What is Hollow-Tine Aeration?

Hollow-tine aeration is a lawn care technique that involves the removal of small cores or plugs of soil from the lawn. This process helps to alleviate soil compaction, improve drainage, and promote healthy root growth. It is an essential practice for maintaining a lush and vibrant lawn.

How Does Hollow-Tine Aeration Work?

During hollow-tine aeration, a machine called a hollow-tine aerator is used to remove small plugs of soil from the lawn. These plugs are typically 2-3 inches deep and 0.5-0.75 inches in diameter. The aerator creates holes in the soil, allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the root zone.

Benefits of Hollow-Tine Aeration

Hollow-tine aeration offers several benefits for your lawn:

1. Relieves Soil Compaction: Over time, the soil in your lawn can become compacted, making it difficult for air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots. Hollow-tine aeration helps to alleviate soil compaction, allowing the roots to breathe and absorb essential nutrients.

2. Improves Drainage: Compacted soil can also lead to poor drainage, resulting in waterlogged areas and the potential for disease. By creating holes in the soil, hollow-tine aeration improves drainage and prevents water from pooling on the surface.

3. Enhances Root Growth: The removal of soil cores stimulates root growth by creating space for new roots to develop. This leads to a stronger and more extensive root system, which in turn promotes healthier and more resilient turf.

4. Enhances Nutrient Uptake: By allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the soil, hollow-tine aeration improves the availability of essential nutrients for the grass. This results in greener, denser, and more vibrant turf.

When Should Hollow-Tine Aeration be Performed?

The best time to perform hollow-tine aeration is during the growing season when the grass is actively growing. For cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, early spring or early fall is ideal. For warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass, late spring or early summer is recommended.

How Often Should Hollow-Tine Aeration be Done?

The frequency of hollow-tine aeration depends on the condition of your lawn. For lawns with heavy foot traffic or compacted soil, annual aeration is recommended. For lawns with moderate foot traffic, aeration every 2-3 years may be sufficient. It is best to consult with a lawn care professional to determine the appropriate frequency for your specific lawn.

Preparation for Hollow-Tine Aeration

Prior to hollow-tine aeration, it is important to prepare your lawn to ensure optimal results:

1. Mow the Lawn: Before aerating, mow the lawn to a height of 1-2 inches. This helps the aerator penetrate the soil more easily and ensures that the cores are removed cleanly.

2. Water the Lawn: Water the lawn thoroughly a day or two before aeration. Moist soil is easier to penetrate and allows for better core removal.

3. Mark Irrigation Systems: If you have an irrigation system in your lawn, mark the location of the sprinkler heads to avoid damaging them during aeration.

Post-Aeration Care

After hollow-tine aeration, it is important to provide proper care to maximize the benefits:

1. Leave the Cores: Do not remove the soil cores left on the lawn after aeration. They will break down naturally and help to improve the soil structure.

2. Water the Lawn: Water the lawn deeply after aeration to help the soil cores break down and integrate back into the soil.

3. Fertilize: Apply a balanced fertilizer to provide the grass with essential nutrients for growth and recovery.

4. Avoid Heavy Use: Limit foot traffic on the lawn for a few weeks after aeration to allow the grass to recover and the soil to settle.


In conclusion, hollow-tine aeration is a valuable lawn care practice that can greatly benefit the health and appearance of your lawn. By relieving soil compaction, improving drainage, and promoting healthy root growth, hollow-tine aeration helps to create a lush and vibrant turf. With proper preparation and post-aeration care, you can ensure optimal results and enjoy a beautiful and resilient lawn.