Aeration and Overseeding – How to Fight Weeds

What is aeration?

Lawn aeration involves the removal of small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn. This process is done by using an aerator. At Hometown we have both walk behind mechanical aerators and tow-behind aerators that we attach to lawn tractors.

How does it work?

A large backyard with lush green grass and many flower bedsAfter a dry, hot summer and into the fall season, you will notice a layer of thatch that builds up just below the grass blades. Thatch is a tightly interwoven layer of living and dead tissue existing between the green vegetation and soil surface. At this time the roots of the grass blades will typically be shorter which is not ideal for the health of your lawn. Beneath the thatch layer, you will find compacted soil. The more compact the soil the easier for thatch to develop.

When aeration is completed, plugs are pulled from the ground leaving 2.5” – 4” holes in the lawn. Don’t be alarmed this is part of the process! The holes allow nutrients and water to go deep into the soil and this is the stage where overseeding is applied (discussed below). The final stage is when the new grass plants grow with deep roots and the lawn becomes more dense and healthy.

What are the benefits?

The following benefits are a result of the aeration process:

  1. Increases the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch
  2. Improves fertilizer uptake and use (within 7-10 days)
  3. Enhances water uptake and use by soil (immediately)
  4. Reduces soil compaction (immediately)
  5. Increases oxygen movement between the soil and atmosphere (immediately)
  6. Enhances infiltration of rainfall or irrigation
  7. Helps prevent fertilizer and pesticide run-off from overly compacted areas


The perfect time to add new varieties of turfgrass to the lawn is right after the soil has been aerated.  The seed falls into the holes left behind by the core aerator and germinates. This process allows for the lawn to thicken up and for bare spots to fill in over the course of time.An area of freshly mowed grass

Grass seed in the Northeast United States blended for use on home lawns contains three different species: Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine Leaf Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass.

The ryegrass will germinate first and provide satisfactory cover on bare soil preventing erosion. The better cultivars of rye are a handsome, dark green with a shiny appearance. Contrary to their name, Perennial Ryegrasses aren’t all that perennial. Lawns established for a few years have little of the original ryegrass remaining in them. That isn’t problematic, that’s what’s supposed to happen. They did their job and retired.

The Fine Leaf Fescues will predominate in areas of low sunlight and low maintenance. That’s not to say you won’t find them in full sun, my front lawn is almost exclusively fescue, but since the ryes and blues cannot compete with the fescues in the shade, they predominate.

Kentucky Bluegrass is the turf with which we are most familiar. It is the grass of which sod is composed. It will do best in full sun with moderate to high maintenance. There are great differences in the characteristics of the various cultivars available to us. Some have an excellent, deep green color, but have poor resistance to disease. Some cultivars are exactly the opposite – the color is not pleasing to the eye but they are otherwise rather resistant to disease.

For a complimentary consultation and quote for core aeration for your yard, please email hometown at or call us at 301-490-5577