You might be feeling virtuous if you mow your lawn every week in the spring and summer. It needs a good cut in the growing season, and you must leave well alone if there is excessive rain. What about aeration?
What is aeration?
Aeration is the process of using spikes or tines to open up the ground and let it heal itself. If the ground seems excessively bouncy or spongy, you could have a problem. Another indication that you need to be aerating your lawn is if there are brown patches or if the water sits for too long before draining away. These factors are caused by dead material and moss below the surface, which will prevent nutrients from getting to the roots. Heavy clay soil is particularly prone to these problems. Lawns which have not been aerated are prone to disease. Scarifying involves digging even deeper; slits are cut into the lawn and the process actually involves digging out the moss or thatch.
Public lawns get more wear and tear than domestic lawns. However, examine your grass closely and you will see the damage that can be caused by a combination of a harsh winter and feet trampling over the lawn on a regular basis. You need to aerate at least once a year. The best time to do it is in early or late spring, or in the autumn.
Do I need any special equipment?
It is a good idea to invest in one of the excellent aerators available. There are two types of machine, which are solid tine (spiked) and hollow tine. They are available as electric or petrol versions, and there are some which can be towed behind your ride-on mower. The alternative to having a full scarifying machine is to remove dead material with a rake and to aerate with a dedicated machine. Combination aerators and scarifiers are available and are the best solution for large gardens.
Make sure that your equipment is functioning efficiently at all times. For replacement parts, look for Briggs and Stratton parts, which you can find here https://diyengineparts.com/, for example.
For expert advice on lawn care, look at the RHS website.
Think of aerating your lawn as the garden equivalent of doing more to your hair than just having a trim at the barbers or hairdressers every few weeks.