Bermuda grass can be a great choice for your lawn, and doesn’t need much care. However, it still requires a little maintenance now and then to be kept in the best condition – and aerating your lawn can be a great and useful way to keep your grass looking its best.
However, if you don’t know much about when and how to do aeration – or even what aeration is – you might be a little confused about the process. Don’t worry – this guide will tell you when to aerate bermuda grass, when not to aerate it, and what aerating is all about! Read on to find out more!
What Is Aeration
Before we talk about when to aerate bermuda grass, it’s helpful to understand what aeration is. Aeration is actually a very simple idea and process – albeit one that requires some work!
Simply put, aeration essentially means to poke holes in the soil – thousands of them! This is what a spike aerator does – although it’s arguably not the best way to aerate.
In fact, a core aerator will actually remove a tiny core of soil completely from the ground, rather than simply poking the hole. The machine then simply deposits these cores back on the ground.
Aeration doesn’t need to be done very often at all. Once a year is usually enough, unless you have a lot of traffic across your grass, or heavy soil with a lot of clay.
You also don’t need to do it (and shouldn’t) if your lawn is less than 2 years old. The roots need a few years to fully take hold of the soil!
Benefits Of Aerating
You can really go down the rabbit hole when it comes to the science of aeration and the benefits that result from it. Simply put, aeration can help your lawn grow better!
It can help with this in a few ways. It helps water, nutrients, and air to get into the soil more easily – providing your grass with the fuel it needs to grow well. It also helps to de-compact the soil, which helps your grass spread roots better.
This is why heavy soil might need aerating more often – as it can be so dense, it might be harder for your grass to develop strong roots. In this case, aerating your lawn more often can really help the grass to grow roots.
It’s helpful for fertilization too – the thousands of tiny holes help fertilizer get into the soil more easily. This also helps if you’re over-seeding your lawn – the tiny holes can trap the seeds in the soil. This can be great for helping them to germinate.
It also can break up some of the thatch in your lawn, helping stop your healthy grass from being choked out by it!
How To Aerate
For Bermuda grass lawns that don’t require much work, you can use a spike aerator. These simply poke holes into the soil. There are many different ways of performing spike aeration, from spiked shoes to wheeled tools.
The shoes can be a convenient way of performing light aeration on a lawn, as all you have to do is simply walk across the lawn! However, these can be difficult on dry ground, and are inefficient for larger jobs.
Roller spike aerators are simple to use, but again are very tough going on dry ground. You’ll need to make sure the soil is soft and damp (but not waterlogged) before using one of these, or you likely won’t make much progress. If you’re on very dry ground, you might make no progress at all!
However, spike aeration probably won’t do for lawns that need more work, or for bigger lawns – in which case, you’ll likely want to use a core (or plug) aerator.
Generally, these will do a better job. Remember not to clear up and discard these plugs – leave them on your soil!
Whichever type of aerator you choose to use, make sure that you start by getting your soil nice and soft with the sprinkler.
Ensure that then aerating. cover your lawn evenly in a criss-cross pattern. Go carefully, especially if you’re using a core aerator – you don’t want to damage your lawn!
A Helpful Bermuda Lawn Aeration Video
When To Aerate
Generally, you’ll want to aerate your lawn at the beginning of summer. This is the best time of the year for aeration because it’s exactly when Bermuda grass loves to grow!
If your soil isn’t thick with clay, then generally speaking, you won’t need to worry about aeration for the rest of the year! Doing it more often than this could actually be detrimental to your lawn.
However, if your soil is the thick, heavy type, then you should consider aerating twice a year. This will help your grass, as your soil type can make it a little more difficult for roots.
If your soil gets a lot of foot traffic, that’s another thing that might influence how often you need to aerate. People (or animals!) walking across your grass will compact the soil eventually.
If you have areas of your lawn that get a lot of foot traffic, they could well need to be aerated more than once a year to de-compact the soil for best growth.
Also, if you have heavy thatching in your lawn – half an inch or more – it’s probably a good time to aerate.
When Not To Aerate
You shouldn’t aerate your lawn more than once a year under most circumstances, unless for some of the reasons listed above. You should be careful not to aerate too often, as it can damage your lawn if overdone.
This is especially true when using a core/plug aerator, as it actually removes soil from the ground. Overuse of a core aerator isn’t a great idea!
You also should avoid aerating in the fall, or winter – it’s just not as good for your grass. Bermuda grass will go dormant from late fall onwards, and won’t receive the benefits of aeration if you do it at this time.
During spring and the start of summer, Bermuda grass wants to grow – but when it’s cold, it just wants to sleep!
Aeration can be a great way to help your Bermuda grass lawn thrive! Picking the right time of year to aerate is crucial to getting the best for your lawn – as is making sure that you aerate exactly as much as your lawn needs!