Can You Over Aerate Your Lawn?

Figuring out how to keep your lawn in good shape can often be a challenge. Do you want to aerate your grass routinely but don't know if you are overdoing it? We have done plenty of research to find you the answer.

You can over aerate a lawn if you do it too frequently. Generally, you only need to aerate your lawn once per year, so this should not be seasonal. If your lawn is growing well or has thin, sandy soil, you can wait as long as every two to three years between aerating.

As we begin, we will cover all things lawn care and discuss how often you should aerate your lawn's soil. Whether you want to see fuller, greener grass or maintain your lawn's current look, we've got you covered. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

A man aerating in his lawn, Can You Over Aerate Your Lawn?

How Often Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

Typically, you should only need to aerate a lawn every year or so. Depending on your lawn's thickness, this can affect how often it is beneficial to aerate.

Mostly, thicker clay soil or lawns with heavy traffic are safe to aerate every 12 months, while sandier, thinner lawns do better with at least two years between aerations. Furthermore, if your lawn is currently healthy, there is no reason to disturb the peace by aerating it.

Full frame aerated lawn with dirt clumps on grass

Is Too Much Aeration Bad For A Lawn?

When it comes to over aerating a lawn, yes, this can be bad for it. Generally, if you over aerate your lawn, this will kill your grass and create drainage issues in your soil.

One of the reasons this happens is that each time you aerate a lawn, you puncture holes into it, leading to problems if done too often. That said, not all soil is the same, so every lawn will respond differently to being aerated.

What Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn?

Timeline-wise, you want to aerate your lawn during its peak spring/summer growing season. The best time of year to aerate depends on:

  1. The type of grass that your lawn has.
  2. What the weather is like in your area.
  3. How much moisture your lawn has received.

Of course, every lawn is different, but if your grass grows and the weather is good, we would say it is ok to aerate.

Can You Aerate Your Lawn In The Winter?

For those wanting to aerate in the winter, we wouldn't recommend doing this. Like we covered above, the best time to aerate is during your lawn's growing season, which won't usually be in the winter.

Giving your grass time to regrow and adjust after you've aerated is essential for its health, which will be nearly impossible in winter conditions.

For anyone in the tropics, this might not apply to you, but even then, your grass will not be growing as well as it does in the spring or summer.

When Should You Not Aerate Your Lawn?

Aerated putting green on golf course

Regarding when not to aerate a lawn, there are a few indicators that you should look out for. Most importantly, if you have recently aerated in the past six to eight months, we would say hold off. 

Another thing to look out for is how wet the ground is because aerating a damp lawn is not suitable for it. Weather-wise, you also don't want to aerate if it is raining, snowing, or very cold because this can stun your lawn.

Should You Water After You Aerate Your Lawn?

If you have just aerated your lawn, we recommend giving it a good watering shortly after. During the first couple of weeks post-aeration, you want to hydrate your lawn as much as possible.

You should water a newly aerated lawn for about 20 minutes daily for the first two weeks. After that, you can cut back to about three times per week and then return to your regular watering schedule after around four weeks.

Can You Aerate A Lawn By Hand?

This is possible when aerating your lawn by hand, although it might take a while. Typically, you won't want to aerate your entire lawn by hand, but there are ways to do this without bulky, expensive machinery.

We recommend a pair of aerating sandals, which makes it as easy as walking around your lawn to get the job done. Another idea for manually aerating your lawn is to use a hand-held spike aerator, which either rolls across the ground or has a pitchfork design.

Jumbo Varieties Lawn Aerating Spike Sandals

These lawn aerating sandals have a sturdy plastic base, 26 rust-proof spikes, fit most shoe sizes, and come with a stainless steel shovel.

Follow this link to view them on Amazon.

Agri-Fab 16-Inch Push Spike Aerator

This lawn aerator is 16 inches wide, has five aerating wheels, a 2.5-inch aeration depth, and comes in a few bundle options.

See this aerator on Amazon here.

How To Aerate Your Lawn By Hand

For those wanting to aerate their lawn by hand, this is relatively simple. To start:

  • Thoroughly water your lawn two days before aerating it.
  • Test a patch of your lawn to see if it is dry enough to aerate on the day of.
  • Once your ground is dry, begin to aerate your lawn, only covering it once.
  • Apply compost or sand to your lawn and rake up any excess soil cores.
  • Water your lawn thoroughly and continue to do this daily for one to two weeks.

Michigan Peat Garden Magic Compost and Manure

This garden compost is organic, has no odor, works on most soil types, and comes in a 40-pound bag.

View this compost on Amazon here.

Which Is Better: A Spike Or Plug Aerator?

Agricultural aerator used in a vineyard

Between the two, a plug aerator will work better on thicker, heavily compacted soil, while spikes only work well for smaller lawns with mild compaction.

When it comes to which one is easier to use, we would say that a spike aerator requires less manual labor than a plug option but doesn't always give your lawn as good of a result.

That said, using a plug aerator can make your lawn uneven, which will require more work for you later on. Of course, this depends on how compacted your soil is and how much space you're working with, but overall we think a spike option is more user-friendly.

Heavy Duty 18 Inch Rolling Spike Aerator

This rolling aerator is 18 inches wide, has a steel handle, zinc, and stale plated spikes, and comes with a fender option.

Check this aerator out on Amazon here.

Tow-Behind Plug Aerator

This tow-behind aerator is 48 inches wide, has 32 coring plugs, supports up to 140 pounds, and works on ATVs and riding lawnmowers.

Click this link to see it on Amazon here.

Do You Have To Aerate Your Lawn?

When it comes to having to aerate your lawn, we do not think this is always necessary. In general, there isn't much reason to aerate as long as your grass and soil are healthy and draining water well. 

That said, if your lawn does get high traffic levels or you start to notice it looking unhealthy, that is when it might be a good time to aerate. Every lawn is different, so there isn't one right way to ensure your soil and grass stay healthy and strong.

Is Aerating Your Lawn Worth It?

Depending on how your soil responds to aerating, we do think it can be very beneficial. As we mentioned, you aren't required to aerate your lawn annually, but it can help to break up compacted soil and get your grass growing better than before.

Of course, if you live somewhere with mildly thick soil and moderate weather, you might not have to aerate at all.

To Wrap It Up

Whether you have aerated before or want to try doing it to your lawn, it is essential not to overdo it. It is possible to over aerate, so you should only do it every one to two years. 

Depending on how compacted and thick your soil is, this will impact if your lawn needs regular aeration or if it is better to wait a few years between sessions.

Timeline-wise, we recommend waiting to aerate until spring/summer, so your grass can develop and adjust before its winter dormancy. Regardless, remember not to over aerate your lawn and water it thoroughly for one to weeks after.

Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts:

What Are The Best And Worst Types Of Soil For St Augustine Grass?

What's The Best Time To Aerate And Overseed A Lawn?

Should You Dethatch Or Aerate A Lawn First?

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