn for winter and get it on its way for a healthy start next spring.
Why Should I Aerate?
Just think of aerating your lawn as helping it breathe again after a season of being compacted by lawnmowers, kids, summer get-togethers, and pets. Aerating reduces compaction and improves the circulation of air, water, and nutrients, leading to healthier, stronger root systems and better drainage.
Aerating also gives you the perfect opportunity for overseeding—adding seed to an existing lawn for a lusher, fuller appearance—and re-seeding if areas of your lawn are sparse or would be healthier with a different type of grass or a mix.
How Do I Aerate?
Hiring a professional landscape maintenance team ensures the highest-quality results with no effort from you.
If you’re more the DIY type, we recommend that you use a plug aerator (available for rent from most home improvement stores) to create holes evenly throughout the lawn. Holes vary in size depending on the machine, but they’re usually between ½ inch and ¾ inch in diameter and 2–3 inches long.
The alternative is a spike aerator, but they just puncture the lawn and can actually create more compaction, so we don’t recommend them. If you have a small lawn, there are hand tools for the job if you’re ready for a serious workout!
Make sure the ground is moist. The perfect time to aerate is two days after a good rain or watering. There’s little more frustrating than trying to pull soil out of a rock-hard lawn. Keep in mind that you’ll need to make several passes with the machine. One pass won’t create enough holes to be effective.
Once you’re done, you can leave the plugs where they fall, and within a week or two they’ll break down and disappear back into the lawn. If you want to improve the look of your lawn right away, simply break the plugs up with a rake or a quick pass with your lawnmower.
What Happens After I Aerate?
That’s when the magic starts. As soon as the holes are created, your lawn’s root system opens up to better water and air flow, which means your grass will be healthier, more resistant to disease, and will absorb rainfall better.
Whether you do it yourself, or hire a professional landscape maintenance team, aeration helps you create a thick, healthy, beautiful lawn so you can enjoy the beauty of your outdoor space season after season.