How to Plug Your Lawn

The idea of “plugging” often puts many homeowners who prefer to do small landscape jobs around the house themselves off, especially if they have never done it before. This is unfortunate because plugging is quite easy and does not require a lot of specialized equipment or experience to do. While it involves some time and labor on your part, the results from plugging will be worthwhile.

Plugging your lawn can be tricky, and you need to do it with care. The key to successfully plugging a lawn is to get it done right. For anyone who’s not sure how to go about the process, you’ll learn what tools you’ll need and how to use them effectively in this blog.

What does “plugging a lawn” mean?

A plug is a small section of soil with grass growing on it. Plugs can be removed and replanted in other areas to fill in bare spots or to grow an entirely new lawn. How many plugs you need depends on the size of your yard, but usually, two bundles will cover 1000 square feet (92m²).

What tools do you need to plug a lawn?

  • Spade
  • Lawnmower
  • Plugging spade or fork
  • Bucket
  • Grass plugs
  • Garden hose (with a nozzle)


Step-by-step process of plugging a lawn

Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to get started. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Determine the type of soil and grass seed you want to use for your lawn.
  2. Determine how many holes you want to plug on your lawn.
  3. Make sure that your lawn is clean before you start to plug it.
  4. Water the area thoroughly for two days before plugging. The soil should be soft and moist, allowing the plugs to easily come out of the ground.
  5. Decide on the area you want to plug. Try to find an area with good soil drainage and enough sunlight.
  6. Mark off the boundaries of your work area with stakes or flags. This will help keep you organized as you work.
  7. Remove any debris that may have been pulled up from the ground during aeration (e.g., rocks, twigs).
  8. Cover up the hole with soil or compost.
  9. Spread fertilizer around your lawn at a rate of about one pound per 1000 square feet (92m²) or less if you are using an organic product like compost tea.
  10. Mow over the holes so that they blend in with the rest of the lawn.
  11. Water your lawn thoroughly, but do not overwater it. Water the area every morning using a sprinkler or hose for about an hour until well established, or for about 2 weeks.


Benefits of plugging your lawn

  1. Plugging your lawn is a good way of providing a quick fix to areas where the grass is damaged or worn. The idea is to ‘plug’ or replace large areas of damaged grass with fresh soil, so that grass can recover quickly.
  2. Plugging will not only improve your lawn’s appearance but will also help you preserve existing and future grass growth.
  3. Plugs are cheaper than sod.
  4. You can plant them at any time of the year.
  5. They have extensive root systems, which help with water absorption and keep your grass healthy.


Factors to consider before plugging your lawn

The effectiveness of your plug depends on many factors. To determine which method is best for your situation, you need to take some factors into consideration. They include:

What is the topography of your lawn?

The topography of your lawn has a significant effect on how well plugs work. Steeper inclines make it hard for the plugs to take root and keep their shape, while flatter areas are more conducive to germination.

Size of your lawn

You also need to consider how big your lawn is. If your lawn is small, it will be easier to replant the plugs by hand. If your lawn is large, you may want to use a machine or hire someone to help you with the job.

What kind of soil do you have?

The type of soil can also affect how successful your plugging will be. Clay soils will be hard to plant plugs in, while sandy soils will allow the roots of your grass to spread out quickly.

How much time can you afford?

Plugs take a long time to grow and fill up a lawn effectively. How much time do you have before you need to use your lawn? If it is urgent, then plugging your lawn may not be the best option. You do not want to end up with a half-planted yard because of lack of time.

Is there any shade on your lawn?

Shade slows down the growth of plugs, so if you have a lot of shade in your yard, it might take longer for you to see results. How much sunlight does your yard get? How many trees are around the area that will be plugged?


How much money are you willing to spend on supplies and equipment needed for thatching and aerating your lawn? If it’s too expensive, there are other alternatives such as overseeding or topdressing.  We’ve also found some of the best lawn aerators.

When is the best time to plug a lawn?

The ideal time to plant grass plugs varies by region, so check with your local extension office first before starting this project if you live outside our area. Planting seasons typically fall during the late summer months through early spring when temperatures are cooler and moisture levels remain steady. 

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if my lawn needs plugging?

If your lawn has bald spots or thinning areas, then it likely needs plugging. You can also test the soil by digging down about six inches and seeing if the soil is compacted. If it is, then that may also be a sign that your lawn needs plugging.

Does plugging a lawn help?

Yes, plugging a lawn can help improve the health and appearance of your lawn. It is an easy way to repair bare or thin patches on your lawn.

Is it better to plug or aerate your lawn?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some people prefer to plug their lawns because it is a more intensive process and can help improve the health of the lawn. Others prefer to aerate their lawn because it is less invasive and can be done on a yearly basis. Ultimately, you should decide what works best for your own lawn.

What type of grass do I need for plugging?

You can use any type of grass for plugging, but it is best to use a species that is native to your region. This will help ensure that the grass will be able to survive in your climate.

Can I plug my lawn in the fall?

Yes, you can plug your lawn in the fall. In fact, it may be a better time to do it because the cooler temperatures will help the new grasses get established faster.

How do I prepare the soil for plugging?

The best way to prepare the soil for plugging is to remove any debris and then loosen the soil with a rake or tiller. You should also add some compost or manure to help improve the fertility of the soil.

What type of fertilizer should I use after plugging my lawn?

You should use a slow-release fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Be sure to follow the directions on the package so that you don’t overfertilize your lawn.

Should I mow the lawn before aerating?

It is best to mow your lawn before aerating it. This will help remove any debris from the surface of the soil and make the aeration process more effective.

When can I expect to see results from plugging my lawn?

You should start to see results from plugging your lawn within a few weeks. The new grasses will grow slowly at first, but they will eventually fill in the bald spots or thinning areas.


Plugging your lawn is a great way to prepare it for the many types of landscaping you’re looking to achieve. However, plugging your lawn won’t be effective if you don’t follow these steps correctly. If you wish to see lasting results, we recommend that you follow this guide closely for the best results.