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How to Plant Seeds and Aerate a Lawn

Aerating your lawn has a long list of benefits and is crucial to any kind of lawn restoration. It is also helpful prior to planting grass seed. Lawn aeration helps grass to root deeply into the soil, allows oxygen and water to reach the grass roots better, and helps compost and fertilizer to penetrate down to the grass roots. Aeration generally makes a lawn healthier. If you have a brown, diseased or otherwise unsightly lawn, aerating and seeding may cure your problems.

Aerating Techniques for Your Lawn

Aerate your lawn no more than once per year, in the autumn. Make sure the soil was moistened thoroughly the day before you aerate, either by rainfall or by watering the lawn with a sprinkler or hose.

Make an initial pass over the lawn with the aerator, and then make a second pass in the opposite direction. Break up all the soil plugs using a rake.

Rake into the holes some compost mixed with the broken-up soil plugs. You can seed your lawn right after aerating.

Plant Your Grass Seed

Prepare the lawn further after aerating by tilling the topsoil with a stone rake. Apply a starter fertilizer to the soil.

Sow the grass seeds by hand or use a seed spreader or slit seeder. Apply the seed to the edges of the prepared area first. Apply half of the rest of your grass seed walking in one direction, and then spread the other half walking in a perpendicular direction.

Rake the seeds gently into the soil using a leaf rake. Add extra seeds to bare spots, and then cover the seeded area lightly with a combination of topsoil and compost. Top off your lawn with more grass seed.

Press down the seeded area using a roller, which will encourage seed germination with good seed-to-soil contact.

Water the lawn two to three times every day for the first three to four weeks. Apply the starter fertilizer once again after the first two to three weeks. The grass will fully sprout in four to eight weeks.


Be sure to use an aerator that doesn’t just poke holes in your lawn. Use an aerator that cuts and removes a plug of sod from the lawn.

To save money, rent an aerator from your local garden or home improvement store instead of purchasing one.


Don’t use a chemical weed-killer on your newly-seeded lawn, even if you have a bad weed problem. You’ll need to pull the weeds by hand instead, because the weed-killer will also kill your new grass.

Avoid aerating your lawn during the dry summer months. This will stress your lawn and harm your grass. Also, avoid planting grass seed during times when your area receives heavy rain. You don’t want your seeds to wash away.

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