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View Full Version : Why is the fall the best time to aerate?


KingOfCupCar20
09-16-2008, 02:34 PM
Title says it all, just trying to get an answer prepared since i have just sent out letters strongly recommending aeration and i know that i will be getting asked why exactly is fall the best time to aerate...I explained exactly what it does and how it will be bennificial but when someone asks me why is it better to do it now when winter is coming...what do i tell them? Thanks!

JDUtah
09-16-2008, 02:38 PM
Results in frost wedging during the winter which increases the reduction of soil compaction?

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-16-2008, 03:36 PM
Should also promote below the surface root development since fall is when energy goes back down to the roots. Turf pros, pls correct me if I am wrong....

Smallaxe
09-16-2008, 07:21 PM
Roots grow more in the fall because the soil is warm and the air is colder. Many plants actually canniblise the leaves for motile nutrients and send them to the roots for storage and/or root growth.
Typically fall is best because the overseeding is generally done along with aeration. Heavily compacted and over watered turf could easily benefit with an aeration in early summer as well.

jbturf
09-16-2008, 07:54 PM
i do some troubled lawns in the spring as well,
but there is very little weed competition in the fall,
and less issues with heat/drought stress conditions

Swampy
09-16-2008, 11:24 PM
Root growth I've had some luck using a fert with phosphorus as well. Also helps with soil compaction in traffic areas and thinning lawns, also more aerating in high traffic areas i.e. sports fields is needed.

ponyboy
09-17-2008, 10:44 PM
also if you aerate in spring you open up more aera for weeds to come through espically crab grass pre m really wont work as well on. i almost never aerate in spring we work on the weeds all season then in late summer early fall lawn renovate

Az Gardener
09-17-2008, 11:36 PM
Your'e all wrong :hammerhead: Aerating damages roots I mean destroys some roots. So just when the roots are beginning to store energy for the winter to provide that spring green up you count on. You go and rip plugs out of it :hammerhead: So now the grass not only has to green up in the spring but it has to repair the roots you damaged in the fall with fewer stored starches to do it with. There by weakening the grass.

Mid summer when the grass is actively growing is the best time to aerate and verticut as the turf will quickly repair itself.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-18-2008, 12:03 AM
Your'e all wrong :hammerhead: Aerating damages roots I mean destroys some roots. So just when the roots are beginning to store energy for the winter to provide that spring green up you count on. You go and rip plugs out of it :hammerhead: So now the grass not only has to green up in the spring but it has to repair the roots you damaged in the fall with fewer stored starches to do it with. There by weakening the grass.

Mid summer when the grass is actively growing is the best time to aerate and verticut as the turf will quickly repair itself.

Wow, try and tell this to all the guys on here doing late season aerations now.

Smallaxe
09-18-2008, 08:06 AM
Your'e all wrong :hammerhead: Aerating damages roots I mean destroys some roots. So just when the roots are beginning to store energy for the winter to provide that spring green up you count on. You go and rip plugs out of it :hammerhead: So now the grass not only has to green up in the spring but it has to repair the roots you damaged in the fall with fewer stored starches to do it with. There by weakening the grass.

Mid summer when the grass is actively growing is the best time to aerate and verticut as the turf will quickly repair itself.

Mid summer turf is barely able to survive let alone repair root damage. Besides turf is not one big plant.

Plugging is similar to thinning your carrots in the garden. The biggest danger is the perimeter of those holes drying out and killing the individual plants next to it.

That is why you do not plug in excessive heat and why it is a good idea to topdress with compost.

larryinalabama
09-18-2008, 08:27 AM
Fall is the best time because the grass still has a chance to recover, theres still 6to 8 weeks of growing here in Bama. Aeration does infact damage the grass, but it improves the soil allowing the grass in the long run to grow much better.

Az Gardener
09-18-2008, 08:28 AM
You guys aerate in the fall because its when you have time to do it. That is how it got started. You think I don't have heat issues aerating in the summer ;)When do golf courses aerate? Its not in the fall. I will try and find a link. I am parroting university info that I have heard for the last 20 years at horticultural conferences.

The industry does a lot of things not because it is right or the right time but rather because we are a profit driven industry. I cut Bermuda all day long in the summer at 3/4" Is that the most healthy thing for the turf? I don't think so. What about you all with the big rider mowers compacting the soil. Mowing when it is wet compacting it even further. Creating the condition you are treating for.

Lets face it you are not doing your best to keep the turf healthy you are trying to make a living. No fault in that, but face facts turf health is secondary to your bottom line.

larryinalabama
09-18-2008, 08:44 AM
AZ most of the homes here in the South east do not have irragation, therefore aerating in the summer would kill the grass. Sure we like money, but without healthy turf theres no living to be made

turfcobob
09-19-2008, 10:16 AM
Wow AZ Gardener did you ever miss that pitch. He is from MN not AZ and it is not southern grasses he is talking about. Aeration of cool season grasses works well in the late fall or early spring. ( and no spring aeration does not promote weed growth, annual weeds do not grow sideways to get to a hole to get by the pre-emerge barrier) Back to late fall. Removeal of the core in late fall promotes the movement of soil and water all winter with the freeze and thaw action ( not found in AZ) Plus the roots do some growing in the warmer days of fall and early spring. Now here is the kicker. The fall application of fert works down to the root zone all winter so it is there early in the spring. Most of a plants nutrient intake is done by the white growing roots that you will find in the holes and loose soil right where the food is come spring. Therefore you get a real jump start with the lawn in early spring. You can read up on this in writings done by the University of Nebrasa, Michigan, Ohio and other tufgrass departments.

topsites
09-19-2008, 10:26 AM
From what I recall, Arizona is smack in midst of a desert.
Yes sir, right along with a great portion of Utah, more than a few parts of Nevada, New Mexico, too.
Not sure what other states, Wyoming looks a bit raw as do some parts of Colorado.

But here we have ourselves watering curfews and certain irrigation practices, you see I live in some of
the most populated areas of the United States and we can not just dump water to our heart's content.
That's not to mention our cost per cc of water makes watering in 90-100 degree weather just slightly prohibitive.

So we can't, don't, and never try to imitate real rainfall with our irrigation systems, we don't have,
nor do we want, mid-western farm irrigation systems, our reservoirs are incapable of sustaining such
wasteful practices.

That you can grow grass in the middle of that heat does amaze, however, I prefer to do it
in a milder manner, thou if push comes to shove I can grow grass anytime, anywhere, too.
I just don't do it.

Now...
To answer the stupid question, we aerate in the fall because it's the best time of the year to do it :p

jeffinsgf
09-19-2008, 10:29 AM
AZ Gardener is trying to extrapolate the correct treatment of warm season turf in a non-freezing climate to the rest of the country ---- arrogantly, as well.

There are huge differences between how cool season and warm season grasses should be treated, and to come on here spouting off about how practices are done out of convenience rather than proper practice shows a rather serious lack of education.

EVM
09-21-2008, 07:15 PM
I like aerating in the spring, I see allot more natural spreading of rhizome this way. I live in Jersey. You could probably get good results from aerating irrigated lawns in late August but I would not try this on something that was not irrigated. Root growth in the winter is over rated.

BeautifulBlooms
09-21-2008, 08:20 PM
Spring aeration may also lead to more weed development because you are giving the weed seeds a place to germinate.

EVM
09-21-2008, 09:37 PM
Spring aeration may also lead to more weed development because you are giving the weed seeds a place to germinate.

Nope, just not true. Follow the aeration with a pre-m app, no problems. If there are weed seeds in late march early april, theyhave already germinated over the pat winter/last fall anyways. Just like chick weed, you see it in the spring because there was no pre-m app mid summer or fall.

rsp1961
09-22-2008, 09:25 AM
there sure are a lot of differing opinions. i have a lot to learn, but when i need information with this kind of thing, i go to the experts in my area. asking people nationwide, about how to treat something in a specific area is kind of like asking someone from texas the best way to tackle mowing a hill (no offense to anyone, just trying to make a point). even the experts differ on opinions. some will go so far as to state in what order to apply the seed/fert/lime after aerating. every opinion is valuable, but not every one is applicable. i personally do not like aerating at all, and do not make much money from it, and do not know enough about proper application to throw a dog into this fight, but i do know that in any similar situation, it helps to seek wise counsel locally. i am aerating this week, and am not looking forward to it, so i came on here to pick up any helpful hints before i get busy with it.

turfcobob
09-22-2008, 11:03 AM
Aeration can be one of your most profitable services and one of the best things you can do for the growing lawn. I would advise you to do a good job at least 12 holes per sq ft and use a coring unit. I would also advise to treat it as a profit center and not a extra good guy service. Aeration can do more for the lawn than a full application so sell it as another service. The past few years have seen dramatic improvements in the equipment needed also. Now there are Aerators out there that do not break your back and try to kill you in one day. Units that you can operate all day everyday just like mowing. I know companies that do nothing but aeration and make very good money at it so I know you can make good money at it. But if you are not going to sell the service and just treat it as a part time add on you cannot afford the good equipment so you may be better off sub contracting to those who specialize in aeration. But, again I will state that it can be very profitable if sold and handled correctly.

Grassmechanic
09-22-2008, 11:36 AM
I'll add just one more benefit to fall aeration: you are giving the turf 2 growing season to repair and recover - the remainder of the fall and the following spring. There is nothing really wrong about spring aeration either. Just keep in mind that the lawn may not be fully recovered by the time summer (and heat stress) rolls around. In the past, I've aerated every 6 weeks, but this was on a golf course.