Should I wait or is it great to aerate?

A:

Aeration, (technically "core aerification") is a great source of revenue for many lawn care companies, but is rarely needed for residential lawns in western Oregon. When it is needed, it is best done mid-April to mid-May--but only when the soil is not overly wet. Attempting to aerate a lawn when the soil is too wet will result in much more soil compaction than it alleviates.

Aeration is only useful for one situation: soil compaction in lawns. Below is the applicable quote from an excellent free resource--Practical lawn care for western Oregon.

Compacted soils will compromise root development and turf density, inhibit infiltration, and increase surface runoff. Coring opens up the surface of compacted soils, improves water percolation, and encourages root development. When determining if core aerification is necessary for your lawn, consider these problems:

  • Is your soil compacted?
  • Has water penetration reduced over time?
  • Do you have localized dry spots or excessive thatch?

If you have one or more of these problems, consider core cultivation. Otherwise core cultivation is not necessary.

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