Do You Need a Lawn Aerator?

Like most of you, I knew you had to mow and water a lawn to keep it looking nice and to keep your neighbors from complaining about your unsightly yard.  However, I did not know anything about lawn aerators until I’d owned my home for a couple of years and noticed problems with my grass.  I contacted a professional who alerted me to this mysterious part of lawn care:  the need for a lawn aerator.

What is a Lawn Aerator?

Generally, a lawn aerator is a machine that aerates your soil.  You see, over time your soil is going to become compacted, particularly if it’s highly trafficked.  As a result, water can’t move through the soil as easily, and your grass can have a hard time getting the water it needs to thrive.  Additionally, lawn thatch begins to cover the top soil.  Lawn thatch is basically just dead material that builds up over time.  As a result, your grass can also be deprived of much-needed oxygen.

A lawn aerator is designed to correct either one or both of these problems, depending on the type of equipment you choose.

Types of Lawn Aerators

You can find three main types of lawn aerators on the market.  The first uses spikes to drive holes into the soil.  The second actually pulls out plugs of soil.  The third is a true manual model:  it’s a pair of boots with spikes on the bottom you can use to punch holes into your soil just by walking around the lawn.

Which is best?  Well, the professional I worked with recommended lawn aerators which pull out plugs of soil.  As he explained, this not only helps eliminate the problems of lawn thatch build up but it also reduces the compaction of the soil.  Of course, plug lawn aerators do cost more than the other varieties.

Spike lawn aerators will do a good job, and they cost less.  However, if your budget is very limited the spike boots are your best bet.  They are the most affordable method type of lawn aerator.  Of course, some hardware or home improvement stores may also rent out lawn aerator equipment.

Lawn Aerator Basics

Using a lawn aerator isn’t as simple as just punching a bunch of holes in the soil.  You do need to use the equipment at the right time of year to maximize the effectiveness.  For example, you should never use a lawn aerator during the summer.  The soil is just too hard to make deep enough holes.  Instead, wait until the spring or fall to use your lawn aerator.  The ground will be softer during those seasons.

If your yard is very wet, then you should cover it with either sand or a mixture between sand and top soil.  However, be careful not to overfill those holes.  You need just enough of the material to fill the holes.  Adding too much can end up killing the grass and that would defeat the purpose.

Remember that using a lawn aerator is an important part of maintaining a beautiful, healthy yard.  You just need to select the right equipment for your budget (and remember rental is always an option) and use it correctly to achieve the results you want.