Clay soils and lawns that bear heavy foot and vehicle traffic typically need aeration as they become compacted over time. Test to see if your lawn would benefit from aeration by digging a square-foot section of grass about six inches deep. If the grass roots in the sample extend only into the first 1-2 inches of the sample, your lawn would benefit from aeration.
Aerating increases the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch, increases water and oxygen movement, improves rooting, enhances infiltration and helps prevent fertilizer and pesticide runoff.
- Warm season grass (preferred for Hampton Roads) should be aerated in June or July
- Cool season grasses (not preferred for Hampton Roads) should be aerated in August or September
Review the Aerating Your Lawn guide from the Virginia Cooperative Extension for step-by-step aerating instructions.