Aerating a lawn consists of pulling out cores of soil in order for air circulation, water and fertilizer to penetrate deep into the lawn, resulting in a much healthier lawn. Aerating a lawn is an important part of keeping it lush, green and healthy. Although it may take a lot of time, some preparation and patience, it is only necessary to do about once a year, if that.
Learn to recognize when you need to aerate your lawn. If the water puddles a lot, fertilizer doesn't affect the grass anymore, and the grass is flattening out, you most likely need to aerate it. This is especially true for clay soil or areas that have a lot of weather elements like rain or snow.
Raise the mower lever an inch next time you mow the lawn in preparation for aerating.
Decide how you want to aerate the lawn. You can use a manual aerator, which you can walk on and looks like a T-bar with a handle and four hollow pipes that go into the lawn to remove the soil cores. You can also rent powered aerators for larger lawns, but make sure you understand how to use them safely.
Water the lawn for about 20 minutes the day before you aerate to let the water penetrate deeply.
Strap on the manual aerator and walk back and forth across the lawn in a pattern that ensures that you cover each area only once, and leave cores where they fall out of the bottom of the aerator.
Put on the gardening gloves. Go back when you are done aerating and use your hands or a rake to crush up the soil cores. Sprinkle peat moss over the entire aerated part of the lawn in a 1/4-inch-thick layer.
Use your hands or the back of a rake to put the crumbled soil mixed with the peat moss back into the aerated holes loosely.
Fertilize the next day with a slow-release turf grass fertilizer. Continue your usual watering schedule. Don't mow the lawn for at least 3 to 4 weeks.