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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

When to aerate


In general, if you see areas damaged from too much traffic or if water puddles on your lawn or runs off without soaking in, your soil may be compacted and you need to aerate your lawn. Aerify your soil during the spring when grasses are actively growing. Avoid aerifying during the summer months when high temperatures may be detrimental to lawns.


The frequency of aeration depends on soil type, how the turfgrass is used, and its expected appearance. Heavy clay soils need to be aerated a couple of times a year while sandy soils may only need aeration once a year. Lawns with very high traffic may need to be aerated several times a year. For lawns with little or no activity, aeration may not be needed.

What to watch out for

If you are planning to apply preemergence herbicides, do so after aerating. Otherwise, the herbicides will be removed from the soil surface with the cores.

Photo of an aerator removing soil cores

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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