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Do My Own Lawn Care - How to Aerate

By DoMyOwn staff

How do you aerate a yard? Now that Spring has finally arrived, and the grass is starting to green up, Paul can finally bust out the aerator and answer that question for you.

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Video Transcript

One minute I'm complaining about how bad the weather is, next thing you know it, Spring is officially here and we're ready for the next step in our rehab program!

But before we get into that next step, I wanted to address a comment we got on our dethatching video, which I very much appreciate.

A viewer had asked after I dethatched the yard, didn't I break down my pre emergent barrier on the yard?

And the answer is yes!

And if that didn't break it down, what we're going to do today most certainly will.

Just to re emphasis, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm figuring this out as I go along and I'm reaching out to the customer service staff to just check and make sure I'm doing things right.

What I should have done is dethatched and prepped the yard, cleaned it up and all that kind of stuff before putting down a pre emergent, but I did the opposite. I put down my pre emergent, and then cleaned up and dethatched the yard.

Checking with the customer service staff, this isn't a huge problem. I'll just use a different pre emergent with a different active ingredient to put down on the lawn so that I can prevent new weeds from germinating.

Gorgeous sunrise though!

Now on to today's topic! Aerating!

Thanks to Spring finally getting here and giving us the wonderful and beautiful warm weather that we needed for the lawn to start to green up, I can now bust this guy out, punch some holes in the yard in prep for fertilizing and overseeding.

But, as usual, I wanted to go over some tips and some things to consider when you go to aerate the yard. Let's first go over the tools that you can use to aerate your yard.

This is a motorized core aerator. This is the method that I'm going to use because, again, I got 6400 square feet that I'm dealing with, and this will make light work of it.

There's two main methods we can use to aerate the yard. We can go manual, or motorized. For the mainly method you'll use something like this that uses good old foot power to plunge two to four hollow cylinders into the soil to extract cores and punch holes. The other method is, you can strap on some spiked shoes, to walk across the yard and punch holes, but it doesn't remove soil cores, which is what we don't want to use.

Remember the whole reason for aerating, is to bust up soil compaction. I'm going to use the motorized method because it's got spiked tines on the back that will pull out some cores for me and bust up that soil compaction around the whole yard.

There's a couple of things to keep in mind about a motorized core aerator like this one. It's large and it's heavy. And it's going to require some physical strength to move it around and operate it. If you can, I would plan on having a couple of people with you and a full size truck, if at all possible, to move it around and get it to your house. The other thing that you can do is partner with your neighbors to share the cost on renting it. And they can provide the extra muscle to manage the machine for you.

Now typically the busies rental times for aerators are Spring and Fall weekends. If you know you're going to be aerating, make a reservation early, avoid the crowds, and try to aerate on a weekday if at all possible.

One other thing I want to do before I fire up the aerator...I'm going to scalp my yard!

That was kind of depressing to scalp it down. But it was for a purpose!

The reason for scalping the lawn down like this is so that we can allow fertilizer and the new seed to get down to the soil level.

Before you aerate, I would walk around the yard, and take note of any kind obstacles that might be in the way; like termite bait stations or sprinkler heads, buried utility lines that might be pretty shallow, or shallow irrigation lines; anything you don't want to hit with the aerator, take note of it, and try and go around it.

Now that that's out of the way, I'm going to get the core aerator in the yard and start punching holes. Now the way I'm going to tackle it, is I'm going to do a checkerboard kind of pattern. I'll make passes going one way and then I'll make more passes going the other. That way I make sure to get as many holes punched in it as possible.

So let's get to it! Been waiting for this moment for awhile!

After we get done aerating, we want to leave a lot of the plugs in the yard to decompose because they contain beneficial microorganisms that are going to help the lawn thrive. So, back you go little fella! And you!

Core aerating like this, is going to bring up a lot of weed seeds from the lower soil levels. So for cool season grasses, you should plan to use a pre emergent herbicide in the spring following a fall aeration. For warm season turf, apply the herbicide in the fall after aerating. But what ever you do, do not apply a pre emergent herbicide at the same time you reseed. Like I'm going to do here in the back yard.

That took some serious work! But it's done.

Mother nature really played in our favor on this one. It rained the day before so it helped loosen up the soil so I could take out really good plugs. Also its forecast to rain for the next two days. So I wanted to get out here and aerate so that I could get my fertilizer and my seed in the back yard, because that rain is going to help water that into the soil. So that's definitely something you want to do immediately after you aerate. Fertilize and over seed, if you plan to do that.

If you don't have rain in the forecast like I do, go ahead and water the lawn a few extra times, especially if it's going to be pretty dry out.

Another long day out of the way, another step in the rehab program logged in the books, and we're on to the next.

I am planning on fertilizing and overseeding later on today, but I want to make separate videos on those, so that I can more in depth on those topics and that this video doesn't get too long.

As always, I'm pretty sure we covered the basics when it comes to aerating the lawn! If we didn't touch on something and you've got more questions, you can always leave them in the comment section below, you can contact our customer service staff by shooting them an email, or pick up the phone and give them a call.

We really appreciate everybody liking and sharing and commenting on the videos, and we really hope that your learning like I am what it takes to Do My Own Lawn Care!

Make sure to sure to subscribe to the channel by clicking this button. And you can also click this playlist to see all of the other videos that we've done in the series so far.

And as always, thanks for watching!