If you have high traffic areas or heavy clay soil, you'll want to air them out every year. If you have sandy soil or your lawn grows well, you can air it every 2 to 3 years. How often should you air your lawn? Regarding frequency, Friell said that aeration should be done at least once a year on most lawns. Lawns with compacted soil or with a high clay content can benefit from aeration twice a year.
Aerate your lawn once every 1 to 5 years for optimal growth. Grass on heavy soils or with heavy foot traffic will benefit from more frequent aeration. The best type of lawn aerator is a plug aerator, which removes small cores or plugs from the ground to create space for air, water and root growth. Whether you use a grass aerator with solid wedge-shaped tines that drill holes in the ground or a central aerator equipped with hollow spikes that remove dirt, the grass aerator will penetrate more easily and can create deeper holes when the soil is wet.
Although there are other aeration methods (such as aeration with picks, blades and liquids), core aeration is considered the most legitimate and popular aeration method among homeowners and lawn care professionals. They are special shoes with spikes on the bottom, and all you need to do is walk up and down the grass to air it. Generally, lawn health and other signs, such as soil compaction, water buildup, thick straw, and uneven grass growth, will tell you when your lawn needs to be aerated. If you're just maintaining a healthy lawn, annual aeration along with planting and fertilization should be perfectly adequate to maintain the health of your lawn.
Many advise against aeration shoes unless you have a small, compact lawn, since it takes a lot of work and time to air it with your shoes. You can aerate a small lawn with a manual lawn aerator, by renting or buying a mechanical aerator or by hiring a lawn aeration service. This ensures that the grass grows fast enough to recover and take advantage of the greater pore space and the air exchange in the root area created by aeration. If you spread grass seeds, be sure to air them in spring, so that the seed has all summer and adequate time to grow, which thickens the grass.
You'll need to air it during the growing season in your region so that the grass recovers quickly and fills the gaps in the grass. The best time to aerate a lawn varies depending on the type of grass you have and the climate in your region. Regular lawn wear and tear throughout the year will compact the soil, so it's a good idea to air it annually (although the specific aeration program will depend on the type of soil and the level of compaction). To aerate a lawn, a professional or DIY enthusiast uses a soil aeration tool to drill holes in the soil and improve the supply of air, water and nutrients to the soil and grass roots, allowing those roots to spread.
However, over time, the soil under the grass gradually compacts and aeration is one way to help it return to a healthier state. You can then compare the cost of the service to the cost of buying or renting an aerator, your willingness to spend the time, and your degree of comfort in aerating your own lawn.