How To Aerate Lawn With A Fork, And Why I Use Another Method

how to aerate lawn with pitch fork

So you have decided you want to aerate your lawn and after looking into it you have decided the simplest way to do it is with a garden pitchfork.

Whichever way you choose to aerate your lawn you will greatly improve the health of it so I would definitely recommend it as a procedure you should build into your annual lawn maintenance routine, especially if you have children trampling all over your beautiful lawn.

I have used a garden fork to aerate my lawn many times as it is you would presume the simplest way to do it, just grab a fork and stick it into your lawn, simple eh?

Aerating your lawn with a garden fork is not as simple or easy as you may think it is.

In this article, I will tell you what I have learned from my experiences in aerating my beautiful lush green lawn with a fork and this might help you understand why I no longer use the garden fork method for lawn aeration.

It definitely does work and will improve the health of your lawn but there are some drawbacks I will tell you about so read on to find out about them…

To aerate your lawn with a pitch fork simply stick it in the ground through the thatch and down to the roots level. Move the fork 6 inches and do it again. Continue this process in straight lines either up and down or across your lawn until it is all covered in aeration holes.

The Best Technique To Aerate Your Lawn With A Fork

So you have decided you are going ahead with what you presume is the simplest way to aerate your lawn and that is to carry out the process with a pitchfork.

If you are going to the effort of aerating your lawn with a pitchfork you really should do it right as it will take quite some effort to achieve the outcome you are looking for. 

  • The first thing you should do is mow your lawn as it just makes the process a whole lot simpler when you can see the holes you have created.
  • Then work out your plan of attack, you want to be going in straight lines either up and down or across your lawn.
  • Start sticking the pitchfork in the ground down through the thatch layer and down to the roots of your lawn, stick it in as far as it will easily go.
  • Whether you are going up and down or across you should make the holes a distance of 4-6 inches apart when you are aerating your lawn.
  • Carry out this process across your whole lawn using this methodical technique and you should see a massive improvement in the health of your lawn.

There you have it, that’s the best technique to aerate your lawn with a pitchfork.

Read on to find out some details from my experience that might make you consider a different method.

Check out my article on how to set your lawn aeration annual routine.

Is It Hard Work To Aerate With A Fork

Honestly, aerating your lawn with a fork can be extremely hard work.

If you are not in good shape I would not recommend doing this method of lawn aeration.

So you have a small lawn that is maybe only 6-8 square meters then yeah it’s fine, get a pitchfork and get stuck into aerating your lawn. If you have a large lawn as I do and you are not in good shape like me, I definitely would not recommend using a fork for lawn aeration.

I have used the fork technique many times when I used to have a small lawn but now I have a rather large lawn and I did attempt to aerate it with a fork for the first time when I moved and I promised myself, never again.

I remember my thoughts after I had aerated a couple of meters and they were thoughts of pure dread at how much effort it was taking to slowly cover my rather large lawn in holes.

The effort it took was incredible and it really did use every ounce of energy I could muster to complete the task but that was just the beginning.

The days after I had exhausted myself by aerating my massive lawn with a fork was where the real pain occurred.

After aerating my lawn every muscle in my body ached for days and even muscles I never knew existed ached, also, my knees ached which must have been from stamping the fork in the ground, my back and neck also ached for days.

This is why I now recommend using a fork to aerate your lawn only if you have a small lawn and never if you have a large lawn.

Check out my article on what you have to do after you aerate your lawn.

How Long Will It Take To Aerate A Lawn With A Fork

It really is not a quick job to aerate your whole lawn with a fork, especially if you are so exhausted by doing it that you have to stop for regular cups of tea or freshly squeezed lemon juice.

If you are a super fit person with muscles then the time it takes to aerate your lawn could be dramatically reduced.

An estimate of how long it takes to aerate with a pitchfork would be:

  • 2 minutes per square meter + tea breaks if you are unfit 
  • 1 minute per square meter if you are a fit person

When I used to use the pitchfork method to aerate my lawn, I would set aside an afternoon to do it knowing that I could go at as relaxing of a pace as possible and have time for tea breaks.

I do find it really hard work which is why I don’t use this method anymore and have invested in affordable equipment to make it a whole lot easier to carry out what is a vital task if your lawn gets trampled on.

Read on and in the final section, I will tell you about what options are available to make this difficult task much easier for you.

Other Lawn Aeration Equipment

So you have decided you are looking for some equipment that is a bit more advanced than a pitchfork to use for aerating your lawn. There are two main subcategories for types of aerators and they are:

  • Spike aerators – A spike aerator is exactly what it sounds like, a piece of equipment with a spike on it that will make a small hole in the ground. The problem with spike aerators is that the will make a hole but they simply push the soil sideways which can actually make the ground more compact.
  • Core aerators – A core aerator is the ultimate piece of equipment for lawn aeration if you ask me. When you push a core aerator into the ground it will remove a core of soil, the same way you remove the core of an apple. The advantage of this is that the soil doesn’t get pushed sideways and compacted even more, it removes the core which will make your lawn less compacted long term.

There you have it, you now have the knowledge you require if you want to go ahead and aerate your lawn with a fork and you know what to expect and why I now use a top of the range core aerator.


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