If you’re like most people in Wisconsin, you want your lawn to be healthy and looking great all year long. So you might be wondering, “When to aerate lawn in Wisconsin?” That’s why it’s important to know when to aerate your lawn – both in the spring and fall! In this blog post, we will discuss when the best time is to aerate, what benefits you can expect, and a brief lawn care calendar to help you plan your lawn maintenance.

When to Aerate Your Lawn in Wisconsin

The hollow metal tubes on a lawn aerator.
The hollow metal tubes on a lawn aerator.

Aerating your yard is a great way to keep it looking healthy and lush all year long. Although many homeowners opt not to aerate, it really is essential to keeping your grass healthy. Most homes and soil types in Wisconsin can benefit from aeration in the Spring and Fall.

Spring Aeration

Someone using a broadcast spreader to overseed a lawn in Madison, WI.
Someone using a broadcast spreader to overseed a lawn in Madison, WI.

When spring arrives and soil temperatures start to rise, it is the perfect time to aerate your lawn. Aerating in the spring helps to break up compacted soil and allows for better water infiltration and root growth. It also helps to improve air exchange between the soil and atmosphere, which is beneficial for both your lawn and garden plants.

Aeration also helps when applying new seed to your lawn. If you are going to overseed your lawn this spring, aerating first will help when the new seed germinates. Removing soil plugs will help your lawn establish a strong root system and make your spring fertilizer more effective.

Fall Aeration

Fall is another a important time to aerate. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, fall aeration helps prepare your lawn for winter. It helps break up the thatch layer which can become a haven for pests and diseases during the winter. Aerating in the fall also helps to retain moisture in the soil, which is crucial when your lawn goes into its dormant stage.

For homeowners in Wisconsin, the ideal time for fall lawn aeration is early fall. You don’t want to wait until the soil becomes cold and dormant. Most landscaping services will send you reminders starting around September as part of your fall lawn care plan.

The Benefits of Lawn Aeration

There are many benefits to aerating your lawn. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, here are some additional reasons why you should aerate:

Stronger Grass Roots

Grass roots shown in a soil profile.

Aerating helps to create a stronger root system by helping the grass plant to spread its roots more evenly throughout the soil. Aerators use hollow metal tubes to remove soil plugs, which creates a physical path for nutrients to travel into the soil.

This pathway helps your grass make better use of water and fertilizer, which will help your lawn stay healthy and green all year long. In addition, these small holes allow for better gas exchange with the soil. This is important for your lawn because plant roots need sufficient oxygen & other atmospheric gases to grow properly.

Grass roots shown in a soil profile.

Aerating helps to create a stronger root system by helping the grass plant to spread its roots more evenly throughout the soil. Aerators use hollow metal tubes to remove soil plugs, which creates a physical path for nutrients to travel into the soil.

This pathway helps your grass make better use of water and fertilizer, which will help your lawn stay healthy and green all year long. In addition, these small holes allow for better gas exchange with the soil. This is important for your lawn because plant roots need sufficient oxygen & other atmospheric gases to grow properly.

Improved Grass Seed Germination

Graphic showing how a grass seed germinates.
Graphic showing how a grass seed germinates.

If you are going to reseed your lawn, aerating beforehand is key. As mentioned earlier, when soil plugs are removed it allows the seeds to germinate more easily and establish a strong root system. This is because new grass seed needs to be in contact with the soil to maximize seed germination.

Be sure to ask your landscaping company if they aerate before overseeding. If they don’t, be sure to contact a few other landscapers to see if you can find someone that does. Lawn establishment can be expensive, so be sure to hire a team that will do the job correctly. It can be very frustrating to have to re-seed your lawn multiple times because the job wasn’t done properly the first time.

Less Thatch

Lawn dethatcher in use.
Lawn dethatcher in use.

Aerating also helps to reduce thatch build-up. Thatch is a layer of dead grass, leaves, and other plant material that accumulate on the soil surface. This can become a haven for pests and diseases during the winter, and it can also prevent water and nutrients from getting to the soil.

Aeration helps reduce thatch build up by stimulating microbial activity, which helps breakdown the dead material. Remember aeration helps boost gas exchange in the soil, which makes microbials more effective in their job.

Better Soil Drainage

Water pooling due to poor soil drainage.
Water pooling due to poor soil drainage.

One of the most important benefits of aerating your lawn is better soil drainage. When water can’t drain properly, it can cause a number of problems for your lawn including:

  • Stunted growth
  • Brown patches
  • Wilting
  • Root rot

If you have noticed common lawn health problems, aerating might be the solution to your problems. If you aren’t sure whether aerating is what your lawn needs, be sure to contact a landscaping professional for help identifying the issue.

Wisconsin Lawn Care Calendar

Every area of the United States needs to follow an appropriate lawn maintenance schedule, and Wisconsin is no exception. In fact, staying on schedule is essential to keeping your lawn in the good condition all season. To help you keep your lawn healthy, we included a brief seasonal lawn care calendar below. If you are looking for more details, be sure to check out the lawn care calendar from UW Extension.

Spring

Raking leaves in the early spring.
Raking leaves in the early spring.

In the early spring, there are several things every homeowner should do to get their lawn ready for the summer including:

  • Removing debris from winter
  • Raking up leaves left from fall
  • Core Aeration
  • Reseed bare spots
  • Mowing when grass is about two inches high
  • Applying a pre-emergent weed control
  • Fertilize your lawn

Early spring is an important time for lawn care. Most homeowners and commercial property owners simply don’t have the time required properly maintain their lawn. If you plan to apply herbicides yourself, be sure to use the proper safety equipment. Otherwise be sure to outsource fertilizer and pesticide applications to a licensed professional landscaping service.

Summer

Green lawn featuring cool season grasses during a Wisconsin summer.
Green lawn featuring cool season grasses during a Wisconsin summer.

Once summer comes, the time for overseeding and lawn establishment has passed. It is essential to mow regularly to keep your grass healthy. Never mow more than 1/3 of the blade height at a time. For most grass types, this would be between two and three inches.

In addition, you should water your lawn when it is dry. On average, most lawns need about an inch of water per week to stay healthy. If the summer comes with high temperatures and low rainfall, then you will need to water your lawn more often.

Fall

As the season starts to change, it is time to start preparing your lawn for winter. As mentioned before, this is the perfect time to aerate and fertilize. You should also continue to rake up leaves and remove any other debris left over from summer. Continue to regularly mow your lawn until it goes dormant.

If you have an irrigation system, you should make sure to winterize it by draining and covering the heads with a frost-proof material. If you don’t take these precautions, your system could freeze and cause extensive damage.

Looking for Professional Core Aeration in Madison, WI?

Monona Lawn & Landscaping logo.

If you’re looking for professional core aeration services in the Madison area, look no further than Monona Lawn & Landscaping. We can help you maintain a healthy lawn all year round with our comprehensive lawn care & landscaping services. Contact us today to get started!

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