what to do after lawn aeration

Unique Tips on What to Do After Lawn Aeration

“What to do after lawn aeration…” Perhaps you are just done aerating your lawn and now you are wondering what next you should do to make your lawn healthy.

Well, once you have aerated your lawn, there are several different techniques you can use to enhance your lawn health. Is your goal to thicken your existing grass? Save a struggling lawn? Control invasive weeds?

Depending on what your lawn needs most, take advantage of newly aerated soil to make the most positive impact possible.

Read also: Benefits of Lawn Aeration in Spring!

What to Do After Lawn Aeration

1. Allow Soil Plugs to Break Down Naturally

After using a core aerator, plugs of soil will be scattered across your lawn. While it may be a good idea to take some measures to clean up your lawn, the best course of action is to allow soil plugs to dry and break down over time.

Mowing and regular lawn use, as well as precipitation, will slowly break down soil plugs. This allows air and nutrients to mix with the soil and allows water and fertilizer to easily penetrate into holes left by core aeration.

This is best for all lawns. Soil plugs left after aeration has been done should be given time to break down.

2. Overseed with New Grass

A core aerator leaves behind evenly spaced holes 2 to 3 inches (5 – 7.5 cm) apart. These holes are the perfect shelter for grass seeds. They allow seeds to take root and keep them protected from scavengers such as birds.

After your lawn is aerated, spread grass seed over your lawn using a broadcast spreader. Then, properly water and care for your newly overseeded lawn to promote great results.

This is best for lawns with thin, sparse grass or bare patches where grass has died.

3. Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Killer

Pre-emergent herbicide kills plants as they sprout. It will block any weed seeds and grass from growing for up to 6 weeks after application. Remember, because it stops grass seeds from growing, you cannot apply pre-emergent if you have overseeded in the past four weeks or plant to overseed within the next six weeks. It will kill grass seedlings together with the weeds.

In case you have a thick, beautiful lawn and do not plan to overseed, you should apply a pre-emergent weed killer after aerating. The holes left by the aerator tines permit the herbicide to enter the soil and create a barrier that kills weeds as they sprout. Your herbicides will person much better when applied just after aeration.

This is best for lawns with annual weed problems. Avoid applying pre-emergent if you have overseeded or plan to overseed.

4. Fertilize

A freshly aerated soil draws any fertilizer down deep into the ground, where it nourishes grassroots and has a big positive impact. For a healthy lawn, apply a high-nitrogen, organic fertilizer after aeration.

Milorganite is a good fertilizer choice for established lawns, particularly if mixed with Scotts Turf Builder or another fertilizer. It delivers nitrogen over an extended period of time and will not burn your yard. If you have recently overseeded, use a lawn-starter fertilizer to kickstart your grass seed.

The holes in your lawn left by the aerator tines will not only help the fertilizer penetrate the soil but also prevent the fertilizer from washing away.

This is best for an established lawn where the grass is growing poorly or a recently seeded lawn.

5. Provide Adequate Water

After carrying out aeration, water your lawn thoroughly. Continue doing so twice weekly (30 – 60 minutes per watering session). This encourages grass root growth for any new seeds as well as existing grass plants.

If your ground has been compacted by vehicle or foot traffic, it will not absorb water well. Attempts to water it will run off compacted soil, starving the grass. One of the greatest things to do after aeration is to establish a proper watering schedule to revive failing grass.

This practice is good for lawns with browning or yellowing grass.

The best way to care for your lawn after aeration is by allowing the soil plugs left after aeration to decompose naturally, fertilizing with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, establishing a regular watering schedule, and either overseeding with new grass or applying a pre-emergent herbicide to stop weeds from sprouting.

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