What Is Granular Aeration & How Does It Help Your Lawn?

When it comes to maintaining a lush and vibrant lawn, there’s more to it than just mowing and watering. Aeration is just as important for lawn care, and it plays a crucial role in promoting the health and vitality of your grass from below the surface. One lesser-known form of aeration is called granular aeration, and we wanted to help homeowners understand its many benefits. If you are looking to try something new to improve the quality of your grass this fall, granular aeration might be just what you and your lawn need! 

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Understanding Aeration

Aeration is a fundamental practice in lawn care. It generally involves penetrating or perforating the soil with small holes to allow essential nutrients, water, and air to penetrate deeply. This is vital for maintaining a healthy lawn because compacted soil can significantly impede root growth and overall grass health. 

The soil beneath your lawn can become compacted due to various factors, including foot traffic, heavy equipment, and natural settling. This compaction reduces the space between soil particles, making it difficult for vital resources to move freely within the soil. Aeration breaks up this compacted soil, allowing it to “breathe” and improving overall soil structure. Granular aeration is one of the methods used to achieve this, but many homeowners do not know enough about it!

What Is Granular Aeration?

carbon for soil

Granular aeration, also known as microbial aeration, is a technique that involves applying small, grain-based granules to the lawn. These granules are designed to penetrate the soil as they break down, creating channels that facilitate the flow of air, water, and nutrients. Unlike other aeration methods, granular aeration does not involve the removal of soil cores, nor does it leave unsightly holes all over your lawn. Instead, it works by spreading small granules that are barely noticeable across the surface of your lawn. By the time they start to work on improving your soil, they have already penetrated the surface and will continue to improve soil quality without any disruption to your lawn’s appearance. 

Differences From Other Aeration Methods


Granular aeration stands out from other aeration methods due to several key differences:

  • No Soil Core Removal: Unlike core aeration, which removes plugs or cores of soil from the lawn, granular aeration leaves the soil structure intact. This means there’s no need to deal with the removal of soil cores, and it avoids the temporary disruption that core aeration can cause to the lawn’s appearance.
  • Precision Application: Granular aeration allows for precise calibration of the equipment, ensuring even distribution of granules across the lawn. This precision minimizes the risk of nutrient runoff, making it an environmentally friendly choice.
  • Faster Results: Granular aeration typically delivers faster results compared to spike or core aeration methods. The solid granules penetrate the soil and get to work quickly, allowing for rapid improvements in nutrient absorption, water infiltration, and overall soil health. Results are also known to last up to 2-3 times longer than the results of core aeration.
  • Minimal Disruption: Granular aeration is known for its minimal disruption to the lawn’s surface. Unlike spike aeration, which leaves visible holes in the lawn, granular aeration’s channels are less noticeable, making it an attractive choice for those who want to maintain a pristine lawn appearance.

How Granular Aeration Improves Your Lawn

To truly appreciate the benefits of granular aeration, it’s crucial to understand the science behind it. Granular aeration promotes microbial activity in the soil, which further enriches the soil structure. Microbes, such as beneficial bacteria and fungi, play a vital role in decomposing organic matter and making nutrients available to the grass. As popular as core aeration is to many homeowners in Wisconsin, the process does not actually add anything beneficial to the soil; it simply allows the existing soil to reach its maximum potential. Granular aeration, on the other hand, introduces microbes that essentially give your soil a new life! 

A little-known fact about residential lawns is that they are more unnatural than people realize. Healthy grass is difficult to grow within the confined spaces and conditions of a lawn, which is why it takes so much work to keep your lawn looking great. Naturally occurring microbes help decompress the soil, but they require carbon that is not produced in high enough quantities in most residential lawns. Granular aeration products are packed with carbon to promote microbe growth, and those healthy microbes will then naturally aerate the soil in your lawn.

The Benefits Of Granular Aeration

Granular aeration offers several significant advantages:

  • Improved Nutrient Absorption: In compacted soil, nutrients struggle to reach the grass’s root zone. The influx of carbon and microbes will allow maximum nutrient uptake to be stored in the roots of your lawn.
  • No Need For Chemicals: Granular aeration is a completely natural process that does not require the need for any chemicals. Grain-based aeration products will just pump carbon back into the soil and help the existing microbes thrive. 
  • Enhanced Water Infiltration: Compacted soil often leads to water runoff instead of absorption. Granular aeration allows water to penetrate the soil, reducing water wastage and promoting even hydration across your lawn.
  • Reduced Thatch Accumulation: Thatch is a layer of dead grass, roots, and other organic matter that can accumulate on the surface of your lawn. Granular aeration helps break down thatch, preventing it from choking your grass and impeding growth.

When & How To Perform Granular Aeration


Timing is crucial for effective granular aeration. For cool-season grasses (like most Wisconsin lawns), it’s best to perform granular aeration in early spring or early fall, with once per year in fall being the standard. Fall aeration gives lawns a chance to recover from harsh summer conditions, which is especially important before the damaging effects of winter arrive. Mid or late September, when temperatures are consistently cooler, is the best time to aerate a lawn in Wisconsin. 

For DIY enthusiasts, the process involves using a grain spreader and following manufacturer instructions carefully. The spreader should be operated at a steady pace across the lawn to ensure that the granules are spread evenly. Though this is a completely natural process, too much of any nutrient or product will have adverse effects. Covering your lawn twice will create a blanket that ensures no areas are missed. For those seeking professional results, hiring experts is advisable. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to assess the specific needs of your lawn and customize the aeration process accordingly.

Maintenance & Aftercare

After granular aeration is performed, there are a few key steps to maximize its benefits. Don’t forget to consult with a professional lawn care company like Be Green Pro to ensure that your lawn is getting the best aeration service possible this fall, and keep these tips in mind for maximum results after the job is done!

  • Overseeding: Consider overseeding your lawn with new, healthy grass varieties. The aeration process creates an ideal environment for seed germination and growth.
  • Watering: Ensure consistent watering to help the granules take effect. Proper hydration is crucial to help the grass take full advantage of granular aeration.
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fall fertilizer to further nurture your revitalized lawn. The improved nutrient absorption resulting from aeration makes this an opportune time to provide your grass with the essential elements it needs.
  • Raking: Before winter fully arrives, be sure to rake up all the leaves and debris that may have fallen onto your lawn. This will help reduce fungal growth and thatch accumulation, ensuring that you get the most out of your granular aeration treatment!

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