Should I Pick Up Plugs After Aerating?

Aerating a lawn is extremely beneficial for promoting nutrient absorption and a healthy-looking lawn. However, you need to know how to get the most benefit to your grass from the process. One common question I often get asked is whether you should pick up the plugs after aerating. They can be an ugly sight for a lawn that you want to look as healthy as possible. So, should you pick up plugs after aerating?

Aeration can make your lawn look messy, but it is all part of the process of creating a healthy lawn. In most cases, you should not pick up plugs after aerating. If you absolutely cannot stand the temporary look of your lawn, the best option it to break up the plugs with a rake..


Read on to learn more about how aeration plugs affect the well-being of your yard. It is best to trust the aeration process instead of manipulating it just for visual appeal. If you leave the natural functions alone, your lawn will be healthier and look better in the long term. Even taking measures to spread out the plugs can lessen their ability to help your lawn.

How Are Aeration Plugs Good For Your Yard?

If you are reading this article, the chances are that you already have some idea of what aerating your lawn involves. If you do not, it is a simple process. Aerating involves a push machine with rotating tines. These tines are hollowed out, and when they enter the soil – digging 2-3 inches into the ground – they create hollow cylinders in the soil. So, do these clumps of dirt serve any purpose?

The soil picked up while aerating is simply deposited into the grass on your lawn. These clumps are referred to as plugs. With several plugs scattered around your yard, it makes sense that you might not be a fan of the way it looks. However, it is important to keep these plugs in your yard. Eventually, they will break up and disappear. As time goes on, the soil plugs will re-enter the ground as they build the strength of your lawn.

The reason you should leave plugs in your yard is that the soil dug up still contains nutrients with which your grass can use to grow. Just because you dug the soil up does not mean it cannot help you. Over time, the plugs will break apart themselves. As they break apart, their components nurture the grass. 

If you pick up the plugs, your grass may not have the sufficient amount of nutrients that it needs. If this happens, there would be no point in aerating your yard. It is best to leave the plugs in your yard after aerating and let them continue to take care of the grass. 

Should You Break The Plugs Up?

Maybe you do not want to completely pick up the plugs, but you would prefer if your lawn looked a bit better. 

Some people choose to manipulate the plugs ever so slightly to make their yard look more appealing. You can do this by breaking the plugs up with a rake. This will more evenly spread them about your yard and make them not look as lumpy as before.

If you just have to make your yard look better more quickly, you can break the plugs up with a rake. However, is it really that big of a deal if your yard has the plugs in it for a week or two? It is better to let the plugs work themselves out than take away nutrients.

If you trust the aeration process, waiting for the plugs to work themselves out will prove much better in the long run. You should not get in the way of natural lawn functions. Aeration is a great way to promote a healthy lawn, and if you try to do too much, the initial aeration process will not prove as successful as it could. So, no, in almost every situation, you should not even break up the plugs after aerating.


If you are able to bear the messy look of an aerated lawn for a week or two, it is best not to pick up the plugs after aerating. To see the best results possible, you should let the plugs sit out and dissolve into the soil by themselves. Yes, picking them up or raking them will initially make your yard more appealing, but in the long run, you are taking away key nutrients that your lawn’s soil needs. If you cannot stand to see the plugs on your yard, breaking them up with a rake is your best option.

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