Lawn Plug Aeration: When To Plug Aerate A Lawn

Lawn Plug Aeration Machine
(Image credit: Emergence-Creative)

Lawn plug aeration is a method of removing small cores of soil from the lawn to keep the lawn and grass healthy. Aeration relieves compaction in the soil, allows more oxygen to reach the roots of the grass, and improves the movement of water and nutrients through the soil. It can also prevent the buildup of thatch, or dead grass and roots, in your lawn. Most lawns can benefit from an occasional aeration.

Does My Lawn Need Plug Aeration?

Essentially, all lawns need aeration at some point. It’s a good management practice that helps maintain health and strength in grassy areas. Even if your lawn is currently healthy and lush, a regular process of aerating will help keep it that way.

The best way to aerate a lawn is to use a core aerating machine. This device uses a hollow tube to actually pull plugs of soil out of the lawn. An implement with a solid spike that punches holes in the soil is not the right tool for this job. It will simply compact the soil even more.

,You can rent a core aerator from your local garden center or hardware store, or you can hire a landscaping service to do the job for you.

When to Plug Aerate a Lawn

The best time for plug aeration depends on several factors, including the type of grass and your climate. For cool-season lawns, fall is the best time for aeration. For warm-season yards, late spring to early summer is best. In general, aeration should be done when the grass is growing vigorously. Avoid aerating during a drought or during the dormant time of year.

Wait to aerate until the conditions are right. In soil that is too dry, the cores won’t be able to get deep enough into the ground. If the soil is too wet, they will get plugged up. The best time for aeration is when the soil is moist but not totally wet.

If your soil is more a clay type, is compacted, and sees a lot of foot traffic, aerating once a year is important. For other lawns, aeration every two to four years is usually adequate.

Once the job is done, just leave the soil plugs in place. They will quickly break down into the soil.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.