When Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn? Timing Is Everything…

Best time to aerate your lawn

You need to aerate your lawn so that the grass and the soil under can properly “breathe.” That process is crucial for the health of your lawn. It’s even better when you do it at the right time.

So, when is the best time to aerate your lawn? Lets take a look.

When Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn?

The best time to aerate your lawn is generally from spring to fall. Aerating your lawn during the growing season means it can easily heal. If you have warm-season grass such as bermuda grass, you should aerate your lawn from late spring to early summer, if you have cool-season grass, such as annual ryegrass, you should aerate your lawn in early spring or fall.

What Is Lawn Aeration?

People need air to live. In the same manner, plants, including grass, need air. The soil is the same. 

That’s why you need to do lawn aeration. It’s the process of poking holes into the lawn and down to the soil to pave the way for the air to circulate within. 


This process would break up thatch, which is an extra layer of organic debris, dead and alive, that bunched up. It is composed of shoots, stems, and roots that are developing between the grass and the soil. 

Thatch is not automatically bad. It becomes a lawn menace when there is major build-up. 

You see

A thin layer of thatch protects the lawn and the grass roots from extreme temperatures. 

A thick layer, on the other hand, will cover the roots and parts of the lawn from enjoying the vitamins from the sun. It can also hold extra water that would possibly block oxygen from penetrating the roots. 

Or worse

The thatch could take in some organisms and pests that carry diseases. 

When you do aeration, you are basically breaking up the thatch since you will be poking holes into it. 

Even better

You could do lawn aeration as a means of prevention. By doing so, you are not giving thatch a chance to develop. 

The process will also break up compacted soil, which is when soil has become too dense that water and nutrients couldn’t penetrate anymore. 

This is not ideal

When soil is compacted, the roots will not be nourished with oxygen, water, and other nutrients. 

Soil compaction is very common in lawns because of foot traffic. In some cases, there is also wheel traffic like bicycles and even motorized ones. 

There are two basic types of lawn aeration:

  • Spiking
  • Core aeration

Spiking is simply poking holes into the lawn. It’s more of a surface aeration. But there are times when you need to do major work and that’s why you do core aeration. 

Man with foot on fork digging ground

What Tools Do You Need To Aerate Your Lawn?

There are five main tools to use to aerate your lawn:

1. Garden fork

This is a tool with four solid prongs. It looks like your table fork, only so much larger and more solid. 

It is used for superficial aeration or basic spiking. It is great at improving air flow within the lawn and underneath. 

How to use it:

You basically just pierce the ground with the fork, but you have to push it through four inches deep. Twist the fork so that you will widen the holes.

Do this every four inches of space until you cover the entire lawn. 

2. Hollow tiner

This is similar to a garden fork except that each prong is hollow. Some hollow tiners have three prongs while others have four. 

The purpose of the hollow prong is so that you can pull out plugs of soil. The holes allow oxygen to go through the spaces. 

How to use it:

Use it like you do the garden fork, except that you don’t need to twist it since you already remove a whole lot of soil. 

If the holes are too big, you can fill it up with good-quality topsoil.

3. Scarifier / dethatcher

This product has a number of tines that rake through thatches and remove them. There are simple rakes that can be dragged and there are motorized ones too. 

4. Aerator shoes

These are not shoes per se but spiked attachments. They have straps so that you could attach them to your working boots. 

How to use it:

You wear it and walk around the lawn so that you will poke holes into the area. If you want to find out more read our guide to the best aerator shoes.

5. Seed slitter / slit seeder / slice seeder

This is basically an effective tool for reseeding a lawn. It is a piece of rolling equipment with multiple blades. There is a group of blades that pierce the ground and another group that drop the seeds into the slits. 

Since the tool basically slits the ground, then it can be a good lawn aerator, too. 

How to use it:

You just push the equipment all over your lawn. 

Aerated lawn

When Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn?

There is a proper time to aerate your lawn. You aerate your lawn because you want it to be healthy. 

However, timing is also important. There is a right time to aerate your lawn. 


The best time to aerate your lawn is from spring to fall. But it also depends on what type of lawn you have. 

The rule of thumb is that you aerate the lawn during the growing season because the grass can easily heal at this time. 

Late spring to early summer

This is the best time to aerate the lawn when you have warm-season grass. This is the time when the grass is at its peak growing period, which is why it could easily recover despite being poked. 

Here are examples of warm-season grasses:

  • Bahia
  • Bermudagrass
  • Buffalo
  • Centipedegrass
  • St. Augustine
  • Zoysia

Early spring or fall

This is the best time to aerate the lawn if you have cool-season grasses because this is also the time that they are at their peak. 

Here are some of the types of cool-season grasses:

  • Annual ryegrass
  • Creeping bentgrass
  • Creeping red fescue
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Tall fescue
Grass, close-up


When it comes to gardening or growing plants, timing is very important. You have to plant certain types of plants at an appropriate time. That also applies to different activities involving taking care of what you have in the garden. 

Lawn aeration should be properly timed. The best time to aerate your lawn will be based on what type of grass you have. There is a proper time to aerate when you have cool-season grass and warm-season grass. 

You can generally aerate your lawn from spring to fall. 

Useful Resources

  • Should You Aerate Your Lawn? – North Dakota State University
  • How to Aerate Your Lawn – HGTV
  • Best Aerator Shoes: 9 Amazing Tools to Keep Your Lawn (and Yourself) Healthy – SuaveYards

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