Vital Steps After Aerating Your Lawn

grass after you aerate

So you have carried out the important procedure of lawn aeration and you are wondering what the steps are after aerating your lawn so that you achieve the maximum benefit from the process.

I have aerated my lawn many times using various techniques but whichever technique I use to aerate my lawn I always carry out the same steps after, so that I can achieve the maximum benefits and have my lawn achieve maximum health for the summer months.

This is the process I have personally used many times on my own lawn and I do have to say I have one of the most beautiful lush green lawns you will ever see!

Personally I think it is a waste of time and effort if you aerate your lawn and don’t follow these steps afterwards to achieve the maximum benefit if you are going to do it I believe you should do it right.

Make sure you read this article and follow the process as I believe this process is the secret to having a lawn that is the envy of your street.

The steps you should take after aerating your lawn are:

  • Fertilize your lawn
  • Overseed your lawn
  • Add topsoil to your lawn
  • Water your lawn
  • Stay off your lawn

Did You Prepare Your Lawn For Aeration

If you are following the correct procedure for aerating your lawn then you should have prepared your lawn for aeration by giving it a mow.

Mowing your lawn before you aerate it is a vital step as it enables you to clearly see where you have put holes in your lawn.

If you attempt to aerate your lawn and the grass is long it will be near impossible to see where you have already put holes in the ground so you won’t be able to accurately and methodically cover your whole lawn in holes in the position you need them.

You will still be able to stick holes all over your lawn if you haven’t mowed it but it means it’s more guesswork than using an accurate method which means you may over aerate some patches and completely miss some other areas.

Before you aerate your lawn you should clear any debris from your lawn and rake any loose grass from the surface.

I water my lawn a few days before I aerate it as it is easier to make holes in soft ground compared to brick-hard ground however you don’t want to be aerating a wet lawn, especially if you use a core aerator as the cores may not come out and the holes may close up if the soil is too wet.

Check out my article on aerating your lawn with a fork.

Fertilizing Your Lawn After Aeration

It is a good idea to use fertilizer during the process of your annual lawn maintenance routine but you have to make sure you use the right kind when you are planning to add fresh grass seeds.

You definitely don’t want to use an all in one weed and feed fertilizer as the portion of that type of fertilizer that is designed to stop weeds from growing may actually stop fresh grass seeds from germinating.

During this aeration process, I normally do the aeration and then add fertilizer straight away as I feel my lawn gets the most benefit from fertilization when the fertilizer has a chance to go deep down into the aeration holes where it can give the root zone a welcome boost.

This is basically the only time it is possible to directly boost the root zone of your lawn and that is why I choose to fertilize at this stage of the process.

Some people may advise that you should fertilize your lawn a few days before you aerate and overseed but I am telling you the exact process I have carried out many times and it has always worked out well for my lawn. 

Overseeding After Aerating Your Lawn

If you have gone to the trouble of aerating your lawn you really should take full advantage of the situation and I feel adding fresh grass seed to your lawn is a good idea after aeration.

When you aerate your lawn it is the perfect time to overseed it as there will be holes all over that the seeds will have a chance to go down.

While it is not vital for the seeds to go down the holes as they will germinate and grow even if they are on the surface and that’s where most of the seeds will end up, if you get some seeds down the holes it will be an advantage because those seeds will have a better chance of growing deep roots and a healthy lawn has a deep root system.

Depending on who you ask some people will overseed first then add topsoil and other people will add topsoil and then overseed. 

My theory is: 

  • If you are only adding a thin layer of topsoil you should overseed before you add the topsoil, the seeds will get moved around slightly from spreading the soil but it will cover the seeds so that birds don’t eat them. 
  • If you are adding a thick layer of topsoil you may want to add the seeds after you have evenly spread the soil over your lawn. When you are spreading lots of soil the seeds may get moved around too much.

I normally add a thin layer of topsoil after I overseed so read on to find out about adding topsoil after lawn aeration…

Adding Topsoil After Aeration

Ok, so I do recommend you add topsoil to your lawn after you aerate it, but not every time.

I would recommend you add a thin layer of topsoil to your lawn maybe every second or third year but this all depends on the health of your lawn.

You will have to use your judgment when it comes to the health of your lawn against do you want to go on your lawn for the summer because when you add topsoil it is best that you trample on it as little as possible for several months at best and the whole summer at worst.

I recommend topdressing your lawn with topsoil as there are many benefits and these include:

  • Topdressing with fresh topsoil will add nutrients to the soil underneath.
  • Adding topsoil is the best way to smooth out any bumps in your lawn.
  • Adding topsoil will help control the naturally occurring thatch build up in your lawn.
  • If you have overseeded your lawn it will help the seeds germinate by boosting the fresh organic content of your lawn.

When you are adding topsoil even id you want to add a good thick layer you should always have 75% of the grass sticking out above it otherwise you have added too much. I only add a thin layer which I try to make only about ¼ of an inch deep at most.

Check out my article on tips for setting your aeration routine.

What About Watering

Your lawn always needs and loves water and you should always provide it with enough to keep it growing healthy.

Regardless of whether you have aerated, aerated and overseeded or done the full shebang you should keep your lawn moist but not soaking for a period until you notice it has started to grow healthy again.

Especially if you have added fertilizer during this process you want to go easy on the water as you don’t want to wash the fertilizer away. 

Should I Stay Off My Lawn After The Aeration Process

Whether you have carried out the full process I use when aerating my lawn or have only carried out part of it, you will have to stay off your lawn as much as possible for a while so that it gets a chance to bed in and repair itself before you use it for recreational purposes again.

Again this comes down to if you are going to do something you should do it right for maximum benefit and if you have carried out this process you don’t want to be trampling all over your lawn as it will have a detrimental effect on the recovery of your lawn.

  • After you aerate your lawn you should keep foot traffic to a minimum for at least 1 week as this will give it time to recover and start to grow.
  • If you have overseeded your lawn you should keep traffic off your lawn for at least a month as you want the seeds to be bedded in and growing before you trample on them.

If you have gone to the trouble it’s definitely advisable to keep your kids off the lawn for as long as possible to give it a chance to recover and start to grow again.

This process will damage your lawn and its when it starts to grow in recovery that is when the benefits are happening.

It’s just like if you go to the gym and you ache for days afterward you know that good stuff is happening to your body.


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