The Q&A Archives: Aerating Lawn

Question: I live outside of Chicago and have a

Answer: The soil under your lawn can become compacted from foot traffic and frost heaves, and compacted soil excludes air (which roots need). You can fix compacted lawns by aerating every 2-3 years in either the spring or the fall. If you rent a power aerator, it will dislodge plugs of soil. Leave the plugs on the lawn (they'll decompose and break down in the rain). After aerating, spread a thin layer of sand or organic mulch over the top of the lawn and then water deeply. Once the plugs have dissolved you can overseed your lawn if it needs a boost. 3-4 weeks after seeding you can fertilize your lawn. (Or feed it in April if you do not overseed.) Keep it on a regular mowing and watering schedule, feed in June, September and late November and then feed again next April. By then your lawn will be renovated and easy to maintain. Enjoy!

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