In the world of gardening, some jobs are just better when done together. When it comes to aeration, seeding is its perfect partner, and most experts would recommend seeding your lawn after you’ve finished the aeration process to get the most amazing results for your grass.
How long after aeration can I seed? For the best results, overseed your lawn within 48 hours of completing the aeration process. This is so that the seeds you place can get deep into the soil in the holes you’ve created by aerating, giving them the optimal chance to grow and develop healthy roots. Getting the timing right for these important gardening jobs will ensure the best results for your lawn.
Every gardener should have a schedule they follow to get it right, and we’re here to help you answer the basics about aeration and seeding so you know exactly when to do them.
How to Prepare Your Lawn for Aeration and Seeding
Lawn aeration is a fairly simple job once you get started, but there’s a lot of preparation that goes into it before you can begin. Make sure you’ve checked off these important tasks before you start aerating and overseeding.
Check for obstructions: If you have an automatic sprinkler system, mark these out with flags or other signs, and if there’s anything else on the lawn it should be signaled as well. This ensures you can pass by it as you aerate and not accidentally damage anything in the ground.
Clear debris: Make an effort to clear the lawn of debris, including dead leaves, twigs and branches, and thatch. You want a clear space to work with as you aerate and don’t want to get stuck on anything else when you should be just puncturing the soil.
Mow the lawn: One to two days before you plan on aerating, mow the lawn at a level lower than usual. The recommended level is 1.5 inches, so adjust your mower to ensure you’re cutting it right.
Water the lawn if needed: Depending on the weather and lawn conditions, you may need to water the lawn a few days before the job. The goal for this project is to have the soil moist but not wet, as it makes it easier for the aeration holes to be created. If you’re unsure, push a screwdriver into the ground and see how easily it travels through, and this should indicate whether it needs watering.
Choosing the Right Time
Timing is crucial in all aspects of gardening, and lawn maintenance is no exception. One of the biggest mistakes people make when aerating and seeding their lawns is that they do it at the wrong time, which ends up doing more harm than good.
If you do the job too early, the seeds will be killed by the colder temperatures of winter, and if you leave it too late, the seeds’ growth might be suppressed.
A simple way to plan for aeration is to look at the type of grass you’re growing to determine when it’s in the right growth stage.
Cool-season grasses in northern areas should be aerated in early fall and spring. Southern regions growing warm-season grasses will want to leave it later until the end of spring or early summer
Seeding After Aeration: When Is Best?
If you’re planning on aerating your lawn, it’s best to combine it with overseeding to get even better and longer-lasting results.
As the soil will be de-compacted and filled with small holes after aeration, taking this opportunity to plant new grass seeds on top of the existing lawn is smart, and gives them a much better chance to grow.
The reason for using the overseeding method of spreading new seeds is that you don’t have to do anything other than scatter them on top of the existing lawn.
Unlike reseeding where you must turn over a patch of grass before you plant them, overseeding is a lot easier and pairs perfectly with the aeration process as most of the work has already been done for you in this first stage.
As the aeration and overseeding tasks work together in harmony, they should be done within 48 hours of each other.
Aeration should be completed first as it helps to break up the soil, with the seeding following in the two days after, giving them better contact with the soil after this process is done.
What Happens If I Don’t Seed After Aerating?
Whether you’re short on time or you just don’t see the value of seeding after you’ve aerated your lawn, there’s no real harm in not doing it. However, you’ll be making the most of the effort you just put into aeration if you take this opportunity to throw down some new seed on top of the grass.
When you overseed at a regular time, and not after aeration, the chance that the grass seed will reach down into the soil where it needs to make contact will be slim.
As it sits there, it’s exposed to sunlight and will usually dry out and die, never becoming a luscious blade of grass. Therefore, you want to make the most of having these exposed areas of soil that are perfect for receiving the grass seed, which occurs only after aeration.
These include not watering the grass regularly for three weeks following and mowing the lawn too soon, as it should be left at least two weeks before it’s cut again.
When Should You Roll Your Lawn?
Lawn rolling is another project required for lawn maintenance, and it can be timed alongside seeding and aerating for even better results.
There are differing views on when this should be, but most gardeners recommend rolling after aeration and seeding to help the seeds get even further into the soil and make contact.
As with aeration, lawn rolling needs to be timed to perfection, otherwise, it can compact the soil further which destroys the good work you’ve already done.
The best time is during spring as the grassroots are coming out of their dormant stage, but it also depends on the type of grass you have and the region you live in.
Lawn rolling is not as essential as aerating and seeding, and there are only certain types of lawns that will benefit from it, and specific rollers and weights that should be used. Before adding rolling to your annual aeration schedule, assess what benefits you’re looking for and see if it’s suitable.
Smarter Planning For a Healthier Lawn
Aeration is one of the best things you can do for your lawn, but it comes with other tasks that can make it even more effective when you time them right.
Having a basic schedule for aeration, fertilization, and seeding will give you a plan to follow on your path to creating a healthier and more luscious lawn.
The aeration process can ensure vital nutrients, water, and air reach the roots of your grass, so it’s vital to maintaining a healthy lawn.
If you want to learn more about aeration and how to time it correctly, we’ve answered a few commonly asked questions that can help you create a schedule for your grass.
What is the Best Month to Aerate Your Lawn?
There’s no specific month that aeration should be done in, as it’s effective during many months as long as the weather is warm.
You can aerate your lawn in spring, summer, or fall for the best results, as this is when your grass will be in an active stage of growth and suitable for aeration.
Should I Aerate or Dethatch First?
Dethatching should be done before aeration, as it clears the grass from thatch and gives the aeration tool better access to the soil underneath.
Both tasks help improve nutrient penetration for the soil underneath and can be done one after the after, but it’s best to dethatch before you start aeration.
Can I Aerate the Lawn Monthly?
Most lawns should be aerated once a year only, as it’s possible to overdo it and damage the soil underneath when you do it every month.
Certain circumstances, like drought and ongoing dry weather, may call for more frequent aeration, but it should never be done more than two times in a single year.
Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.