The Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn, for Cool and Warm Season Grasses

core aerator used by a Spring-Green technician

September is here and the amount of sunlight is becoming less and less each day. Less sunlight means that the leaves on trees will start to show their fall colors, summer weeds will begin to slow down growing and another summer is coming to a close. Early fall lawn projects are on homeowners’ minds, and many are wondering if this is the best time to aerate their lawns.

Aerating Your Lawn in the Fall Works for Cool Season Grasses

For cool-season grasses, this is the time of year when the top growth slows down and the root growth increases. Fall is the time when these grasses naturally “repair” the damage that was caused by the stresses of summer. Heat and a lack of rain have taken their toll on cool-season lawns. Insect and disease outbreaks add to the damage level and have left many lawns in a sorry shape for the fall.

In my 37+ years in lawn care, I have always been amazed at the recuperative ability of turfgrasses to recover from these stresses. Even though they can come back, one of the most important things you can do to help a cool-season lawn recover is to core aerate to increase rooting and the overall health of the lawn. It is also a good idea to overseed the lawn to help it fill in even faster. By opening up the lawn, more air, water and nutrients can easily reach the root zone. The cores or plugs of soil that are left behind will breakdown and incorporate into the thatch layer. It is the microorganisms in the soil that feed and the thatch to lessen its impact on the lawn.

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When Is the Best Time to Aerate Warm Season Grasses?

For those of you that have warm-season grasses, the best time to aerate your lawn is in early summer. If you aerate the lawns right now, they won’t be harmed, but the benefits are much less.

When Is the Best Time to Add Nitrogen Fertilizer?

If you plan to apply an application of nitrogen to your warm-season lawn one more time this year, be sure to do so by the end of September. Stimulating new growth in October or November can be detrimental to the lawn if an early frost hits the area. Too much nitrogen in the fall can also lead to an increase in disease activity the following spring.

Before we know it, leaves are going to begin to fall. There are a number of fall lawn and landscape projects that are coming up as the year moves on. I will be discussing those in future blog posts. Enjoy the last of the summer warmth while you can.

Core aeration is just one of the services Spring-Green offers to help homeowners prepare their lawns for winter. Contact your local Spring-Green for a free estimate of your lawn’s unique needs.