How to Aerate Your Lawn in Arkansas

Gardener Operating Soil Aeration Machine on Grass Lawn

Because the Natural State lies in the transition zone, some homeowners may struggle to keep green lawns. Aerating your lawn can help, but only if you do it properly. Should you invest in lawn aeration in Arkansas? This guide will explain why aerating your Arkansas lawn is a good idea – plus when and how to do it.

What is Aeration?

manual spike lawn aerators that fit over your shoe, sitting on grass
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If you have hard, compacted soil, aerating your lawn is the solution. Aeration pokes holes in your soil, loosening it up so that air, nutrients, and water can come through easily. The result is looser soil that helps foster healthy growth.

There are two types of lawn aeration:

  • Spike aeration simply makes holes in the soil with a spading fork or a similar tool. It’s a cheaper alternative that’s very DIY-friendly, but it’s only a short-term solution.
  • Core aeration removes plugs of soil, making space for the remaining soil. Because it removes soil, it’s much more effective than spike aeration. 

Benefits of Lawn Aeration

So your soil is looser, but how does that help? Here are the benefits that come with an aerated lawn:

  • Stronger grass roots. Because the soil isn’t compacted anymore, your turf’s root system actually has space to grow strong and deep. This leads to a healthy lawn.
  • Increased disease tolerance. Your lawn becomes more disease-resistant because of its stronger root system.
  • Improved drought tolerance. Healthy roots also help your turfgrass become more drought-tolerant.
  • More effective fertilization. Your fertilizer won’t go to waste because it can reach your lawn’s root system instead of staying pretty much on top of the soil. Learn more about proper fertilization techniques in our article on lawn fertilization in Arkansas.
  • Better water absorption. Compacted soil has trouble absorbing water, leading to puddles in your lawn. Aerating your lawn will also reduce runoff.
  • Greener and more beautiful lawn. Since your grass can grow strong and healthy, it will become more dense and green, improving your curb appeal.

When to Aerate Your Arkansas Lawn

The best time to aerate your lawn depends on the type of Arkansas grass you have because you want to aerate when it’s actively growing. Since Arkansas lies firmly in the transition zone, homeowners can have either warm-season or cool-season grass.

If you have Zoysia, Bermudagrass, or other warm-season grasses, aerate in late spring or early summer. If your lawn has cool-season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, then it’s better to aerate in the fall.

You don’t need to aerate your lawn every year unless it gets a lot of foot traffic, especially since the Natural State has a lot of clay soils that get compacted easily. In that case, you can make it a part of your fall lawn care routine. It’s always best to check if your lawn actually needs aeration before doing it, though.

How to Aerate Your Arkansas Lawn

Lawn Water Sprinkler
Photo Credit: plherrera / Canva Pro / License

Aerating your lawn isn’t difficult. However, you need to set aside some time to do it correctly. Here’s a short how-to guide to aerating your lawn:

  1. Go around your lawn and flag sprinkler heads so you know to avoid them.
  2. Water your lawn around a day or two before aeration to soften the soil.
  3. Aerate your whole lawn with your tool of choice.

If you want a more in-depth guide, you can read our how-to article on lawn aeration. After aerating your lawn, you can overseed or apply soil amendments; it’s one of the best times to do so.

Professional Lawn Aeration Service in Arkansas

The cost to aerate a lawn depends on soil type, labor costs, and lawn size. The average cost to hire a lawn care pro to aerate your lawn is $145, but it can range from $75 to $225. You can also expect it to cost more if you live in an urban area like Little Rock.

The best way to find out how much aeration would cost for your lawn is to get quotes from a few local pros. LawnStarter can connect you with lawn aeration pros in Arkansas and help you get free quotes and book service today. 

FAQs About Lawn Aeration in Arkansas

Can you aerate a dormant lawn?

Don’t aerate during your lawn’s dormant season! Lawn aeration does damage your lawn a little bit. You want to aerate a growing lawn so that it can recover from the damage.

What do you do with the soil plugs?

If you go with core aeration, you’ll be left with soil plugs. You can leave them on your lawn to degrade back into the soil.

What type of grass grows well in Arkansas?

Some grass types that grow well in the Natural State are Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, tall fescue, and centipedegrass. You can learn more by reading our article about the best grass seed for Arkansas. We have a more specific article about the best grass types for Little Rock, AR too.

Does aeration help with thatch?

Yes, it does! While it won’t remove thatch, regular aeration helps slow down its build-up. If you have thatch problems, then you should consider dethatching your lawn before aerating. 

What are the signs your lawn needs to be aerated?

Combined with soil compaction, a yellowing, thinning, or unhealthy lawn may need aeration. Compacted soil can stunt root growth, which heavily affects grass health.

Does lawn aeration cause weeds?

If you aerate your lawn in spring, when many annual summer weeds are germinating, the holes in the soil can make it easier for those weeds to grow. However, with a proper weed control regimen, you won’t have to worry about it. See our article on weed control in Arkansas to learn how to aerate and still have a weed-free lawn.

Get Professional Aeration For Your Arkansas Lawn

Aerating your lawn can do wonders for your lawn’s health. However, some homeowners might postpone their lawn aeration simply because of how time-consuming it can be. But your lawn shouldn’t have to suffer for it. 

Hiring a professional lawn care service to aerate your lawn frees up your time for some much-needed R&R without neglecting your yard. Contact a lawn aeration service in Arkansas today. LawnStarter can help you find a reliable local pro in Little Rock, Fayetteville, Bentonville, or anywhere else in the Natural State.

Main Photo Credit: MAsummerbreak / Canva Pro / License

Janine Caayao

Janine Caayao

Janine Caayao has always been fascinated with growing plants, from fruits and veggies to bonsai trees and orchids. Now, she’s interested in urban gardening with her family. She loves finding new tips and tricks to keep their plants thriving.