Aeration and overseeding is one of the most important things that can be done for cool season grass, such as fescue, to keep it thick and healthy. Warm season grasses also greatly benefit from lawn aeration and fertilization, but do not require overseeding.
What is Lawn Aeration?
Lawn aeration is a process that removes plugs or cores from the soil, allowing air, water and essential nutrients to more easily reach the roots of the grass. Aeration helps to break up compacted soil and maintain a healthy environment for roots to grow. For cool season grasses, seeding, also called “overseeding,” should follow. This will help to fill in any bare areas of the lawn and cause all of the turf to be thicker and more resistant to weeds and diseases.
When Is The Best Time For Aeration and Overseeding?
Fescue is an example of a cool season grass because it thrives in cooler weather, and struggles when temperatures are hotter. By the end of summer, fescue and other cool season grasses may begin to go dormant because of excessive heat and insufficient rainfall. For this reason, aeration and overseeding of cool season grasses should be performed in the fall, between the end of August and the end of October. This will enable your lawn to recover from the summer heat more quickly.
For warm season grasses that thrive during hotter weather, such as Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine and Centipede, aeration should be performed during the summer months. This will help the grass to recover from dormancy. Warm season grass, however, does not need to be overseeded because it grows by spreading from its rhizomes and stolons, not from seed heads.
Caring For Your Lawn After Aeration and Overseeding
Your lawn will require some special care following aeration and overseeding:
- Stay off of the grass for a while. It will take about a month for the new seeds to germinate, so limiting foot traffic during this critical period will allow the new grass to become established.
- Follow watering recommendations. Your lawn will need to be watered daily for the first week or two, and then 3-4 times per week for the next two weeks. Water for about 20 minutes, but do not overwater.
- During the first month, grass should not be mowed until it has reached 4” height. Do not mow too short, this will damage the new grass. Keep the mower on the highest setting possible. After a month, it is ok to mow the lawn regularly, still caring gently for the newly established grass.
If you would like more information about lawn aeration and overseeding or if you are interested in a turf management program, please contact one of our lawn care teams in your local area.