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Is Rain Good Or Bad After Aerating Lawn?

Is Rain Good Or Bad After Aerating Lawn_

There are a few basic things that you need to do to keep your lawn in robust, picture-perfect shape – staples such as watering, mowing, pest control and weeding. But at the core of lawn upkeep is aeration. In the simplest sense, lawn aeration is the process of poking holes into a lawn to allow the soil and roots underneath it to “breathe” and take in all the nutrients it needs. However, lawn aeration is often a confusing subject, with lots of different factors influencing how successful your aeration routine will be.

One important factor that a good gardener always considers is rain. After all, too little or too much rain can undermine all the hard work you’ve put into your lawn, especially when it comes to aeration. Mild to moderate rainfall before, during or after aeration won’t impact its effectiveness, but heavy or torrential downpours that cause excessive flooding can be damaging.

Whether rainfall will sabotage your lawn care efforts can also depend on a number of factors such as soil conditions, climate and the variety of turf you have in your garden. It may sound complex, but if you can learn to master these essential lawn care techniques, you may save hundreds of dollars in professional maintenance fees.

In this article, we’ve rounded up crucial information needed to ensure that you have everything you need to know about aerating your lawn, especially during rainy weather. Read on to learn the ins and outs of lawn aeration, and all the variables that determine whether you can aerate your lawn before or after rain.



What Is The Purpose Of Lawn Aeration?

There are many important functions that aeration achieves, all of which contribute to a full and healthy lawn. By breaking up the otherwise compacted dirt and thatch layer, aeration:  

  • Loosens soil and breaks up soil compaction, helping grass absorb fertiliser, water, and other nutrients more effectively. Lawn aeration allows these vital liquids to reach grass roots more easily, therefore increasing uptake.
  • Provides ventilation essential to healthy grass and healthy soil. Increased oxygen encourages the development of microorganisms that help prevent root stress and thatch dehydration.

Needless to say, when lawns are aerated properly, grass roots are encouraged to grow deep and strong. Without it, the soil underneath it may become compacted – and even the slightest compaction will limit its growth.

If dehydrated, your lawn is guaranteed to lose its vibrant, healthy, green colour. Eventually, the grass itself will thin out and die. A single, properly executed aeration session can do wonders to rejuvenate an unhealthy, dying lawn.

What Are The 3 Types of Lawn Aeration?

  1. Core Aeration – the most common type of lawn aeration. This particular aeration method uses 5cm to 8cm cores which are plugged into the ground and then removed every 8-10cm or so. The plugs of soil which are removed are then spread across the surface of the lawn. Core aeration is recommended for heavily compacted lawns because this method not only breaks up compacted soil, it also redistributes it.
  2. Spike Aeration – involves using a spike to poke holes into the lawn. The basic idea of spike aeration is that it pushes the dirt further into the ground without removing any of the soil. It is a less popular way to aerate lawns, but it is recommended if you’d like to create better root system access before fertilising. Spike aeration is also great if you’re getting your lawn ready for overseeding.
  3. Liquid Aeration – a newer, more innovative way to aerate lawns, the liquid aeration process involves the creation of microscopic pores in the soil. A special liquid formula is injected by a pressurised machine, and these pores then act like sponges that absorb and retain water. This way, water flow is improved and the liquid can permeate the entirety of the soil, rather than every few inches as core or spike aeration does.

What’s the best type of lawn aeration for your lawn?

Unless you’re an experienced lawn care expert, gardener, horticulturist or agriculturist, then it can be good to consult an expert before deciding on which type of lawn aeration to go with.

Remember that lawns with high foot traffic will generally need different kinds of maintenance compared with low-traffic lawns. In fact, low-traffic lawns may not need aeration at all. Factors such as the size of your lawn, your location, the general climate and topography of your area must be taken into consideration when considering your aeration options.

There are many lawn care services that offer free estimates and consultations. Once you have the right information, you can then take on the lawn aerating process yourself. There are also many expert resources available online. However, if budget isn’t an issue, you can definitely seek the services of a lawn care provider.


Can I aerate the lawn after rain?

Yes, you can definitely aerate your lawn after it rains. However, if we’re talking heavy, continuous rain then it is recommended that you wait a day or two to let the water drain away. A lawn that’s too moist is simply more difficult to aerate.

A good rule of thumb is to wait a full day after it rains an excess of 1.5cm. Anything less than that  (e.g. after a light shower or moderate rain) should be fine as long as your lawn is not excessively moist or flooded.

You should also consider the following:

  • Soil conditions – is the soil in your garden heavy, clay-like and prone to retaining moisture? Or is it the opposite; dry and doesn’t hold moisture very well? Knowing the conditions and characteristics of your soil will help you determine how long you should wait for your lawn to dry out after it rains. Too-moist or too-wet soil is difficult to aerate, while soil that is too dry can be a nightmare to break up effectively.
  • Upcoming weather conditions – aerating your lawn opens it up, so if you have a dry spell coming in, make sure you aerate well before the dry season. Aerating your lawn immediately before dry or hot weather may cause the soil to dry up and the grass to eventually wither.
  • Grass variety – some varieties of grass are strong, hardy and capable of growing almost anywhere, regardless of weather conditions. The Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo Grass is one such example, making it incredibly popular in Australian climates. Some grass varieties perform better through the warmer seasons while some are better suited to autumn and winter. Some turf varieties are best for sports ovals or for parks and playgrounds while some are better for homes and low-traffic landscaping. Knowing the variety of grass growing on your lawn will help you  understand how it reacts to rain and the kind of upkeep it needs.

Can I aerate the lawn in the rain?

The quick answer is – sure you can! But this is only recommended during light to moderate showers. A good, balanced amount of moisture actually makes it easier to penetrate heavy or severely compacted soil, especially if you are using roller-style aerators.

If it’s particularly heavy rainfall, then it’s generally a bad time to aerate your lawn. Firstly, there’s the question of safety: wet grass can be slippery and dangerous. In addition, it’s best to wait a full day (sometimes even 2 full days) after extensive rain to aerate, giving the moisture a chance to drain away. Soil that is too moist (or too dry) is difficult to aerate and there’s a chance your lawn will be damaged in the process.

Is heavy rain good or bad after aeration?

Your freshly aerated lawn will usually not be greatly affected by a day or two of heavy rain. The holes created by aeration will generally not cause problems, since the thick, deep and matted root system of common grasses effectively absorbs water and will hold the soil in place. In a few months’ time, the holes created by aerating will gradually fill in by themselves.

Together with proper lawn care, heavy rain can actually benefit your lawn after it’s been aerated, and aerating can help improve lawns with poor drainage. 

However, torrential rains and flooding may potentially cause damage so soon after aeration, including:

  •       Root damage
  •       Loss of nutrients
  •       Weed growth

If your lawn has been flooded and there are some serious signs of water damage, then this may need to be assessed by an expert lawn care provider to bring it back to its former health and vitality.

How To Water Lawn After Aeration

The first few weeks after aeration is crucial to your lawn’s overall health. This is especially true if you’ve also overseeded your lawn after aerating. Recommended lawn care activities immediately after aeration include fertilising, checking pH levels and, most importantly, proper watering. Ensuring you have proper irrigation sprinkler products is essential to maintaining a healthy lawn.

Here are some tips on how to water your lawn properly after aeration, from the first week to the next nine months.

Week 1 to Week 2

In the first two weeks following aeration, the goal is to keep the soil moist and healthy. If you’ve also overseeded your lawn, proper watering will allow the grass seeds to germinate.

For optimum results, water each part of your lawn throughout the week for about 20 minutes, at least once a day. Watering depth should be about 0.6cm.  

In these first couple of weeks after aeration, take special care that you do not over-water your lawn. Overwatering may cause grass roots to wither and lose precious nutrients, and may cause seeds to wash away before they get the chance to germinate.

To make sure you don’t overwater, you can test for water depth within a given time frame with a simple sprinkler test:

Set an empty can on the ground, turn on your sprinkler and allow it to fill the can. Time it for about 15 minutes and measure how much water is in the can. You can then determine how much time you need to get about 0.6cm of water. Make sure you choose the right sprinkler for your lawn irrigation.

The best times to water your lawn are early in the morning or later in the evening, just before it gets dark. Experts never recommend watering at night or during the day when it’s too hot. If it rains during the week, then there may be no need to water your lawn in addition to the rainfall.

Week 3 to Week 4

At this stage, decrease your watering to about 3 to 4 days throughout the week, with about 1.3cm to 2.5cm of water. This ensures that the soil in your lawn is still moist but not too wet or soggy.

You can also start to mow your lawn during this time. Check to see that the grass is about 10cm in height. Set your lawnmower to the highest level for quick, precise mowing. Your grass should not be mowed yet if it is any shorter than 10cm.

Week 4 to Week 5

At this stage, you should be watering your lawn less frequently but with more water. It’s recommended for you to soak the soil for deep moisture, at about 5cm to 7.5cm. This encourages strong, healthy root growth. To achieve this deep watering, run your sprinkler for about 45 – 60 minutes on all sides of your lawn, on at least 3 days throughout the week.

Again, consider the weather. If it rains on a particular day and your lawn is getting the right amount of water, then there should be no need for watering.

Week 5 to 9 Months

From the fifth week to up to a year after aeration, water your lawn regularly and ensure it is getting about 5cm of water for each watering session. It’s recommended that you water your lawn around once or twice per week, depending on the weather and season.

Regular watering means ensuring the roots are growing strong and thick. Remember that you also need to ensure you care for your lawn by mowing, weeding, fertilising and other lawn care practice throughout the year. Watering frequencies will also vary depending on the grass variety and weather conditions. Consider all factors carefully, adjust your techniques if your grass looks unhealthy and consult an expert should it be required.


Related Questions:

What is the best lawn fertiliser to use after aeration?

Your aerated lawn will benefit greatly from fertilisation as soon as 48 hours afterwards. Experts recommend applying a starter fertiliser that is compatible with your specific grass variety and growing conditions. If you have overseeded your lawn, choose a starter fertiliser that does not contain weed control, otherwise your grass seed will not germinate properly.

Should I seed right after aerating?

Yes, you should! After aeration, your lawn is ripe for seeding, fertilising and watering. If applied about just 48 hours after aeration, the seeds, fertiliser and water have the best chance for deep absorption as aeration holes are still fresh and remain open.

When should I aerate kikuyu turf?

As a warm season grass, kikuyu grass should be aerated during the growing season in spring and summer. This allows the grass to regrow and fill the holes from aeration. To help your grass recover after aeration, follow similar guidelines to watering new kikuyu turf and ensure the lawn stays moist.


This article is published for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website is strictly at your own risk. Always ensure you have the right qualifications and certifications to carry out DIY work and never put your safety at risk. Hills Irrigation recommends consulting a professional for all electrical and plumbing work.