Should You Aerate Before Overseeding A Lawn?

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Lawn and grass care are a top priority for many. Well-kept landscaping greatly improves your home’s curb appeal. Do you want to overseed your lawn but don’t know whether you need to aerate it first? We have done plenty of research to find you the answer.

It is a good idea to aerate your lawn before overseeding it. In general, aerating the ground before overseeding can help prepare it better to absorb nutrients and new seeds, which will give you better results. On top of that, aerating your lawn also improves its oxygen supply, which is essential for healthy, green grass.

As we begin, we will discuss the best ways to overseed a lawn. Whether this is your first time or you want to improve your aerating/overseeding skills, we’ve got your back. With that said, let’s jump right into this post!

An aerator machine at the backyard lawn, Should You Aerate Before Overseeding A Lawn?

Do You Have To Aerate Your Lawn Before Overseeding?

When it comes to needing to aerate before overseeding, this is not required. Like we covered above, aerating the ground before overseeding will improve its oxygen supply and give you better results, so we recommend it. 

Of course, if your lawn is growing well and you recently aerated it, we don’t think you need to repeat this process. That said, if you haven’t aerated in over a year and your lawn is patchy, we believe it is worth giving a try.

A man holding a pile of grass seeds

Does Overseeding After Aeration Work?

Although it is more work, aerating your lawn before overseeding it will give better results. According to Joshua Tree Experts, aerating before you overseed is a great way to see increased growth and improve overall grass health.

They also mention the importance of using high-quality seeds, so it’s best to stay away from options with fillers/preservatives. In general, overseeding with better quality, premium seeds will give your lawn the best result, so you might want to splurge.

Eretz Kentucky Tall Fescue Grass Seed

This bag of grass seed doesn’t contain fillers, is state-certified, promises to grow high-quality grass, and comes in various sizes.

See these seeds on Amazon here.

What Is The Best Month To Aerate And Overseed?

Typically, August or late summer/early fall is the best time to aerate and overseed your lawn. The ground is often still too hard during the springtime, so we recommend waiting a bit until temperatures warm up. 

With that said, you don’t want to wait too long to aerate and overseed because this can stunt your new grass’s growth once the winter hits. Of course, every lawn is different, so take a look at the weather forecast and try to give your new seeds a few weeks to grow before it gets cold.

Should You Aerate And Overseed Every Year?

In general, no, you don’t need to aerate and overseed your lawn every year. According to Better Lawn Care, you should plan to aerate/overseed every three to four years, but doing this yearly can give you a lush, beautiful lawn.

Most often, if your lawn is already growing well and doesn’t show signs of problems, it’s best to wait, while problematic lawns should be aerated and overseeded more frequently. That said, you don’t want to do this more than once per year because it can damage your soil.

How Do I Aerate My Lawn Before Overseeding?

An aerator machine in the lawn

It is relatively easy to aerate your lawn before overseeding it. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Water your lawn thoroughly a few days before you plan to aerate.
  2. On the day of aerating, test your soil and make sure it is dry.
  3. Using a plug or spike aerator, move evenly across your lawn, covering its entire surface.
  4. Rake up any excess soil plugs and apply a compost mix to your freshly aerated lawn.
  5. Water your lawn well, let it dry a bit, and you’re ready to overseed!

A good thing to note is that once you aerate your lawn, you should water it every couple of days for a few weeks after, so make sure to schedule that in.

Which Is Better: A Plug Or Spike Aerator?

For those unsure about which type of aerator to use, this comes down to your lawn. Between the two, spike aerators are easier to use but won’t always be as effective as a plug aerator.

Plug aerators are better for heavily compacted, clay soil, while spikes will work best for those with sandier, loam-filled lawns. That said, this comes down to your needs, but if your soil isn’t super thick or compacted, we think you should be fine using a spike aerator.

Agri-Fab 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator

This plug aerator has a universal hitch, is 48 inches wide, includes a weight tray that holds up to 175 pounds, and features 32 galvanized blades.

Follow this link to view it on Amazon.

Agri-Fab 16-Inch Push Spike Aerator

This manual spike aerator is 16 inches wide, has five aerating wheels, seven-inch spikes, and comes in a few bundle options.

View this on Amazon here.

Can You Aerate And Overseed At The Same Time?

Although we wouldn’t recommend aerating and overseeding your lawn simultaneously, they should be done close together. Generally, you want to aerate your lawn a few days before overseeding to prep it, but this can be done sooner, even a day beforehand.

You want to overseed your lawn within 48 hours of aerating it, so this is a pretty quick process. The reason for this is because your soil has its best chance to absorb new seeds right after aeration, so the sooner, the better.

Can I Aerate After Overseeding?

This is possible for anyone wanting to aerate after they overseed, although it won’t be as effective. Like we covered, aerating before overseeding is ideal because it creates new openings in your lawn, which the new seeds can fall into.

Choosing to aerate after you overseed your lawn won’t necessarily ruin the process, but it won’t work as well as it does when you do it beforehand. Of course, this is up to you, but we recommend waiting to overseed until you have aerated your lawn.

Should You Fertilize After Overseeding?

A selective focus photographed of a healthy lawn at sunset

When it comes to fertilizing an overseeded lawn, we think this is a great idea. Typically, you want to fertilize sooner than later so your new seeds can get a boost of much-needed energy, so try to do this a day or so after you’ve overseeded your lawn.

According to Pepper’s Home And Garden, you are OK to fertilize immediately after overseeding, so don’t feel like you’re rushing things. On top of that, they recommend using a nutrient-rich lawn starter, so that is also something to think about.

What Fertilizer Should I Use After Overseeding?

Ingredient-wise, you want to use a fertilizer with plenty of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on an overseeded lawn. These ingredients are essential for promoting new grass growth and will help to keep your lawn healthy and full.

Another thing to look out for is a quick-release fertilizer, which is important for an overseeded lawn so it can get its nutrients as soon as possible.

PetraTools Liquid Nitrogen Fertilizer

This liquid fertilizer has an ultra-high nitrogen formula, works on all grass types, is easy to use, works fast, and comes in a 32-ounce container.

Click here to view this fertilizer on Amazon.

The Andersons Premium New Lawn Starter

This lawn starter is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, formulated for newly seeded soil, contains 1% iron and covers up to 5,000 square feet.

See this lawn starter on Amazon here.

To Wrap Things Up

Whether you overseed your lawn often or want to try it for the time, knowing whether to aerate it beforehand is important. Although it isn’t required, aerating your lawn before overseeding is a great way to improve the quality of your grass.

When it comes to a good month for overseeding, try to aim for August or between the late summer and fall. Aerating-wise, we recommend using a spike aerator for sandier, loamy soil and a plug aerator for thicker, more compacted clay lawns. Regardless, make sure to water your lawn frequently after you aerate and overseed it, and don’t forget to use a nutrient-rich fertilizer on your new grass.

Want to know more about lawn care? Check out these helpful posts below!

Does Ryegrass Spread? [And What You Need To Know About It]

What’s The Best Time To Aerate And Overseed A Lawn?

Should You Dethatch Or A Lawn First?

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