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In theory, cultivating a vigorous lawn is quite simple. In practice, however, it can happen that the lawn surface compacts too much over time. In order for a lawn to grow densely and be lush green, it has to be aerated occasionally. This aeration loosens the garden soil and more oxygen reaches the roots of the lawn grass. With the right equipment and our instructions, you can quickly eliminate this problem.


Difference between scarifying and aerating

Both processes, both scarifying and aerating are measures that are essential for a healthy, green lawn. Scarifying and aerating are necessary so that the grass can absorb enough nutrients and water again and enough air can reach the roots.


When scarifying, old clippings and felt-like compactions that have formed on the surface are cut up and removed. However, the blades of the device do not penetrate particularly deep into the ground. Only the thatch should be cut, but not the ground and the grass roots lying therein.


When airing, on the other hand, the upper soil structure between the grasses is perforated. This usually happens with the help of long spikes or thorns, so-called spoons, which are driven up to 10 cm deep into the ground. Through these holes, the soil is loosened and water and air get back to the roots of the grass. This process is so important for the lawn because over time the soil compacts and no more oxygen can get in. In addition, water transport is no longer optimal in compacted soils. Technically speaking, the aeration of the lawn is called aerating.


Reasons for compacting

The soils of such grassy areas that are heavily trafficked, used as sports and play areas or as footpaths compact particularly quickly. The more a lawn is used, the faster the upper layer of soil compacts. This can often be seen from the fact that the rainwater no longer drains properly after a shower and puddles form on the surface. If the lawn is no longer optimally cared for, this leads to increased spread of moss and weeds.

lawn in the garden


While most gardeners scarify their lawn in the spring and possibly again in the fall, it is theoretically possible to aerate the lawn all year round. The best time to aerate is spring between mid-March and May. However, there is nothing wrong with carrying out this measure twice a year.

  • Time: possible all year round
  • the frequency depends on the load (compaction) on the lawn
  • usually between once every two years to twice a year
  • bad time: during long periods of rain
  • do not ventilate during longer dry periods


It is best to continue the lawn care program consistently right after scarifying. Because the green is better off when it gets a regular supply of fresh air. You can aerate the lawn with either a manual aerator or a motorized aerator. In both variants, tubular holes are pressed into the ground. Our detailed instructions will help you do everything right from the start.


1. Mow the lawn

When aerating the lawn, it is important that the grass is not too long. Therefore, it has proven useful to mow the lawn in advance.

cut the lawn

2. Scarify

Aeration works optimally if the gardener ensures in advance that the cuttings and dead plant remains are removed from the lawn. To remove this lawn thatch, devices (scarifiers) are available that cut up and remove this layer. Ideally, scarifying should be done twice a year, once in spring and once in fall.

Devices and procedure

There are many different types of lawn aerating devices on the market. Depending on the design, however, they mean quite strenuous work. Which device is best for you depends primarily on the size of your lawn. Large devices are of course correspondingly expensive and only worthwhile for larger areas. If you don't want to invest in a motorized lawn aerator yourself, you can also rent a device from a specialist retailer at a relatively low daily rate. The following equipment is suitable for normal home gardens.

grass clippings

1. Small lawns

If the lawn area is only a few square meters, as is often the case in front gardens, a manual device is usually sufficient.

lawn aerator shoes

Anyone who only has a small area of lawn in their garden is well served with simple aerating equipment. Lawn aerator shoes are soles with spikes that can simply be strapped under normal shoes. After that, all you have to do is walk across the lawn.

Manual lawn aerator roller

Lawn aerator rollers, which are operated manually, are just as well suited for smaller lawn areas. They consist of a cylinder that is between 25 and 45 centimeters wide, depending on the version. Steel spikes a few centimeters long are located on this cylinder (roller). These implements are similar to a reel lawn mower and are rolled across the lawn in lanes.

Fan fork (aerating fork)

A fan fork also loosens the soil. Sharpened hollow tines that taper downwards punch holes in the lawn. The aeration fork is equipped with a wide T-handle and is kicked into the ground like a spade. The excavated earth is transported upwards.

lush green grass

2. Larger areas

For large lawns, it is worth purchasing a motor-driven lawn aerator. Alternatively, such an aerating device can also be borrowed for a day at a hardware store or specialist shop.

Electric Aerator

Electric lawn aerators look like a lawnmower and are also similar in handling. Instead of a cutting blade, the devices have spikes on the underside that are driven into the ground when the lawn is scoured. All you have to do then is drive up and down the lawn evenly.

Combined scarifier and lawn aerator

A large number of scarifying devices can be converted into a lawn aerator. With these combi devices, the blade attachment is then usually replaced by a roller with spikes.

hole density

For ventilation to be effective, at least 200 holes per square meter should be punched in the floor. Manual and electric machines with rollers automatically create this number of holes in the soil, as long as you drive up and down the lawn in strictly tight rows, as when mowing a lawn. With lawn aerator shoes and a aerator fork, it is important to pay attention to the number of holes in the execution.


Simply punching out holes is not enough to aerate the lawn. Otherwise the soil would quickly compact itself again.

1. Remove excavation

On many devices, the spurs are hollow inside, so they produce excavation that must then be removed. Some motorized variants have an extra collection basket for this purpose, with others the excavation must be thoroughly leveled.

2. Fertilize

Incidentally, after airing, a lawn fertilizer achieves the best effect. In this case, the nutrients penetrate the soil particularly well and are easily absorbed by the roots of the grass. If necessary, you can add suitable filling material such as sand or hummus.

3. Sanded

It is then necessary to fill the resulting holes in the ground with sand. The sand acts as a drainage and thus prevents waterlogging. The introduced sand is distributed over time by earthworms and other earth dwellers in the soil. The soil therefore becomes more permeable to water over time, but also leaner.

  • about five liters of sand per square meter
  • preferably use quartz sand
  • sprinkle on the lawn
  • spread with a leaf brush
water the lawn

4. Watering

After the lawn has been aerated, the area should be watered heavily. In this way, the water and oxygen can penetrate back to the fine roots of the plants, so that they can grow again with full force.

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