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Smallaxe
11-09-2012, 09:01 AM
I'm not sure what many on this forum might mean when they say "a good lawn"... we see distance shots of high turf and think that it is 'a good lawn', but after mowing and looking straight down at the turf IS the true test of 'a good lawn'...

I have never seen a double pass aeration(or less) that doesn't produce the doll hair effect...therefore, I begin to wonder if doll hair is better than what was there and is considered 'a good lawn'...

When I chew up a bad piece of ground with an aerator, it is considered a renovation, not an overseeding... the ONLY reason I'm chewing up a particular area with an aerator instead of a tiller is becuz I'm aerating the lawn and a tiller is an extra project and a lot of money for such a small area... I can rake it smooth while sowing the seed, just as if it were tilled...

The main difference between this type of renovation and that of a tiller, is that the tiller would certainly be able to loosen the soil much deeper and more effectively have grass sprouting in every sq. in. of soil...

That is the main question of this post:
How do you get every sq. in. of exposed soil to sprout seed with an aerator??? I'm reffering to the sq. in. between the core holes... :)

Paradise Yard Service
11-09-2012, 03:10 PM
This was from same lawn in 'Overseeding Advice' thread. How do you like the shoe?

Maybe next year I will just rent a 'bluebird' turf rake/dethatcher instead of the weedwack scalp trick.

Also, I have to admit I hit it pretty hard with the annual rye...perhaps a little more than what some would.

jfoxtrot9
11-09-2012, 10:50 PM
smallaxe, you know by now that I am one of the guys that continue to state that aerating and over-seeding does improve a lawn. I also mean this from a couple of different perspectives.

I am going to go over board here so that I am sure that we have an understanding of one another!

First, I believe that annual aerating will improve a lawn that is being well cared for in the other aspects of lawn care by reducing thatch buildup (yes, REAL thatch, by definition) and by reducing compaction allowing new and healthy root growth and spread as well as open the soil to encourage nutrients to more easily reach the root zone. I have also seen lawns improve from this in just one season where it hadn't been done in years, prior. Again also considering that othert aspects of proper lawn care are being done (proper mowing, fertilizing...).

I have also experienced quick improvement of lawns by aerating and over-seeding. First, lawns that may be just a little thin in areas by this method. But also, including this year, rather large areas of lawn that were damaged heavily by heat/drought or bug damage. Most lawns that I aerate and over-seed is just a single pass or two, if requested, and over-seed with 3 lbs per 1000k of a 50/50 blue/rye mix (until mid Oct when I gradually shift to more rye). Second, lawns that may be more heavily damaged I may aerate the area 2, 3, 4 or more times depending on the area and seed at 4-5 lbs per 1000k.

When you go over an area where there is no grass or it is all dead anyway, 3 or 4 times, it chews the area up pretty well. It is almost like a mini tilling job. Just a few inches deep is the difference though. Plenty for new seed. You have holes, lots of chewed up soil and plugs that will be breaking down over the next couple of weeks. In the regular lawn or the thin lawn, you have the holes and plugs (again that will be breaking down over the next couple of weeks) of course.

I fully understand what you mean by "doll hair effect" and I will grant you that is exactly what you get at first. But if you will just be patient and watch, you will begin to see grass sprouting up in between where the holes are too. As the plugs break down the seed in those areas are now under a little soil and too have some opportunity to germinate as well. And because as you know we are all fertilizing our customers lawns, probably way more than they could ever really need, there is plenty of nutrients to encourage our new grass to root well and spread!

You seem to be a man with plenty of understanding and experience so I can only guess that you haven't really given a job like this the time to see results, used too little seed, no fert, bad time of year, I can only guess. As I just stated in another thread yesterday, God created grass to produce seed to just drop off right there with zero prepping of a seed bed and it has existed just fine for thousands of years.

I will also grant you that this isn't always the best method, especially a large area that needs completely re-done. But I will say again, that aerating and over-seeding is a quick, easy and fairly inexpensive way to quickly improve a lawn. Especially if you compare it to other much more labor intensive, which also means expensive methods.

Some of this, you have said in different words and we are in agreement as far as the difference between renovating and over-seeding. So maybe, we (myself included), need to watch how we use those words. They are not interchangeable of course.

So, to answer your question! You aerate and over-seed every year, relying on the holes and break down of plugs to repeatedly produce more healthy grass plants that will spread until every square inch of lawn is completely filled! :)

Then, you just aerate yearly to keep that nice thick lawn healthy with minimal thatch.

I know this. I love aerating and love what it does for lawns. I do alot of it.:waving:

grassmasterswilson
11-09-2012, 11:21 PM
This was from same lawn in 'Overseeding Advice' thread. How do you like the shoe?

Maybe next year I will just rent a 'bluebird' turf rake/dethatcher instead of the weedwack scalp trick.

Also, I have to admit I hit it pretty hard with the annual rye...perhaps a little more than what some would.

IMO seeding with annual rye and fescue are two different things. I see annual rye that will grow anywhere. The lawn doesn't even glaze to be aerated. I've also seen lawns that I double and triple passed with aerator and fescue wa. Still a doll hair look.

Aerating and seeding is something that everyone does here. I've never seen any company with a slot seeder. So I feel selling slot seeding would be twice the cost of aerating. I wih I could sell slit seeding cause it really does a ether job on our fescue lawns that are almost all dirt and weeds after a long summer
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Smallaxe
11-10-2012, 10:35 AM
smallaxe, you know by now that I am one of the guys that continue to state that aerating and over-seeding does improve a lawn. I also mean this from a couple of different perspectives.

I am going to go over board here so that I am sure that we have an understanding of one another!



When you go over an area where there is no grass or it is all dead anyway, 3 or 4 times, it chews the area up pretty well. It is almost like a mini tilling job. Just a few inches deep is the difference though. Plenty for new seed. You have holes, lots of chewed up soil and plugs that will be breaking down over the next couple of weeks. In the regular lawn or the thin lawn, you have the holes and plugs (again that will be breaking down over the next couple of weeks) of course.

I fully understand what you mean by "doll hair effect" and I will grant you that is exactly what you get at first. But if you will just be patient and watch, you will begin to see grass sprouting up in between where the holes are too. As the plugs break down the seed in those areas are now under a little soil and too have some opportunity to germinate as well. And because as you know we are all fertilizing our customers lawns, probably way more than they could ever really need, there is plenty of nutrients to encourage our new grass to root well and spread!

You seem to be a man with plenty of understanding and experience so I can only guess that you haven't really given a job like this the time to see results, used too little seed, no fert, bad time of year, I can only guess. As I just stated in another thread yesterday, God created grass to produce seed to just drop off right there with zero prepping of a seed bed and it has existed just fine for thousands of years.

I will also grant you that this isn't always the best method, especially a large area that needs completely re-done. But I will say again, that aerating and over-seeding is a quick, easy and fairly inexpensive way to quickly improve a lawn. Especially if you compare it to other much more labor intensive, which also means expensive methods.

Some of this, you have said in different words and we are in agreement as far as the difference between renovating and over-seeding. So maybe, we (myself included), need to watch how we use those words. They are not interchangeable of course.

So, to answer your question! You aerate and over-seed every year, relying on the holes and break down of plugs to repeatedly produce more healthy grass plants that will spread until every square inch of lawn is completely filled! :)

Then, you just aerate yearly to keep that nice thick lawn healthy with minimal thatch.

I know this. I love aerating and love what it does for lawns. I do alot of it.:waving:

With this new laptop I can't highlight certain sections of a paragraph, so I'll leave it as far as it has gotten...
Anyways we are in agreement over just about everything you've said, and when you acknowledged the dollhair effect getting less and less over years, then you've made my point exactly...

These constant photos telling the novice that aerating and overseeding accomplished this wonderful lawn, perpetuates the myth that aerating fills in a lawn wonderfully when in truth, you get the lame dollhair effect instead...

BTW, I'm sorry if anyone got the impression that I believe aerating isn't a good thing... I believe in aerating big time and it is one of the few machines I use in my forest lawns... I'm just irritated by the "Look ma,,, no dollhair!!!" insinuations... :)

Smallaxe
11-10-2012, 10:44 AM
IMO seeding with annual rye and fescue are two different things. I see annual rye that will grow anywhere. The lawn doesn't even glaze to be aerated. I've also seen lawns that I double and triple passed with aerator and fescue wa. Still a doll hair look.

Aerating and seeding is something that everyone does here. I've never seen any company with a slot seeder. So I feel selling slot seeding would be twice the cost of aerating. I wih I could sell slit seeding cause it really does a ether job on our fescue lawns that are almost all dirt and weeds after a long summer
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You are correct about AR, according with my experiences as well... I sometimes toss AR into trouble areas that have not taken by late Spring just because I want something there to keep down the dust throughout the mowing season... No prep no cover, just wait for the irrigation/rain to come on...

Your second point intrigues me somewhat... are you saying that amostly dead lawn is reseeded after aeration???
Also,,, Why would renting a seeder cost twice as much as renting an aerator???

Kiril
11-10-2012, 12:42 PM
Hmmmm, when I aerate and overseed I don't get the "doll hair" effect. Wonder why that is? Hmmmmmmm. :hammerhead:

dKoester
11-10-2012, 01:18 PM
I use LS spread fescue. Problem solved. It just fills in any spots. Plant a few seeds in the middle of a pot using soil from the site. Its amazing how fast those 7-8 seed fill the pot. Which leads to the question do you need that much seed for the lawn? * Proper watering, Fertilizer(organic) and compost applications create beautiful lawns.

grassman177
11-10-2012, 01:33 PM
If u aerate enough, and seed b4 and after, it fills in perfectly.........but buried troll dolls are all too common with single pass.
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Smallaxe
11-11-2012, 07:58 AM
It sounds like there is something that will have to have,,, before, during and after photos to demonstrate the magic touch...

Aeration is good for overgrown thatch,,, no real dirt exposed that needs to fill-in... when that gets aerated, there are no dollhair effects,,, because there's no reason to seed...

Maybe one of the nationally acclaimed gardening programs will do a bit of camera work on seeding lawns, overseeding lawns and when aeration becomes an asset... of course some know-it-alls will continue with their traditional mythologies and make unfounded claims with no logical reasoning behind it...
People are free to believe what they want, but w/out a reason and a sound explanation as to 'why', then it simply becomes blind faith...

Smallaxe
11-11-2012, 08:07 AM
I use LS spread fescue. Problem solved. It just fills in any spots. Plant a few seeds in the middle of a pot using soil from the site. Its amazing how fast those 7-8 seed fill the pot. Which leads to the question do you need that much seed for the lawn? * Proper watering, Fertilizer(organic) and compost applications create beautiful lawns.

Putting dirt into a pot loosens the soil immemnsely... it is 100% opposite of the hardpan surface between the core holes in the real lawn...

I find that when apples are compared to apples I learn things more indepth about apples... When I compare apples to oranges, I don't learn much about either...

If I use LS spread fescue will my problem be solved like yours???

Thanks everyone for the replies... :)

dKoester
11-11-2012, 02:19 PM
Are these hard pan lawns you are talking about being properly renovated? If your just aerating and putting down seed you aren't fixing the problem. Did you miss the last line of what I posted?

Smallaxe
11-12-2012, 08:47 AM
... * Proper watering, Fertilizer(organic) and compost applications create beautiful lawns.

No, we haven't ignored your last sentence... :)

Now we may figure out how we are able to get seed to grow between the core holes in regards to your last sentence...

If you have enough clay to need aeration at all, you will notice that bare spots in the turf, tends to form little puddles after a few minutes of rain... over time, those puddles actually grow algae, then eventually moss, if conditions are right... This is the most common scenario of all lawns I see in the areaand I'm sure that it is a common scenario for any soil , except the sandy textured soils, but any kind of loam(mixture) worth its salt will have these little puddles on the surface...

If by proper watering, you mean "never allow those puddles to dry", then I suppose you'd solve that problem... but how could you guarantee it??? set timer to 'gentle mist' every 2 hours???
In my experience, the only way to keep those dirt spots from puddling, was to fill them with grass plants...
Organic fertilizer won't prevent this occurance either,, and if you suggest,,, covering the seed with compost, then you're talking about a successful seeding event that has nothing to do with aeration at all...

I think the point that is getting lost is what constitutes a good seedbed and what would be considered less than perfect... its the 'less than perfect' thing that bothers me...
There are very good reasons to aerate, but it has its drawbacks when it comes to seeding...
Is that agreeable??? :)

Smallaxe
11-12-2012, 08:53 AM
It's too bad that there can't be a detailed discussion about what people are seeing in the field about their soils...

dKoester
11-12-2012, 03:56 PM
Smallaxe, I believe renovation is a must in hard pan scenarios. I believe it is a waste of time, money and resources otherwise.

grassmasterswilson
11-12-2012, 06:38 PM
You are correct about AR, according with my experiences as well... I sometimes toss AR into trouble areas that have not taken by late Spring just because I want something there to keep down the dust throughout the mowing season... No prep no cover, just wait for the irrigation/rain to come on...

Your second point intrigues me somewhat... are you saying that amostly dead lawn is reseeded after aeration???
Also,,, Why would renting a seeder cost twice as much as renting an aerator???

From what I've heard up here people are charging more for slit seeding than aerating/over seeding. I own an aerator but not a slit seeder. Is that right?
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dKoester
11-12-2012, 07:18 PM
Slit seeding is more. To clarify what I said up top, I was in a hurry, oops. Aeration and seeding without renovation to hardpan clay is a waste of resources, time and customer money. In most cases the grass will not do well during the heat. HOWEVER, if you have this yard year after year and compost it every season after aeration and seeding you will see greatly improved turf each year.

Smallaxe
11-13-2012, 09:27 AM
OK, we mixing the apples and oranges again... the term hardpan has caused some confusion and that is my fault... we are talking strictly about surface(because that is where seeding takes place) so may I modify the terminology to crust...
Most of the topsoils I work with are the most excellent blends/mixtures of clay, sand and OM(loam), so there is no real hardpan in the truest sense of the word... all of the descriptive terminology relating to the seedbed is strictly within the top 1/4" or so of the surface... so I think, crust, is definately a better word... sorry for the mistake...

These little puddled areas, that I mention earlier, that function as anti-seedbed bare dirt zones,,, is the focus of,,, comparing a hole from an aerator to the slicing the surface from a slit-seeder...

The slit seeder attempts to cover every sq.in. of ground, loosening the top 1/4" ofall the seedbed areas... That is quite acceptable, IMO...
A bare spot that is about the size of a large oak leaf is now crusted over... this crusted area can either have a 1/4" loosening over it or 1, even 2 large holes pounded through it...
Which creates the bed for more seed to find a nice beginning in???

dKoester
11-13-2012, 03:52 PM
Slit seeding.