What Is Aeration?


Technically speaking, aeration is the naturally occurring process of air exchange between the soil and its surrounding atmosphere. Practically speaking, aeration is the process of mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn to improve natural soil aeration. It’s commonly called “core aeration” in the lawn service industry. Green Earth Sprinklers provides core aeration and seasonal fertilization, either separately, or at the same time.

What are The Benefits of Aeration?

Core aeration can help make your lawn healthier and reduce its maintenance requirements through these means:
  • Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
  • Enhanced soil water uptake.
  • Improved fertilizer uptake and use.
  • Reduced water runoff and puddling.
  • Stronger turf grass roots.
  • Reduced soil compaction.
  • Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.
  • Improved resiliency and cushioning.
  • Enhanced thatch breakdown.
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Side view after
core aeration
Side view of vigorous root
growth after six weeks

Why Is Aeration Necessary?

Walking, playing and mowing will compact soil and stress lawns. Rain and irrigation further compact the soil, reducing air spaces where roots grow. Compaction is greater on heavy clay soils than on sandy soils, and it is greatest in the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inches of soil. Aeration can help relieve soil compaction, allowing your grass to grow deeper roots and better absorb water and fertilizer.


Relieve Thatch Accumulation

Most lawns are subject to thatch accumulation. Left unmanaged, it impedes water, fertilizer and pesticide effectiveness. Core aeration combines soil with the thatch debris, so soil organisms are better able to break down the thatch and reduce its accumulation. Most lawns will greatly benefit from annual aeration.

When is The Best Time to Aerate?

Both spring and fall are ideal times to aerate. In the spring, we usually aerate between March and May. During this time we offer our optional, weed & feed fertilizer which is made here in Texas for Texas lawns. Our fall aeration schedule runs between October and December, and we offer an optional winter blend fertilizer. Aeration before fertilization maximizes the benefit by enhancing root growth and improves spring green up and growth.

Warm season turf grasses such as Bermuda should be aerated in mid-spring to summer. Avoid aerating them when dormant – it may encourage weed competition. In addition, avoid aerating warm season grasses during spring green up, and not until after their first spring mowing.


Herbicides, Fertilizers & Aeration

It’s best to aerate before you apply pre-emergence herbicides, rather than after. Aerating after a herbicide application can reduce the chemical barrier formed by the herbicide, allowing weeds to germinate. Applying fertilizer after aeration helps the lawn compete against weeds. Water the lawn after aeration, particularly in areas where drought and high temperatures. If fertilizer has been applied, it is best to water it in thoroughly within 24 – 48 hours.

What can you expect?

Immediately after aeration, your lawn will be dotted with small plugs pulled from the soil. Within a week or two, they break apart and disappear into the lawn. About 7 to 10 days after aeration, the aeration holes/plugs will be filled with white, actively growing roots – a sign that the turf grass is receiving additional oxygen, moisture and nutrients from the soil.



On compacted soils and on lawns with slopes, you should see an immediate difference in water puddling and runoff after irrigation or rainfall. After aeration, your lawn should be able to go longer between waterings, without showing signs of wilt. With repeat aerations over time, your lawn will show enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.


Remember, most lawns benefit from annual aeration. And while you shouldn’t expect miracles, especially with poor soil, lawns that receive this care will be healthier, more vigorous, and easier to maintain and have fewer pest problems.