How to Aerate Lawn by Hand

Published Categorized as Lawn Care
Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Are you wondering why your lawn is dying even after proper watering, fertilizing, and mowing? Well, it may be the time to aerate. Lawn aeration is crucial in achieving a thriving and healthy lawn. In this modern world, various aeration machines are available at a cost in most home improvement stores. Moreover, you can still aerate by hand if you need more money to afford the aeration equipment. So, are you eager to learn how to aerate lawn by hand? Read on.

To aerate lawn by hand, use a manual core aerator, manual spike aerator, or fork. Before manually aerating lawn, prepare the yard, moisturize it, and then aerate. Although aeration by hand is tedious, laborious, and less efficient than with machines, it still delivers excellent results. Also, these hand aeration tools are affordable.

How to Aerate Lawn by Hand

How to aerate lawn by hand

Follow this procedure to aerate lawn by hand:

1. Choose the manual aerator to use

When manually aerating lawns, there are three main tools you can use. They include a manual core aerator, a spike aerator, and a fork. Therefore, decide which of the three to use before beginning the process.

2. Prepare your yard

Prepare the aeration area by removing debris and sticks from the lawn and mowing and dethatching properly. This step eases the process.

3. Moisturize the area

It’s not advisable to aerate with manual tools in a dry area as it is stressful, demanding, and tedious. Therefore, water the lawn before aeration, but don’t make the place muddy or soggy.

4. Aerate

Use a hand aeration tool of your choice to go over the lawn. If your property has some areas with soil compaction problems or that receive heavy foot traffic, aerate twice or thrice.

Methods of Hand Aeration

how to aerate lawn by hand

i. Use a manual core aerator

A manual core aerator offers excellent results when carrying out aeration by hand. The tool has a handle that you hold with both hands to drive it over the lawn. It also has a foot bar which offers extra leverage in places with compacted soil. The tool’s sharp cylinders help penetrate the ground and make poles, removing some lawn plugs.

ii. By a manual spike aerator

Another hand aeration method is by using a manual spike aerator. The tool operates like the manual core aerator but uses spikes instead of cylinders. Additionally, it aerates the property by making small holes in the lawn to loosen the soil.

iii. Aeration with a fork

Aeration with a fork is similar to a spike aerator, and it’s cost-effective if you already own the tool. It is effective as it quickly penetrates the compacted soil and loosens its particles. However, the process is tedious and demanding, especially for large yards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long does it take to aerate manually?

A: The time you can spend to aerate the lawn manually depends on the yard size. Additionally, the hand aeration tool you’re employing determines how long you’ll spend on the property.

You’ll usually spend about 6-8 hours completing a 7,000-square feet yard. However, you’ll take 30 minutes to one hour to aerate the same yard size using a rolling aerator and other tools.

Q: What is the best time for lawn aeration?

A: The best time to aerate your lawn with cool-season grass is in the fall or early spring. As for warm-season turf, aerate from late spring through the early summer. You can also know it’s time to use your lawn aerator if the grass appears weak or thin.


Aeration is vital if you desire to have the lushest lawn in your neighborhood. It promotes strong and deep turf roots, loosens compacted soil, and encourages water and nutrient absorption. The best thing is that you don’t have to rent machines to complete the process as you can aerate manually.

To aerate the lawn by hand, choose the manual aerator, prepare the yard, moisturize it, and then aerate. You can do this using a manual core aerator, spike aerator, or fork.