When to Aerate your Lawn
Lawn enthusiasts will go to great lengths, not to mention expense, to work on the top surface of their lawn but totally neglect, and in many cases fail to understand, what is necessary below ground to keep the grass roots healthy and aerated.
I can imagine the shopping trolleys at the garden centre full of spring lawn feed, sulphate of iron to combat any moss and perhaps some soil and seed to reinstate low and bare patches where the grass may have failed but I somehow feel that spiking is not on most lawn owners to-do list.
Sadly, lawn aeration - some prefer to call it spiking or tining - is the very last thing that gets attention. Maybe because it is a procedure that will not create an instant effect or tangible result in a short space of time.
Aeration should be treated as a proper and essential maintenance procedure which is as important as scarifying or fertilising; aeration is integral to overall lawn performance and a lawn will green up and respond almost instantly after aerating a lawn.
You may use an aeration fork like the one in the image or a garden fork or a mechanical aerator. The aim is to aerate the immediate root zone and most lawns need solid tining rather than hollow tines which will leave a core to be cleared on the surface of the lawn. If your lawn treatment or lawn care contractor insists on hollow tining, get them to remove the cores from the surface of the lawn otherwise it will cause the lawn to become bumpy. Once again, technically incorrect and wrong advice from them unless the cores are really dry and can be easily broken down to top dressing particle size. Hollow tining or coring is usually only performed on a lawn with severe thatch problems or on a lawn every four or five years or so. A more desirable textural analysis top dressing is usually brushed down the holes left where the removed core once lived.