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Smallaxe
08-26-2012, 08:40 AM
Is it worthwhile for full maintenance LCOs to pay attention to the plugs that come out of the lawns during aeration?
Has anyone observed anything that was useful in advising a client?

I know there are a lot of hacks out there that do aerations for the money w/out consideration if it is necessary or even desireable... I'm not talking about them...

I curious what real professional lawn care individuals are learning about the clients lawn as they are running the aerators this season...
I personally look at root mass and soil tilth in those plugs, which indicates that certain areas are more in need of topdressing than others...

RigglePLC
08-26-2012, 11:09 AM
A thorough soaking in water should reveal how deep the roots are going. Wash off the soil. And it would probably reveal density of the roots, and perhaps the fatness of the roots.

turfcobob
08-26-2012, 12:18 PM
Is it worthwhile for full maintenance LCOs to pay attention to the plugs that come out of the lawns during aeration?
Has anyone observed anything that was useful in advising a client?

I know there are a lot of hacks out there that do aerations for the money w/out consideration if it is necessary or even desireable... I'm not talking about them...

I curious what real professional lawn care individuals are learning about the clients lawn as they are running the aerators this season...
I personally look at root mass and soil tilth in those plugs, which indicates that certain areas are more in need of topdressing than others...

You should also be looking at the Thatch thickness across the lawn. This is the best opportunity to observe one of the biggest problems in lawns. Keep in mind that more than a half inch is a problem..

Exact Rototilling
08-26-2012, 06:02 PM
You should also be looking at the Thatch thickness across the lawn. This is the best opportunity to observe one of the biggest problems in lawns. Keep in mind that more than a half inch is a problem..
Correct bingo....I don't even start an aeration these days unless I pull test plugs from my modified step aerator in different areas of the lawn. It shows the client exactly what is going on and then we discuss it from there.

The public typically has all sort of ideas stuck in their heads re: aeration that correcting disinformation and half truths is much of the battle in marketing it.

If a lawn doesn't need it....I won't sell it.
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Smallaxe
08-26-2012, 07:08 PM
Aother thing I notice is that some plugs don't even have the rich dark color in some areas... I'd like to be able to convince the client that some SOM needs to be gotten back into the soil, before we are back to strickly a mineral soil, with no CE sites for nutrient holding...

Duekster
08-26-2012, 07:30 PM
Aother thing I notice is that some plugs don't even have the rich dark color in some areas... I'd like to be able to convince the client that some SOM needs to be gotten back into the soil, before we are back to strickly a mineral soil, with no CE sites for nutrient holding...

After a while the turf should be self substaining the SOM.

Smallaxe
08-27-2012, 08:05 AM
After a while the turf should be self substaining the SOM.

Bagging, too much water, and too much fertilizer eventually reverts soils back to what they were b4 OM was mixed in...
Other lawns are as you say,,, SOM seems to be adequate and may even be on the increase, if there is an earthworm population...

Smallaxe
08-27-2012, 08:28 AM
Correct bingo....I don't even start an aeration these days unless I pull test plugs from my modified step aerator in different areas of the lawn. It shows the client exactly what is going on and then we discuss it from there.

The public typically has all sort of ideas stuck in their heads re: aeration that correcting disinformation and half truths is much of the battle in marketing it.

If a lawn doesn't need it....I won't sell it.
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There are only 3 reasons to aerate, and I'll tell the client that it isn't needed, if it isn't needed, and I'll suggest it if it is needed...

The thing that I enjoy most about the process is looking below the surface and showing the client what they are not thinking about throughout the season... :)

Duekster
08-27-2012, 08:32 AM
I respectfully will disagree. Aeration while benificial and can help compaction will reduce the OM more than the activities you mentioned. In the long run aeration should help because the turf will grow more root mass

Smallaxe
08-27-2012, 08:58 AM
Never thought of aeration in terms of how it relates to SOM depletion/creation... that might be a topic for another thread...
Right now I was just pondering what do we see in the plugs that give us ideas about what is going on with the clients' lawns... :)

Duekster
08-27-2012, 09:10 AM
Never thought of aeration in terms of how it relates to SOM depletion/creation... that might be a topic for another thread...
Right now I was just pondering what do we see in the plugs that give us ideas about what is going on with the clients' lawns... :)

It is a good time to pick up some plugs, clean off the turf and roots and send them to the lab.

Smallaxe
08-27-2012, 09:45 AM
Another interesting thread to do, would be what the lab tells us about, soil tilth... but again, I was just curious if anyone is able to discern anything at all, by looking at a various collection of plugs all over the ground... even a note of soil texture is better than nothing... structure, is pretty easy to spot and explain to the client...

Anyone??? :)

RigglePLC
08-27-2012, 03:17 PM
I will take a second look. Scotts treated a neighbor near me Monday. Aeration--but it didn't go too deep, and the holes were about 6 inches apart. Then he treated with fertilizer using what was perhaps an inexpensive blend. I could see no sign of yellow sulfur-coated urea. He used a Turfco T-3000, loaded it onto a back shelf carrier and took off leaving the motor on the T-3000 running as he drove off. Lawn was small--about 5000 sqft. Swath was about 10 feet. I could smell no herbicide. I didn't see any crabgrass in the lawn.
Soil in my neighborhood is sandy, I will look for additional info from the core.

Smallaxe
08-28-2012, 09:28 AM
It would be interesting to see how much root he had in the sandy soil in comparison to the amount of living thatch he has at the surface...

RigglePLC
08-29-2012, 12:51 PM
I took a couple cores from near the road, where Scotts recently aerated. Sandy soil, somehat dry, cores were about 1 inch deep. I washed off the soil, and there wasn't much left. Top 3 short cores not washed. Second row of three below, after washing in water.
I also took a ddep core with a soil probe from my own thick and irrigated lawn, sandy soil. But the roots seemed very fine and sparse below about 3 inches. The roots would not hold the core together most of the time. The core could not usually be lifted without breaking apart, below 3 inches. My lawn is blue, fescue and rye.

I checked my neighbor's bad lawn which had a few tall fescue clumps--and got essentially the same result--no sign of deep roots from the fescue.

Smallaxe
08-29-2012, 05:53 PM
It's hard to tell from the picture, but it seems that those 1" plugs are mostly living thatch, and w/out any plugs deep enough to see if there are any roots beyond that, we don't really know much beyond that...

Your plug looks like lots of activity right at the surface, but doesn't seem to be the compacted living thatch... 3" of root after this summer, in sand, is really not bad at all, is it?...
It would be interesting to see what your plugs look like by Halloween... :)

Exact Rototilling
08-30-2012, 01:28 AM
Riggle, Is the neighbor on in ground irrigation? How frequently do they water?
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greendoctor
08-30-2012, 01:59 AM
I respectfully will disagree. Aeration while benificial and can help compaction will reduce the OM more than the activities you mentioned. In the long run aeration should help because the turf will grow more root mass

Aeration in lawns can be like tillage in AG crops. I do suggest it to knock down excessive OM in soil if the client has the funds to do it.

Smallaxe
08-30-2012, 09:19 AM
Aeration in lawns can be like tillage in AG crops. I do suggest it to knock down excessive OM in soil if the client has the funds to do it.

Never heard of excessive OM in the soil of a lawn... is that a common issue in HI???

Exact Rototilling
08-30-2012, 12:14 PM
Okay...wouldn't excessive thatch due to high nitrogen fert and excessive watering.... count as organic matter.

What happens in my area is topsoil is stripped off during development of tract housing and very little.is.put.back. Many lawns are hydro seeded on.top of.gravely and sandy combo poor.soils. People resort to Heavy use.of.Scotts type products and over.water to get.a.hyper dark.green.lawn.
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Smallaxe
08-30-2012, 02:08 PM
Okay...wouldn't excessive thatch due to high nitrogen fert and excessive watering.... count as organic matter.

What happens in my area is topsoil is stripped off during development of tract housing and very little.is.put.back. Many lawns are hydro seeded on.top of.gravely and sandy combo poor.soils. People resort to Heavy use.of.Scotts type products and over.water to get.a.hyper dark.green.lawn.
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Well, technically, living thatch is not really part of the soil, in that it grows above the soil... and since it is made up completely of living and dead, roots and stem, one could say that living thatch is 100% organic matter...

I would still pull plugs 3" deep in the hopes that over time at least that much soil could support actual healthy root growth, by getting some OM into that gravel... we deal with areas of sand that I mulch mow, overseed, and add compost every Fall and it seems to help over time... even the lawns that won't pay for aeration, get the roots a little deeper... :)

RigglePLC
08-30-2012, 09:55 PM
I checked for deep roots on a neighbor's lawn which had a clump of tall fescue. Sandy soil. I did not find deep roots. The area gets the overspray from my irrigation. In actuality, the rest of his lawn is not irrigated.

kirk1701
08-31-2012, 12:47 AM
Is it best to leave the plugs on the lawn or pick them up?

I had a use for the soil so I was going to pick them up and dump into a low area where a tree used to be and the roots have rotted; hence created a low spot

Smallaxe
08-31-2012, 10:18 AM
In the sandy soils I have, I was able to find roots in the 3" plug, but they were not very thick... interestingly enough, the topsoil on the irrigated lawns, that were over-irrigated and over-fertilized also had roots in the 3" plugs that weren't very thick...
I've always plugged in the summer,,, so it will be interesting to see how the root mass looks at the end of the season... :)

I don't see that it would be a problem removing the plugs, if you wanted to...

Exact Rototilling
08-31-2012, 01:13 PM
Is it best to leave the plugs on the lawn or pick them up?

I had a use for the soil so I was going to pick them up and dump into a low area where a tree used to be and the roots have rotted; hence created a low spot

Ideally let the plugs stay there for the purpose of dirt/soil top dress over the top of the lawn for soil microbe vectorto help breakdown of undesirable thatch layer and/or to help seed soil.contact for over seeding.

For example this last.June I did a pseudo experimental over seed. 3-4 pass aeration with Plugr® 850 which would require 6-8 total passes with a rolling tine unit. Anyhow client had a thatch layer over 1"+ in some areas. I provided the seed even for $120 for a small area. Last steep was run my BOP Quickie 32 dually WB mower with Oregon ® G6 Gatorade blades to liberate the soil from the thatch plugs. Worked okay....
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kirk1701
08-31-2012, 03:01 PM
Thanks guys