Q: Is now a good time to aerate and dethatch a lawn?

ó Eric Poston, Green

A: Fall is a great time for either, but September and October are best. That usually leaves plenty of time for the grass to rebound from dethatching or fill in from aerating before it goes dormant.

You probably donít have to do both. Core aeration (also called aerification) is usually done to reduce soil compaction, but it also helps thatch decompose by letting air, water and nutrients reach the grass roots more readily and stimulating microbial activity in the soil.

You can rent an aerator or hire someone to do the job. Just make sure you use a core aerator, which removes plugs of grass and soil. Just poking holes in the ground will compact the soil further.

Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.