How to Aerate and Overseed Your Lawn

A few hours aerating your lawn this weekend will give benefits for a long time.

Why should I aerate?

Aerate your lawn if you have compacted soil, the grass is getting thin or you would like to overseed with a more vigorous type of seed.

When should I aerate?

I prefer to aerate from late summer to early fall because grass can set up before the heat and drought of the following summer.  Aerate an established lawn every two to three years, yearly for a poor lawn until you get it back under control.

What type of aerator do you recommend?

You can rent an aerator for the day or a few hours at most rental centers.  If you have a small lawn a few hours is all you need.  Aerators are heavy.  Have a friend help you load and unload the machine.

There are many different types of aerators.  Some have hollow tines which move up and down to punch holes in your lawn, some have a drum with hollow tines that remove cores from your lawn and some are a solid drum with solid tines that you pull behind a tractor.  I recommend a machine that removes a core and is easy to maneuver.

What type of grass seed do you recommend?

There are many types of grass seed and just as many types of lawns.  Grass seed mixes for our climate here in Connecticut include ‘Landscapers Mix’ or ‘Sun and Shade Mix’.  These mixes have bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue for a nice lawn.

Avoid ‘Contractor Mix’ grass seed which establishes quickly but not give a quality lawn in the long-term.

Do your research before purchasing seed and always buy the best.  The biggest factor in determining you lawns success or failure is the seed you plant.

A word of caution

Before aerating mark all sprinkler heads and wires less than four inches deep.

If you run the aerator over a sprinkler head or wire you may break it.

By John Holden