10 Lawn Aeration & Overseeding Questions and Answers for WI and MN Homeowners

Listen. Can you hear your lawn’s roots gasping for air? 

Okay, so you’d have to have super-hearing.

But there’s a good chance your lawn is struggling to get the air and water it needs to thrive. 

It may be time for lawn aeration. 

We sense a few questions. Here are some answers.

1. What Is Lawn Aeration and why is it Necessary?

  • When your soil becomes compacted, your lawn can't breathe. Its roots can't take in water or nutrients, which weakens your turf and opens the door for disease and weeds. Soil with a high clay content is especially likely to get compacted, as the particles squeeze together tightly, making it tough for water and oxygen to get through. 

lawn aeration up close

  • Aeration uses a machine to pull out tiny cores of soil from your lawn, allowing water and oxygen to get to the roots. You can almost hear your lawn sigh with relief.
  • Aeration is sometimes followed by overseeding, as the holes created by aeration are perfect new homes for grass seed.

2. What Does Lawn Aeration do? How does it work? Does it really matter? 

  • Lawn aeration pulls out plugs of soil, creating spaces so that air and water can penetrate, which leads to healthier roots. Healthier roots make for a healthier, thicker lawn, better able to resist pests and diseases and tolerate summer’s heat and drought.

lawn aeration cores in lawn

  • Lawn aeration also helps break down thatch. Thatch is a layer of dead grass and stems that sits between the grass blades and the soil. When lawn aeration removes plugs from the thatch, it helps it decompose, so oxygen, nutrients, and moisture can get to the roots.

3. What Happens to the Plugs of Dirt the Machine Removes? Won’t they look messy? Do you take them away?

  • Leave the plugs right there. They’ll decompose and add valuable nutrients to your lawn. Some people rake them up, because they think they’re unsightly. That’s depriving your lawn of a good nutrient boost. Don’t worry — they’ll break down and disappear before you know it.

4. What If I Have an Irrigation System or an Invisible Dog Fence? Can the machine damage these things in my yard? How do I prevent that?

  • Mark irrigation and invisible dog fence lines with flags. If we’re aerating your lawn and have access to your irrigation controls, we’ll flag your irrigation system, no charge. You can either mark the invisible dog fence or we offer that service for $129.

5. Why Overseed if My Lawn Looks Okay? Isn’t that a waste of seed? Will it do any good? 

  • If your lawn is thick and healthy, you might not need overseeding. But if there are thin spots, or you see fungus or disease, those are signs some fresh, quality seed can do your lawn some real good.

RainMaster technician seeding lawn

  • Also consider this: it’s a good idea to introduce new varieties of high-quality grass seed into your lawn occasionally, no matter what type of grass you have. New, improved seed is always being developed that’s more resistant to drought, insects, disease or has other impressive qualities.
  • There's really no better time to seed than right after aeration. All those little holes are the perfect receptacles for seed to soil contact. Might as well take advantage of it. 

6. Why Can’t I Use Seed from the Store? Isn’t all grass seed pretty much the same? What’s the difference?

  • You can. But will you know you’re getting the right kind, designed for the conditions of your yard? And will you actually know what you’re getting? Bargain seed from the big box store often has weed seed mixed in. Let the pros cover your lawn with high quality, premium grass seed that’s a good match for your exact conditions, provides great color and resists diseases.

7. What Kind of Results Will I See from Lawn Aerating and Seeding? 

  • First, be patient. This isn’t like “The Wizard of Oz” where you go to bed before aeration in black and white and wake up after to a world in color. Results take time. 

healthy lawn that has been aerated

  • You’ll start to see new grass sprouting in a few weeks, but you might not notice true results for a few months to a year. Keep in mind that even at a sod farm, it takes new grass seed 6-10 months to get to a point where sod can be harvested.
  • Eventually, you’ll notice thicker turf. And healthier turf that’s better at resisting diseases and won’t dry out as fast.

8. How Often Do I Need Aeration and Overseeding? Once a year? Every five years? How do I know?

  • It depends on the condition of your lawn, its soil, and grass species. Some lawns benefit from aeration every year. Some, every other year. Some lawns need aeration, but not seeding. If your lawn was sodded in the past few years or has certain grass species, it may need aeration every year. It’s really an individual situation. We’re happy to take a look and tell you if your lawn could benefit. And, we’ll tell you if it won’t.

9. How Should I Water After Aeration and Overseeding? Is the schedule different than what I usually do?

  • You should actually water the opposite of how you’d normally water. Newly-seeded lawn needs frequent watering for short periods of time vs. the less frequent and deeper watering established lawns require. Plan to water 3-4 times a day for about 10 minutes at a time. Your goal is to keep the new seed moist, but not soaking wet.

healthy lawn with irrigation

  • If we have access to your irrigation controller, we’ll set it to the right times for you. No extra charge.

10. Can’t I Do Lawn Aeration Myself? Why hire a pro? How hard could it be? 

  • Sure, you can do it yourself. But think twice. For one thing, you’ll have to rent the aerator. Do you have a trailer? And lots of muscles? These beasts weigh 300-400 pounds.
  • These machines rattle every bone in your body as you wrestle them across the lawn, lifting and lurching as they create the holes. Plan to spend most of the day, if you have a big yard. And don’t plan much the next day, either. It’ll really hurt to move.
  • If you damage any irrigation components, repairs can be expensive. If we aerate your lawn and damage a sprinkler head, we’ll fix any repairs at no charge.
  • Or, let the pros do it. We’re used to these monsters, and we can follow up with high quality grass seed perfectly matched to your yard’s conditions.

Trust Your Lawn Aeration and Overseeding to RainMaster 

Okay, so you probably can’t hear your lawn gasping for air, but if it’s compacted, it probably is.

But you have better things to do than worry about your lawn. 

RainMaster lawn technician aerating lawn

Consider it a team effort. Aeration and seeding is just one part of a custom nutrition plan for your lawn, so the roots will be nourished, the soil packed with nutrients, and your grass thick and healthy.

You just make sure your lawn gets mowed properly and enjoy your life. Sound like a good plan?

Are you ready to help your lawn’s roots breathe again? Request a quote today! We’ll review your options together so you can make a great choice. Then, you can finally enjoy your lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Topics: Lawn Care

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