Lawn Aeration
Lawn Aeration helps to soften hard soil by allowing water to penetrate into them rather than just running off of the surface. This helps to save water and in turn saves you money on watering your lawn. It also allows your lawn to stay greener in the summer and winter. Clay soil expands when the weather gets warm (or cold) causing the soil to become compacted so aeration is recommended.
Lawn aeration is the process of using a mechanical, liquid, or hand lawn aerator to aerate your lawn.
Piyush MehtaJan 15 2009

Essentially it works by rolling steel spikes over the lawn, that punctures the soil so that air, water and fertilizer go deep into the root zone, It also aides in loosening compact soil. The space from removing the cores provides room for the roots to expand, reducing stress.

When to Aerate
Most experts say to aerate your lawn every 1-3 years. It really depends on the type of soil and the environment. You can check by removing a section of grass and if the roots are no deeper then 2-3 inches your soil could be too compact for the roots, making it difficult to grow downward.
Aeration holes should be 2-6 inches deep and 2-6 inches apart. You should aerate in two different directions to ensure total coverage.

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Ideal conditions
  • Aerate on a day when temperatures are mild.
  • The soil should be moist.
  • Cool-season grasses should be aerated in the fall.
  • Warm-season grasses should be done in the springtime.
  • The plugs can be left alone; they will break up with time.
  • You should check with a landscaping expert to find out the ideal depth to aerate your lawn.

Here is an example of a modern day aerator in action.

Allowing more nutrients and space to grow ensures a healthy lawn. The roots will only grow as deep as the water penetrates; tight compact soil is a roots enemy. Loosening the soil allows roots to grow and will make your lawn greener and healthier.

Another important factor is what you are planning to do after you aerate. Lawn aeration works well with over seeding and fertilizing, you want to time your lawn aeration so that you can also over seed or fertilize the lawn. Once again, spring is a great time to do this, but in some parts of the country summer, fall and winter may also be could time to aerate
The best time to aerate your lawn is usually in April or in late September. For Spring Aeration the optimal window is March to the end of June. In the fall it is September to October. The 'perfect time' to aerate a lawn may change according to location. If the ground is to soft, it may not be a good time. If the ground is too hard it may need to be watered for about an hour before hand to obtain the best results with a lawn aerator. Those that are aerated on a regular basis may produce better plugs. Lawn aeration can be done using a lawn aerator machine, aerator shoes, liquid aeration, a tow behind aerator, or a hand aerator.