Skip to Content

Mowing After aeration, this is what you should do?

Unsure about mowing your lawn following aeration? Our unmatched expertise in lawn care is here to assist you. We’re confident that we can answer your lawn care needs.

Mowing After aeration, this is what you should do:

Mowing right after aerating closes holes for air/water to reach roots. Cut to proper height before aerating or wait at least a week after to mow, allowing time for holes to remain open. Leaving clippings also helps fill holes more slowly.

Want to know how to get the most out of your lawn aeration? Is the key to the timing of your post-aeration mowing? Join us as we delve into mowing after aeration’s do’s and don’ts and reveal how to achieve that perfect lawn. Keep reading!


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 quickly get to the grassroots, making it stronger and healthier. This lawn care technique is essential for 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 an extended period doesn’t get oxygen and water efficiently, even if you are watering your lawn regularly. It’s important to understand that stepping on a lawn that hasn’t been aerated could lead to further soil compaction.

The Advantages of Lawn Aeration

Lawn aeration is essential for its health. Regular aeration of the lawn makes the grassroots establish and spread out quickly by loosening the soil and relieving the soil’s compaction. Aeration helps the water to spread directly into your lawn. It also allows oxygen and other essential nutrients to reach 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 the soil.

This can make the grass unhealthy, eventually losing its color and condition. The grass may also become susceptible to pest invasion and diseases.

Understanding the nuances of lawn care is crucial for maintaining a healthy and vibrant yard. It’s generally recommended to wait 48 to 72 hours to mow the lawn after aeration, as this period allows the property to recover and the soil plugs to decompose naturally. This practice ensures optimal lawn health and aesthetics

Aeration helps to break down the cores of soil that are generally left on the soil’s surface. This breakdown of soil pieces plays a role in top dressing and reduces the thatch buildup on the ground. It’s essential to mow right to maintain a healthy lawn.

Find the Best Time to Mow Your Lawn For Aeration

Mowing your lawn immediately after aeration is not suitable for its health. The main reason for not trimming directly after core aeration is that the soil plugs or cores may fill the holes and hinder aeration’s effects.

Aeration provides the most effective way to over-seed and fertilize your lawn adequately. 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.

Soil Compaction: A Problem that Damages Your Lawn

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. At this point, it’s essential to consider the advantages of proper lawn care.

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’s ability to grow and compact the soil.

When soil is compacted, oxygen is unable to enter the ground. Along with this, the toxic gases released by the earth cannot escape. These trapped poisonous gases and the inadequate availability of oxygen negatively affect the growth and health of the grass.

– Soil Compaction Problems: Pest Attack and Diseases

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. These possible consequences of soil compaction lead to improper grass growth processes.

Soil may also get compacted if lawns are not appropriately aerated. Therefore, properties must be aerated properly to provide sufficient oxygen from the air for the grass to grow and thrive.

This is also the time to oversee, as it can help maintain a lush and healthy lawn. The process to overseed is simple and can be done by spreading grass seeds over the existing lawn.

Mowing, Aeration, and Reseeding: The Cores on your Lawn

Even the best lawns can deteriorate as time goes on. Reserving the lawn prevents this and saves the property from renovation. The advantages of reseeding the lawn are numerous, and the best time to reseed the yard is the same time when a new lawn is seeded- early fall.

Aeration is one of the most essential steps in lawn care and should always be considered before reseeding any lawn. Before reseeding the lawn, mow your grass as short as possible. This is when I mow the lawn.

After successful mowing, aerate your lawn before you proceed to the next step. Aerate the lawn to eliminate the compacted soil in your property and create holes in the ground, allowing easier access to nutrients from the roots.

– Lawn Core: Things to do after aeration

After aeration, cover the aerated area with topsoil mixed with compost. Create a half-inch thick layer of topsoil. After creating this layer, sow the seeds on your lawn, and seeds can be planted 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. This is when I am going to mow the lawn again.

How do I know if my lawn needs aerating?

There are several signs you can see to tell if your lawn needs aerating:

  • Compact soil: If your soil is tight, it is a sign that you need to start aerating.
  • Standing water: Puddles or standing water on the grass indicates compacted soil. This means that the water has difficulty reaching the grassroots.
  • Worn areas: If you see more worn spots on your lawn than usual, it can indicate that it needs aerating. Of course, patches or frayed areas can be typical after heavy usage.
  • Different color: When you notice the lawn showing more brown or yellow patches than expected, 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: Tests how compact the soil is with a sharp object, like a pencil or screwdriver. If you can stick it in quickly, it will be fine. If you have difficulty, it is an indication of compacted soil.

Best Time to Aerate and Water Your Lawn to Heal

Aeration is always preferred before over-seeding for the best results to occur. If you want to oversee your lawn, fall is generally the best time. However, if your yard faces heat stress, summer can be an acceptable time to aerate it.

Springtime aeration is possible; however, it can be tricky to get the right timing. The aeration can be as good as fall aeration in early springs if you over-seed early enough.

The general rule regarding the best time to aerate your lawn is always to try to aerate the lawn during the active growth of grass. This will help your grass to spread out its roots and recover from the stress of aerating quickly.

The grass will be more likely to fill the parts of the soil exposed during aeration, allowing the roots to spread.

Through years of gardening, I’ve learned that even the most compacted and neglected lawns can be restored to health with regular aeration and proper mowing. This process, though challenging, underscores the dramatic difference that consistent lawn care can make. It’s a testament to the transformative power of persistence and proper care in gardening.

– Aerate in the northern areas of the country

If you live in northern areas of the country or 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, moist soil will benefit most from aeration. Therefore, it is preferred to aerate the lawn when you have just had heavy rain.

Try not to mow after aerating your lawn. Instead, mow before aerating your lawn, especially if you plan to over-seed or fertilize your lawn. It would be best if you always gave some time to your lawn when you have over-seeded so that the new seeds fully germinate before you need to mow again.

In conclusion, the relationship between aeration and mowing is crucial for maintaining a healthy lawn. Aeration allows the grass to grow more vigorously, while mowing keeps the lawn tidy. The timing of these activities is vital to achieving the best results.

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. 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 want.

Soil plugs should not be mowed after aeration. It would be best to give these plugs time to break down and gradually add nutrients to the soil. This is where the connection between the soil plugs’ decomposition and your lawn’s health comes into play.

– Mowing after aeration, depending on the type of aerator

Mowing the lawn after aeration also depends on the type of aerator used for aerating the lawn. You can mow your lawn after aeration using a slicing or spike aerator. However, if you use a core aerator, you must wait a week or more before mowing the lawn.

Remember, mowing the lawn to a suitable height is always preferred before aerating occurs. This is one of the advantages of aeration. The aeration process is crucial for your grass to be healthy and lush.

It allows water, oxygen, and nutrients to penetrate the grassroots more effectively. This leads to your lawn becoming more resilient and vibrant.

Lastly, not stepping on the aeration plugs while they break down is essential. This could potentially compact the soil and counteract the benefits of aeration.

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 it. These aerators also help to remove any thatch layer as well.

Slicing aerators clear the turf areas and allow water, air, and nutrients to get into the soil more easily. These aerators do not collect or take any dirt from the ground.

Spike aerators

Spike aerators are quite essential and can cause problems and damage if used over a large area. These aerators use a tine in the shape of a spike.

These aerators worsen soil compaction when used over a large lawn area. Instead of adequately aerating, the soil is 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 the benefits of 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 to break down naturally and add nutrients.
  • Overseed: Overseed or fertilized the lawn after aeration.

Common Aeration and Overseeding Mistakes

In any landscape, aeration and overseeding are essential tasks to perform to help improve soil quality and increase plant productivity. However, the correct techniques can easily avoid common aeration and oversight mistakes. Here are five tips for aerating and overseeding your landscape:

Not knowing how to use your aeration machine

You can damage the grass if you do not know how your aeration machine works. Check the user manual, or let your dealer explain how to use it. Mainly, when you turn your device around, take care that you don’t lift the engine and miss some spots.

Aerating and overseeing the wrong time of the year

You mustn’t aerate and overseed when the nights get below 32F. The seeds will freeze and will be useless. I recommend waiting for nights warmer than 35F; as close to the ground, the temperature can be lower than the forecast.

Similarly, you do not want to aerate and overseed when it’s getting sweltering during dry conditions. Wait until the soil contains some moisture.

The best time of the year for aerating and overseeing is spring or fall when the night temperature is above freezing and 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 punching a whole.

Do nothing after aerating and overseeding

After aerating and overseeding, you must ensure 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.

You can stop your additional watering scheme when the new grass leaves appear. 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.

From two decades of experience, I’ve learned that the secret to a healthy lawn lies in the details. Always leave the soil plugs on the lawn after aeration; they break down and return valuable nutrients to the soil. And remember, aerating when the soil is moist, but not wet, makes the process both easier and more effective.

Start mowing your lawn during the first few weeks

Wait to mow 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.

Final Word

Aeration is one of the best lawn care services that can be provided to your grass. Aeration helps you achieve a healthy lawn by supplying air and water to the grass’s roots. However, your property 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 entirely and naturally.

The best step is to mow the lawn to the recommended height before aerating and reseeding it. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

• What is lawn aeration?

Lawn aeration removes small plugs or cores of soil from the lawn to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the grassroots. This helps strengthen the roots and promotes healthy grass growth.

• When is the best time to aerate my lawn?

The best times to aerate cool-season grass lawns are in early spring as growth resumes and then again in early fall. Warm-season grasses do best when aerated in early summer when actively growing.

• Should I mow my lawn before aerating?

Yes, mow your lawn shorter than usual before aerating for easier removal of the soil plugs. About 1-2 inches is optimal.

• Do I need to water my lawn before aerating?

Yes, it’s best to water your lawn thoroughly a day or two before aerating. Moist soil plugs remove better during aeration.

• How can you tell if your lawn needs to be aerated?

Signs your lawn needs aerating include compacted soil, standing water or puddles, worn grass in high-traffic areas, yellowing grass, or difficulty penetrating the ground with a sharp tool. Annual spring or fall aerating helps prevent compaction.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment rules first here. Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.