6 Ways to Aerate Backyard Putting Greens

Like lawns, backyard putting greens need to be aerated. The ground needs to be opened up a little in order to allow air to circulate around the root zone. This promotes healthier, thicker growth, which in turn produces high-quality turf.

There are several ways to aerate backyard putting greens. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, although they all do the same thing.


The traditional way of aerating turf is to pierce it with a fork or spiked aerating tool. This method is fine for lawns but rather crude for the much finer grass of backyard putting greens.

Deep-Tine Aeration

Deep-tine aeration is very similar to traditional aeration techniques, but it goes deeper into the soil. It’s ideal for breaking up the layering of soil, and some tines can penetrate to a depth of 24 inches.

There are many advantages to this method, most notably a deeper penetration for water into the earth. It also allows nutrients to penetrate further into the soil, a condition which aids growth.

Water Injection

The water injection is a recent innovation in aerating backyard putting greens. In this method the surface isn’t subject to disruption, but water is forced into the ground. This method can help growth in areas that are dry; it can also break up compacted soil. It’s an excellent method for adding nutrients and giving them the chance to go deep in the soil. You can use water injection even in times when you can’t use other aeration methods.

Soil Shattering

Aerating backyard putting greens by soil shattering requires a special machine. This machine uses carefully designed tines that penetrate to a depth of 7 inches. They’re rolled over the green, and at full depth they twist to break up the soil well below the turf. But there’s little evidence of that process on the surface. Soil shattering is more common on fairways than on greens.

Hollow Tines

With a hollow-tine tool, you remove a thin tube of soil from your backyard putting greens. Most tools that do this only go to a maximum of 6 inches in depth, but some that are more specialized can penetrate to 12 inches. They can be walk-along aerating units, which are all you’d need for home, or powered units.

Open Spoon

The open spoon aeration system is mounted on a roller of some kind, and then rolled over the putting green. If not carefully designed and used, it can damage backyard putting greens.

The spoons are really tines, and the force of gravity will push the tines into the soil, the depth ranging anywhere between 3 inches and 12 inches, depending on the size of the tines. More sophisticated systems employ hydraulics and spring assemblies to control the rolling and depth while minimizing damage to the surface. Whatever type of aerating you employ on backyard putting greens, you need to do it carefully.