It is natural for someone to want an aesthetically appealing and lush green lawn without spending a lot of energy and dedication in the process. However, this dream can be easily achieved through essential lawn care practices like aeration. Aeration helps your lawn grow by allowing air, water, and other essential nutrients to be absorbed by the roots of the grass. Knowing how to care for a lawn after aeration is important, as it is essential to achieve the best results. People frequently ask whether it is safe to mow the lawn after aerating it.
Mowing After aeration, this is what you should do:
Mowing the lawn right after aeration is not a good practice. Aeration creates holes in the soil for air and water to reach out to the roots. If you mow your lawn after aeration, the soil plugs picked from the soil may fill up these holes again and prevent oxygen and water from reaching the roots. Therefore, it is always preferred to mow your lawn to a suitable height before aerating it or mow it at least a week after aeration.
If you look forward to reseeding or fertilizing your lawn after aerating it, mowing should be avoided. It would be best if you gave time for the new seeds to germinate. Mowing too soon after aerating and reseeding will make it impossible for new seeds to grow.
In this article, I will give you helpful information about the best time to mow your lawn if you are planning to aerate it. I will also discuss the benefits of aeration and provide you with a guideline on how to mow, aerate, and resell your lawn successfully.
And I have some bonus tips for you that you must consider while aerating your lawn!
- 1 What is Aeration?
- 2 Benefits of Lawn Aeration
- 3 Can You Mow Your Lawn Right After Aeration?
- 4 Problems Arising Due to Soil Compaction
- 5 Mowing, Aeration, and Reseeding
- 6 How do I know if my lawn needs aerating
- 7 Best Time to Aerate
- 8 Mowing the Soil Plugs After Aeration
- 9 Types of Aerators
- 10 Tips for Mowing and Aeration
- 11 Common Aeration and Overseeding Mistakes
- 12 Final Word
What is Aeration?
Aeration is a process in which holes are made in the soil, allowing more oxygen and water to penetrate the turf and easily get to the grassroots, making them stronger and healthier. This lawn care technique is essential if you want a healthy, beautiful, and lush yard.
If you don’t aerate your lawn, the soil may get compact as time goes on. Soil compaction hinders the access of oxygen, water, and other nutrients to the roots of the grass. In other words, a lawn not aerated for a long period of time doesn’t get oxygen and water efficiently even if you are watering your lawn regularly.
Benefits of Lawn Aeration
Lawn aeration is very important for its health. Regular aeration of the lawn makes the grassroots establish and spread easily by loosening the soil and relieving the soil’s compaction. Aeration helps the water to get directly to the roots of the grass. It also allows oxygen and other essential nutrients to get to the roots efficiently.
A layer of thatch is beneficial to provide padding in the lawn, but the thickness of this thatch layer should be no more than half an inch. Thick thatch layers affect the new grassroots as the roots may not penetrate through the soil. This can make the grass unhealthy, and eventually, it loses its color and condition. The grass may also become susceptible to pest invasion and diseases.
Aeration helps to break down the cores of soil that are generally left on the surface of the soil. This breakdown of soil pieces plays a role in top dressing and reduces the thatch buildup on the soil.
Can You Mow Your Lawn Right After Aeration?
Mowing your lawn immediately after aeration is not good for its health. The main reason for not mowing immediately after core aeration is that the soil plugs or cores may fill the holes and hinder aeration’s effects.
Aeration provides you with the most effective way to properly over-seed and fertilizes your lawn. It allows the seeds and fertilizers to get into those newly formed holes created during aeration. If you plan to over-seed your lawn or fertilize it after aeration, you should not mow your freshly aerated lawn.
Problems Arising Due to Soil Compaction
When there is traffic on the lawn, such as walking, driving, or playing, the lawn often becomes compacted over time. Areas of the lawn near the entrance and driveways often undergo the most wear and tear compared to other areas.
This is why we often see signs that say “Keep off the lawn” beside beautifully manicured lawns. People don’t want others to walk on or through their perfect-looking lawn, weighing it down. A person’s weight may adversely affect grass growth and compact the soil.
When soil is compacted, oxygen is unable to enter the soil. Along with this, the toxic gases released by the soil are unable to escape. These trapped toxic gases and the inadequate availability of oxygen negatively affects the growth and health of the grass.
Grass that tries to grow in compacted soil is susceptible to pest attacks and diseases. Compacted soil also causes the grass to be vulnerable to environmental stresses subjected to it. All of these possible consequences of soil compaction lead to improper grass growth processes to occur.
Soil may also get compacted if lawns are not aerated properly. Therefore, it is essential that lawns be aerated properly in order to provide sufficient oxygen from the air for the grass to grow and thrive.
Mowing, Aeration, and Reseeding
Even the best lawns can deteriorate as time goes on. Reseeding the lawn prevents this as well as saves the lawn from the renovation. The best time to reseed the lawn is the same time when a new lawn is seeded- early fall.
Aeration is one of the most important steps in caring for a lawn and should always be considered before reseeding any lawn. Before reseeding the lawn, you should mow it as short as possible. After successful mowing, aerate the lawn to get rid of the compacted soil in your lawn and create holes in the soil, allowing for easier access to nutrients from the roots.
After aeration, cover the aerated area with topsoil mixed with compost. Create a half an inch thick layer of topsoil. After creating this layer, sow the seeds on your lawn, seeds can be sowed either by hand or with the help of a spreader.
After sowing the seeds, settle them by pulling the back of a rake over a reseeded area and then rolling the lawn.
How do I know if my lawn needs aerating
There are several signs you can see to know if your lawn needs aerating:
- Compact soil: If you notice that your soil is really compact, it is a sign that you need to start aerating.
- Standing water: Puddles or standing water on the grass are an indication of compacted soil. This means that the water has difficulty reaching the grassroots.
- Worn areas: If you see more worn areas on your lawn than usually, it can be an indication that it needs aerating. Of course, patches or worn areas can be normal after heavy usage.
- Different color: When you notice that the lawn is showing more brown or yellow patches than you would expect, it can be a sign that it needs aerating. This only applies if the grass is getting enough water, during a dry period it will always change its color.
- Compacting test: Test with a sharp object, like a pencil or screwdriver how compact the soil is. If you can stick it in easily, it will be fine. If you have difficulty, it is an indication of compacted soil.
Best Time to Aerate
Aeration is always preferred before over-seeding for the best results to occur. If you want to overseed your lawn, fall is generally the best time to do it.
However, if your lawn faces heat stress, then summer can also be considered an acceptable time to aerate it. Springtime aeration is possible; however, it can be tricky to get the right timing. In early springs, the aeration can be as good as fall aeration if you over-seed early enough.
The general rule regarding the best time to aerate your lawn is that you should always try to aerate the lawn during the active growth of grass. This will help your grass to recover from the stress of aerating quickly. The grass will be more likely to fill the parts of soil which were exposed during aeration.
If you live in northern areas of the country or if you have grown cool-season grasses, you should aerate your lawn in early fall or spring. If you have warm-season grasses or live in the southern part of the country, you should generally aerate in early summer or spring.
Watering the lawn before aerating is something I recommend. In general, moisture soil will benefit most from aeration. Therefore, it is preferred to aerate the lawn after heavy rain.
Try not to mow after aerating your lawn. Instead, mow the lawn before aerating it, especially if you are planning to over-seed or fertilize your lawn. It would be best if you always gave some time to your lawn after over-seeding so that the new seeds fully germinate before you mow again.
Mowing the Soil Plugs After Aeration
A common misconception people generally believe is that they should mulch-mow the core aeration plugs to break them down quickly, but this is not recommended. The reason behind this is, if you mow these soil plugs with your mower, the soil may drop again on the aeration holes in the yard and fill them in. The filling of holes created during aeration will hinder the supply of oxygen and water to the roots of the grass. This will conflict with the aeration process, and that’s not what you really want.
Soil plugs should not be mowed after aeration. It would be best if you gave these plugs time to break down and add nutrients to the soil naturally gradually.
Mowing the lawn after aeration also depends on the type of aerator used for aerating the lawn. You can mow your lawn after aeration if you use a slicing aerator or spike aerator. However, if you use a core aerator, you must wait for a week or more before mowing the lawn. Remember, it is always preferred to mow the lawn to a suitable height before any aerating occurs.
Let’s briefly discuss different types of aerating equipment and methods.
Types of Aerators
● Core aerators
Generally, the most common and the best equipment to aerate your lawn is core or plug aerators. The core aerator has hollow tines arranged in rows that remove plugs of soil from the turf, placing them back on top of the grass.
● Slicing aerators
These aerators consist of rotating blades. These blades slice through the soil and penetrate into it. These aerators also help to remove any thatch layer as well. Slicing aerators clear the turf areas that allow water, air, and nutrients to get into the soil more easily. These aerators do not collect or take any soil from the ground.
● Spike aerators
Spike aerators are quite basic and can cause problems and damage if used over a large area. These aerators use a tine in the shape of a spike. If these aerators are used over a large area of the lawn, they tend to make soil compaction even worse. Instead of properly aerating, the soil is being squashed down when a hole is made, making everything more compact.
Tips for Mowing and Aeration
Following are some of the tips that must be kept in mind while mowing and aerating your lawn. These tips will help you aerate your lawn effectively while maximizing benefits from this lawn care practice.
- Mow before: Always try to mow the lawn before aeration.
- Wait a week: If you have not mowed the lawn beforehand, wait until at least a week after aeration to mow.
- Water before aerating: Aeration is most effective when the soil is wet. So, water the lawn before aerating it or wait until after heavy rainfall.
- High traffic areas: While aerating, pay more attention to the driveways and high traffic areas. Aerate these areas more thoroughly.
- Plugs: Don’t try to mow plugs. Leave the soil plugs on the surface so that they can break down naturally and add nutrients to the soil.
- Over-seed: Overseed or fertilize the lawn after aeration.
Common Aeration and Overseeding Mistakes
In any landscape, aeration and overseeding are important tasks to perform to help improve soil quality and increase plant productivity. However, many common aeration and overseeding mistakes can be easily avoided if you are familiar with the correct techniques. Here are five tips for aerating and overseeding your landscape:
● Not knowing how to use your aeration machine
If you do not know how your aeration machine works, you can damage the grass. Check the user manual, or let your dealer explain how to use it. Particularly when you turn your machine around take care that you don’t lift the machine and miss some spots.
● Aerating and overseeing the wrong time of the year
It is important that you do not aerate and overseed when the nights get below 32F. The seeds will freeze and will be useless. I recommend waiting for nights that are warmer than 35F, as close to the ground the temperature can be lower than what the forecast says.
Similarly, you do not want to aerate and overseed when it’s getting really hot and during dry conditions. Wait until the soil contains some moisture.
This means that the best time of the year for aerating and overseeing is in the spring or fall when the night temperature is above freezing and it is not dry.
● Not using the right equipment
Ensure that you use the right aerating equipment. I recommend using a plug aerator with a 3-inch depth. Such machines remove soil, instead of only punching a whole.
● Do nothing after aerating and overseeding
After aerating and overseeding you have to ensure that the soil stays moist. This helps the seeds to start growing. If there is enough rain, you’re fine. But when it is dryer, I recommend watering your lawn regularly.
When you see the new grass leaves appear, you can stop your additional watering scheme. You can expect this after 2 to 3 weeks.
● Using herbicides during the first months
I do not recommend using herbicides or other chemical products on your lawn during the first few months. The new grass is much more vulnerable to these products and could be severely weakened, or even die.
● Start mowing your lawn during the first few weeks
Wait with mowing your lawn after aeration and overseeding until you see the new grass leaves appear. This will take 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes longer depending on the type of grass and environmental conditions. The new grass needs time to develop itself. Also, try to avoid heavy usage of your lawn during this time.
Aeration is one of the best lawn care services that can be provided to your grass. Aeration helps you achieve a healthy lawn by ensuring the supply of air and water to the grass’s roots. However, your lawn needs proper maintenance after aeration. Mowing the lawn after aerating affects the helpful benefits and effects of aeration by filling up the holes created in the soil by aeration.
This prevents the air and water from reaching the roots of the grass. If you reseed the lawn after aeration, you should again avoid mowing because it will hinder the newly seeded grass. You must give time for the grass to germinate completely and naturally. The best step to take is to mow the lawn to the recommended height before aerating and reseeding it.