A nice, clean, well-tended lawn is a source of pride, and rightly so. It can take a lot of effort to reach that point. For this reason, it can be a struggle not to mow right after aerating. However, mowing your lawn after aeration can be harmful.
So, “can I mow right after aerating?“, I hear you ask.
You should not mow your lawn right after aerating. No matter which method of aeration was used this can start to reverse the good done by aerating. Certain methods are more negatively impacted by mowing right after aeration, while others don’t have as many reasons not to mow.
How Long After Aeration Can I Mow?
Maybe you didn’t have time to mow before you aerated your lawn and it has grown long and wild. Or perhaps your grass grows quickly no matter what. How long do you have to wait before you can mow again?
Ideally, 1-2 weeks is how long to wait to mow after aerating. This gives your grass a chance to take full advantage of the benefits of the process. Two weeks can be even better for your lawn if your lawn does not need mowing after the first week.
That being said, some aeration methods will be a bit more forgiving if you mow before the week is up. Slicing and spike aeration are two such methods. The reasons for which I will discuss in the next section.
In the case of core aeration, the one-week rule is a good guideline, but it is often better to wait the full two weeks.
If, after two weeks, your grass has not grown enough for mowing you may want to look into why. It could be as mundane as the season and lack of water or something else entirely.
It is not likely that the aeration affected your lawn negatively.
What Happens If I Mow After Aerating?
While it isn’t the end of the world if you’re mowing after aeration, it can have some negative effects. Some potential effects are:
- Your lawn will recompact
- Root growth can be disrupted
- Overseeding attempts will be disrupted
- You can dull your mower blades (core aeration)
Each of the three main mechanical aeration methods (core, spike, slicing) introduces gaps in your lawn that reduce soil compaction and allow healthy gas exchange in your soil.
The holes also make it easier for fresh nutrients and water to reach the roots, resulting in stronger grass.
Mowing right after aerating will begin to recompact the soil through the pressure of your mower. Letting your lawn rest by not mowing or walking on it will allow your grass to make use of the aeration benefits uninterrupted.
It is especially important to let your lawn rest after core aeration. This method is the only one of the three mentioned that removes dirt from your lawn. The core plugs removed during aeration will naturally break down and reintroduce nutrients to the lawn.
On average, it will take 1-2 weeks for the cores to break down. Mowing these plugs sounds like it would be helpful since it would speed up the breakdown process. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The dirt plugs will be broken up by the blades of your mower, possibly dulling your blades in the process, but will also have a chance of clogging the very holes they were pulled from. This is in addition to the compacting that results from the weight of the mower.
The spiking and slicing aeration methods are a little more forgiving if you mow early because they do not have the same core plugs. The lawn will still begin to compact again, however.
If you aerated so that you could then overseed, it is even more important that you wait to mow. If you mow too soon you could prevent germination.
What To Do After Aerating Lawn?
After your lawn has been aerated—no matter the method—there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your newly aerated lawn.
In addition to letting your grass grow, you should fertilize right after, stay off the lawn as much as possible, water regularly, and overseed if necessary.
- Keep off the grass
Fertilizer is most effective right after aeration. It allows the fertilizer to rest on the top layer and within the aerated holes. Furthermore, the grass is in the best position to make the most use of fertilizer.
Fertilizer amount and type depend on your grass. Professional aeration services often spread fertilizer after aerating.
Staying off the grass and not mowing both help your lawn for similar reasons. Both will begin to recompact your lawn and undo the good done by aeration. This goes for people and pets.
You can mow and walk on your lawn normally after the first week is up. It may still be best to give your lawn another week before hosting a backyard barbeque.
As for watering, you should water more frequently but not as long for the first week. Keeping your yard slightly moist will encourage germinating if you have reseeded. Twice a day for roughly 15 minutes should do nicely.
Just like fertilizing after aeration, this is the best time to reseed. Aeration helps the new seeds take hold and begin with the best chance.
It is important to note that if you do reseed after aeration you should follow the two-week pause on mowing. As mentioned above, mowing on top of fresh seeding can reduce the chances that seeds will grow properly.
It may be an afternoons work, but don’t underestimate the power of aerating your lawn.. just see below for real results!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Should I aerate before or after mowing?
You should mow your lawn before aerating because it will make the process easier and help you avoid damaging your lawnmower. If you have a small lawn, you can aerate by hand using a garden fork. For larger lawns, you’ll need to rent an aerator from a gardening or hardware store.
What to do after aerating lawn?
After you finish aerating your lawn, it’s important to fertilize and water the lawn to help it recover.
Can you walk on your lawn after aeration?
Yes, you can walk on your lawn after aeration, but you should avoid walking on it until it has fully healed. This usually takes about a week. If you have to walk on your lawn sooner than that, try to avoid stepping on the areas that you’ve just aerated.
Aeration is a great help in maintaining a healthy lawn. By following the advice in this article you will be able to get the most out of aerating. There aren’t too many things to do after aeration so you can relax a bit.
Just remember: don’t mow your lawn right after aerating! As long as you don’t do that and keep up with watering, your lawn should be flourishing without an issue.