Having a lawn means conducting maintenance from time to time for optimal results. These include things such as dethatching, aeration, spring cleanups, and much more.

If you are wondering whether you must aerate lawn in spring for maintenance, you have stumbled upon the correct page. Our lawn care experts in Mississauga have created a comprehensive guide for beginners.

Keep reading to learn about the what, how, and why of aerating lawn in spring.

What is Aeration?

A definition post explaining what is aeration

Soil can become compact with time due to various factors, such as rain, mowing, sun, and more. Aeration is a process that helps break up the soil and ensures the loosening up of pores to improve the health of the soil.

The aeration process helps the roots to grow strong and deep. So, if you want to ensure that your lawn is getting all the right nutrients, then it is crucial to maintain your lawn through aeration.

The Top Types of Aeration

An infographic on the top types of aeration methods

You can choose from different aeration methods to aerate lawn in spring. Let’s review each in detail to help you decide which method will prove to be the best for your lawn requirements:

1. Core Aeration

Best For: Heavily compacted lawns

Perhaps the most popular aeration method is core aeration. In this method, you use two to three-inch cores that you plug into the ground and remove after every few inches.

Then, the soil is spread across the surface. If soil compaction is at its peak in your lawn, then we recommend using this method as it will help break the soil and effectively redistribute it.

These holes after every few inches will promote the growth of roots while ensuring that the soil has access to the right nutrients and water for optimal strength.

2. Spike Aeration

Best For: Less compacted soil

As the name suggests, this aeration method uses spikes to create holes inside the lawn without removing any soil. Instead, these spikes help push the dirt even further into the ground.

Most people don’t use this form of aeration very often as it is not too popular. It is useful if you want to have better access to the root system before fertilization or keeping your lawn ready for overseeding.

3. Liquid Aeration

Best For: A convenient aeration solution

Thanks to technological advancements, you now have the option of liquid aeration to aerate your lawn in spring. This lawn treatment helps the air, nutrients, and water reach your lawn’s root system.

If you want more ventilation and better access to the root system, you can opt for this type of aeration. However, you will have to look around to find liquid aerators in your region.

When to Aerate Lawn in Spring: Top 4 Factors to Consider

An infographic on when to aerate lawn in spring

March and May is the best time to aerate lawn in spring. If your turf is highly compacted and refuses to grow further, then doing it during spring will be incredibly beneficial for you.

However, other factors will also determine when to aerate lawn in spring. These include the following:

1. The Type of Grass

Yes, the type of grass will greatly impact when you should begin aerating lawn in spring. These include:

  • Cool-season grass: The best time for aerating this grass is early spring or early fall
  • Warm-season grass: Late spring or early summer is the best time to aerate these lawns

Depending on the grass you have on your lawn, you can choose the best time for spring aeration. Make sure to read our guide on spring lawn care to determine this with accuracy.

2. The Natural Growth of Your Grass

It is crucial to note the growth of your grass before you aerate lawn in spring. We recommend you aerate before or during your grass’s peak natural growth.

The reason for this timing is that if you don’t time it right, then your grass will go under even more stress. Another recommendation we have is that you never aerate dormant lawns so that the root system can remain intact.

3. Dryness of the Soil

If your soil is too dry, we recommend you don’t aerate it right away in spring. The process is much easier on you and the lawn when your lawn is a little moist from irrigation or rainfall.

On the other hand, if your soil is too wet, you should not aerate it. This will lead to other problems that will hurt the health of your lawn.

4. Foot Traffic

When deciding when to aerate lawn in spring, you should also take foot traffic into account. For example, if your lawn has a high foot traffic, then may need to aerate twice in the year; one during spring and the other time during fall.

Another reason to aerate twice a year is when your grass is not thriving throughout the year. Then, we recommend you keep aerating twice a year until your grass achieves healthy growth.

Signs your Lawn Requires Aeration

An infographic on the signs that your lawn needs aeration

Now that you know when to aerate lawn in spring, it is also important to understand the telltale signs that your lawn requires aeration.

If you notice any of these signs, it is time to aerate your lawn for a healthy soil and root system:

  • Compacted soil: Such soil will block the water from reaching the grassroots
  • Pooling in the lawn: When water runs right off the soil, it is an indication of needing aeration
  • Dehydrated lawn: If your lawn looks incredibly dehydrated and dry, then it is time for some aeration
  • Stunted plant growth: This is also an indication that water is not reaching properly, and core aeration is needed for healthy plant growth
  • Dead or brown patches in the grass: If your lawn has dead or brown patches, then it is time to aerate it
  • Thin and dull grass: When grass has been thin or dull for too long, then it might be time to aerate lawn in spring

All of these signs are an indication that your soil requires aeration.

If you don’t know where to begin, we recommend you get in touch with Falcon Landscaping to help diagnose the lawn and fix your lawn as soon as possible.

Should I Aerate my Lawn in Spring or Fall?

The main question many people have is whether to aerate lawn in spring or fall. Both are ideal times for aeration, but the timing depends on other factors.

For example, if you have planted cool-season grasses, then the beginning of fall is the best time. On the other hand, if you have warm-season grass, then late spring is the best time for this.

We recommend choosing between spring or early fall for your aeration needs. You can also get in touch with professionals, and they will check your lawn and let you know what will be the best time to aerate your lawn.

How to Aerate Lawn in Spring?

A diagram on how to aerate lawn in spring

Now that you have some idea about aeration, you can determine whether you can aerate lawn in spring. So, if you want a step-by-step guide on how to aerate your lawn, here is everything you need to know:

1. Gather Lawn Aeration Tools

The first thing you must do when you aerate lawn in spring is gather the lawn aeration tools you will need to begin this process. These include the following:

  • Lawn Aerator: We recommend you opt for a core or spike aerator for the best results
  • Lawn Mower: This will help you trim the grass accurately before beginning aeration
  • Garden hose or a sprinkler system: When you make the lawn moist before aeration, it will help you insert the aerator inside the ground
  • Marker flags: You can use these to mark any pipes, important utility lines, or sprinkler heads that are an obstacle within your lawn

2. Understand your Lawn

The next thing you need to do is understand what your lawn needs the most. When you know this, you can customize the aeration process based on your findings.

Here are a few things you must consider when understanding the unique characteristics of your soil:

Identify your Grass

As we discussed before, the grass type in your lawn will mainly determine the aeration time. So, first you must check whether you have warm-season or cool-season grass in your lawn.

Once you know this, there are still other factors to take into account before you aerate lawn in spring.

Identify the Soil Type

The next thing you need to identify is the soil composition. For example, if the soil is too sandy, then it will need less frequent aeration.

On the other hand, if the soil is clay, then it will require more frequent aeration as it becomes compact. Here are some different types of soil and their aeration frequency:

Type of Soil Frequency of aeration
Mixed soil Frequency depends on the dominant soil within this type
Clay soil At least one or two times in a year
Sandy soil Once every two or three years
Loam soil Once every year, during the fall
Compact soil At least two times in a year

Please note that these are only general rules of thumb. In practice, you will need to determine all the other factors before you decide when to aerate the lawn.

Examine the Lawn Habits

As a homeowner, there are different habits you may have in your lawn. For example, you may have high foot traffic from pets and kids or you may have lot of vehicles or tools parked in the lawn.

High traffic areas in the lawn can lead to soil compaction, and you need to determine which parts will require the most aeration. On the other hand, if you have just begin overseeding your lawn, then there is no need to begin the aeration process.

After overseeding, it is best to wait a year so the seeds can germinate and your lawn can begin developing their root systems. Another important point to note is that if the root depth is less than two inches, then it is time to begin aeration.

Just a small shovel will help you determine the depth of the roots in your lawn.

Step 3: Select How You Will Aerate Lawn

Once you have understood your lawn, it is time to determine the aeration method to aerate lawn in spring. For example, if the soil is incredibly compact, then it is best to use manual aeration methods for the best results.

We have already discussed lawn aeration methods, which is why we will briefly discuss them here to help you select how you will aerate your lawn:

  • Core aeration: If your soil is too compact, then this aerator will provide extra leverage to penetrate the lawn
  • Spike aeration: If you don’t want to plug the lawn, then this can be ideal

On the other hand, if there are specific problem areas in your lawn that you want to address, then a garden fork will work best.

Step 4: Prepare the Lawn before Aeration

It is crucial to prepare the area to aerate lawn in spring. Here is everything you can do to ensure that the lawn is ready for aeration:

Trim with a Lawnmower

The first thing you must do is trim the lawn using a lawnmower. We recommend trimming around two to three inches to ensure that the aerator will penetrate the soil better.

Doing this will also prevent any harm to the blades and roots of the grass as you aerate.

Check the Moisture Level

Secondly, checking moisture levels is important because aerators work best when the soil is moist and soft. Check the soil and aerate it if it is slightly moist, as too much moisture can hinder the aeration process.

You can also water your lawn at least a day or two days before aeration to ensure better penetration. This will help you exert less effort in the aeration process.

Mark any Obstacles in your Lawn

Finally, if there are obstacles in your lawn, they can be damaged when you aerate lawn in spring. This is why we recommend you mark them with flags to ensure that you steer clear of these locations.

Step 5: Time to Aerate Lawn

Now that you have prepared your lawn, it is time to aerate lawn in spring. If you want to successfully aerate lawn in spring, here are the steps you must follow:

  1. Insert the aerator you have chosen inside the soil. Make sure the depth is appropriate, such as between two and four inches.
  2. Do a second pass, and during this, it should intersect the first pass at a right angle, which will form a checker or crosshatch pattern.
  3. Check for sections with serious problems, such as more foot traffic and compaction, to make more passes.
  4. As you identify these areas, you must work evenly throughout your lawn. The general rule is to overlap each pass by half the width of the aerator so that you cover the lawn properly.
  5. As you use the aerator, make sure you are putting downward pressure while walking.
  6. Finally, as you aerate with manual methods, the soil cores or plugs will gather on the surface of your lawn. Leave these in place, as they will break down and enrich the soil even further.

Step 6: Let the Soil Plugs Dry

When you leave the soil plugs or cores on your lawn, make sure that they completely dry. Once they are dry, you can use the end of a spading fork or rake to begin spreading them evenly on your lawn.

Over time, these will decompose and enrich the soil with essential nutrients. You can think of this lawyer as an organic top dressing for turf soil that will promote healthy roots.

So, it will encourage deeper root growth and you will find that the soil structure will also strengthen with these plugs.

Step 7: Don’t Forget to Love your Lawn Post-Aeration

For the best results, we recommend you opt for post-aeration care of your lawn too. Such care will ensure you get the most results for a long time.

Here is what you can do after you aerate lawn in spring to give some love and care to your lawn:

  • Gentle Watering: Gently watering your lawn will ensure that the plugs settle back into the soil. This will guarantee soil-to-root contact and help in the decomposition
  • Fertilizing Lawn: Give your lawn the essential nutrients by adding a balanced spring fertilizer with the right fertilizer numbers and NPK ratio. We recommend using a slow-release fertilizer if you want long-term benefits
  • Minimizing Foot Traffic: After you aerate lawn in spring, make sure you reduce any heavy foot traffic or other activities that can compact the soil further. Doing this will ensure your lawn can recover and benefit greatly from aeration

Soon, you will notice that your lawn looks much better after you aerate. Taking care of it after aeration will provide you with lasting benefits for a long time.

Benefits of Aerating Lawn in Spring

An infographic on the benefits of aerating lawn in spring

You might still wonder if spring or fall will be more beneficial for your lawn. Let’s review some of the top benefits when you aerate lawn in spring:

1. Prepare your Lawn for the Coming Year

Spring is a great time to aerate your lawn because it will ensure you prepare your lawn early for the growth of new seeds. During winter, lawns generally develop a layer of thatch or winter frost that prevents the water and nutrients from penetrating into the soil.

All of this waste can stop your lawn from healthy and optimal growth. So, when you remove this layer in spring through the process of dethatching and begin aeration, it will lead to a healthy lawn for the coming year.

2. Promotes the Growth of Healthy Roots

If you want a lush green lawn, you must take care of the root system of the lawn. When you aerate lawn in spring, you will take care of the complete root system.

Puncturing the ground during the aeration process allows oxygen to flow and water to penetrate properly. Both of these elements are essential for a healthy root system.

In the long run, healthy roots will make your lawn more resistant to droughts and provide a green and vibrant landscape all year round.

3. Relieves Soil of Compaction

Thatch and soil compaction are the two major issues that can hinder essential nutrients from getting into your lawn. You must loosen the compact soil to relieve some pressure, and ensure that nutrients are accepted.

When you relieve such pressure from the topsoil, the problem of flooding and water logging will also disappear from your lawn. The reason for this is that the water will be easily absorbed into the soil once this happens.


When in the spring should I aerate my lawn?

Aerate lawn in spring in Canada between March and May to ensure that your soil loosens and gets the essential nutrients it needs to grow well all-year round.

What month can I aerate my lawn?

You can aerate your lawn in spring or fall, depending on different factors such as your grass type and much more. Once you understand these factors, then you can decide whether spring aeration will work best for you.

Should you aerate a wet or dry lawn?

The lawn needs to be somewhat moist before you can begin aeration. A dry lawn means that the soil will remain compact, and you will not be able to loosen it properly for air circulation. A little irrigation a few days before aeration will work best.

What is the best temperature to aerate your lawn?

The best temperature to aerate lawn in spring is between 50 and 65F. Once the weather reaches this temperature, you can begin the aeration process on your lawn.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to aerate lawn in spring, it is time to begin the process and determine whether your lawn needs aeration. If you still don’t know where to start or you want to save time, then you can hire Falcon Landscaping in Mississauga.

You can get in touch with our lawn care experts to help you care for your lawn and aerate it properly.