Guide to Lawn Aerator Rental

Last update: January 1, 2022

This is an article about lawn aeration to answer some basic questions about the process of lawn aeration itself, and about how to get the best results renting a lawn aerator.

What Is Lawn Aeration?  

Lawn aeration is the process of loosening up the soil in your lawn so that water and nutrients can flow downwards more easily.

Why Should I Aerate My Lawn?

Anyone who’s interested in gardening will know how important it is to keep a lawn fertilized and watered if you want plants to thrive in it.  However, it’s just as important to keep it aerated too.

Think about how often you and other people walk around on your lawn.  Maybe you even drive over it.  Over time, this presses the soil downwards until it’s packed tightly together.

When this happens, it can stop water and nutrients from being able to get through.  This means that the roots of your plants and the grass on the lawn are being starved!

Lawn aeration is what you can do to stop this from happening.  The aeration process loosens up the soil so that the water and nutrients can flow freely again.

Are There Different Types Of Lawn Aerators?

Yes, there are two kinds – spike aerators and plug aerators.  Spike aerators have solid prongs that make holes in the soil to allow water to flow downwards.

These are best suited to small lawns, or areas where the soil compaction is only mild as they can sometimes compact the soil even more.

Plug aerators have hollow prongs that pull soil out of the ground and are best used on larger areas, or ones where the compaction is more serious.

Lawn Aerator

Should I Rent Or Buy A Lawn Aerator?

The answer to this will depend on the details of your situation.  If you think you’re likely to get heavy use out of an aerator, or if you have a particularly large lawn to aerate, buying one might work out cheaper.  In most cases, though, renting is likely to be the way to go.

The company that rents it to you will also be able to give you some advice about using the machine, which is especially useful if you’ve never aerated a lawn before.

What Size Aerator Should I Use?

Of course, this will depend on how large the area you need to aerate is.  If you have a small lawn, you will probably want a push aerator.  Something to bear in mind is that some push aerators are self-propelled while others aren’t.

Ones that aren’t will be cheaper, but understand that aerating a lawn can be hard work.

If your lawn is a bit larger, an 18” – 30” aerator is probably what you’ll need.  Virtually all aerators of this size are self-propelled, and these are what people most often rent when they need an aerator.

You can also use them on lawns of other sizes.  These will cost more than smaller areas

If you have a larger lawn, you can still use an 18” – 30” aerator, but if it’s particularly large, a tow-behind aerator might be the best option for you.

Naturally, these will only be any good to you if you have something to tow it, like a ride-on lawnmower.

If none of these options sound appealing to you, remember that you always have the option of hiring a lawn aeration service to do all the hard work.  The only thing is that, of course, they’ll need to be paid for this.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Aerate My Lawn?

This depends a lot on the type of grass that covers your lawn.  However, the general rule to follow is that you should aerate it in the peak growing season for the grass you have.

This is so that it can quickly regrow to replace any that’s lost during the aeration process.  If your lawn has cool-season grass covering it, the best time to aerate is usually early spring or fall.

If, on the other hand, you have warm-season grasses, late spring to early summer is your best bet.

How Do You Aerate A Lawn?

Once you’ve chosen the type and size of aerator you want to use, the process of using it is fairly simple.  You should soften the soil the day before you want to aerate it by adding around an inch of water to it first.

If you have any electricity, irrigation, or water lines at a shallow depth under the soil, make sure you mark them to avoid damaging them.  Then go over the lawn with the aerator.

If your lawn is badly compacted and you want to be particularly thorough, you can do this twice.  If you’re using a plug aerator, it will leave plugs of soil on the lawn.

You can leave them there because when they break down, they’ll return nutrients to the rest of the soil.  Water the lawn well and keep doing so every few days for the next couple of weeks.

How Often Should I Aerate My Lawn?

The rule of thumb is that most lawns should be aerated every one to three years.  However, it depends heavily on a mixture of factors.  For example, what type of soil does your lawn have?

If it’s a naturally loose soil, you’ll need to aerate it less often.  On the other hand, if it’s a clay-like soil that’s apt to trap water, it might need aerating more often.  It also depends on how the soil’s used.

If people don’t walk on it or drive vehicles on it, it will get compacted much more slowly.  If they do, however, it’ll get compacted more quickly.  This leads us to the next question.

Is Too Much Aeration Bad For My Lawn?

It’s definitely something you don’t want to overdo.  If you aerate too much, it can damage the soil, making it harder for the grass to grow.  That’s what you were trying to avoid in the first place!