Aerating and Seeding: Frequently Asked Questions
What are benefits of aerating a lawn?
Aerating a lawn involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow water, air and nutrients to reach the roots.
When is it best to aerate?
In NC, we recommend aerating our fescue lawns each fall, around mid-September through mid-October. Fescue is a cool season grass, so we do not aerate in August because the 90-100 degree heat will diminish germination rates. It is also important not to wait too late in the season to allow the lawn to start growing before our first frost, which usually occurs early November. We always want to keep our newly seeded lawn free of leaves, sticks and other debris to help the seed grow.
What kind of aerators are there?
There is a variety of commercial equipment we use to aerate our lawn. The most popular style of aerators is a walk-behind style aerator, which consists of a drum style self-propelled walk-behind unit. These machines are very versatile, and are available in both 18” and 24” tine spacing which are great for backyards with gates (the 24” can fit through a 30” gate).
Another style is the stand on unit, which provides maximum comfort and efficiency. These machines have 24” (can fit through 36” gate) and 30” tine spacing (can fit through 48” gate), with electronic depth control to allow operators to provide consistent core depth and quality. They are also equipped with a comfortable platform and cushioned panel to reduce operator fatigue. A 30” stand on aerator can reach speeds of 7.5 mph, and cover up to 2.1 acres per hour.
How do I prepare my lawn for aerating?
- Remove any hoses, lawn furniture, toys, etc prior to the lawn being serviced.
- Mow the lawn to a lower than normal height, since we will skip mowing for a couple weeks to allow the new seed to germinate.
- Water the lawn the day before to help soften the soil
- Avoid the tines from hitting any tree roots
- We do not use wheat straw to keep the seed moist because it produces a lot of weeds. Instead, we recommend using excelsior biodegradable erosion control blankets on hillsides or areas prone to washing away, which come in 4 and 8 foot rolls.