Lawn aeration: during drought
Less than normal amounts and frequencies of watering affect several routine lawn care practices, aeration among them. Core aeration should not be preformed on lawns that are totally brown/dormant as the result of water restrictions. It is unlikely that plugs can even be pulled from hard soil unless soaked by several days of intensive watering. In cases where plugs may be pulled but lawns are severely stressed, the turf health could be further harmed by the drying effect of open holes and traffic stress from the equipment. Watering is necessary to help aeration holes "heal over" quickly.
Lawns that are green (regularly watered) or mostly green (a few brown spots exist) benefit from aeration. Regular watering should follow the aeration operation. The decision to core aerate or not should be made on the basis of the health of the lawn as indicated by color (green or brown) and history of water applications.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).
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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013