View Full Version : Fall thatch and/or aerate

Acute Cut
08-23-2000, 09:32 PM
Ok all. Here is the deal. I bought a new thatcher and new aerator this week. I am ready for the fall $$$$ to come RUSHING in! (Well, i can dream cant i?)

What do i push? Thatching? Areating? Both?
What do i need to know about either for fall time? I am concerned that by thatching in the fall that it wont grow back and be bare all winter. I might lose customers that way. That would not be good. Well, maybe it would be good on the bad acounts. hehe.

I have thatched once in the spring and it came back fast and nice. But even bad mowing comes back fast and nice in the spring.

Thanks for your help on this.

Acute Cut

08-23-2000, 09:36 PM
I won't de-thatch. Its just too much of a mess to clean up. Aeration, now thats another story! I'll line up aeration jobs a week at a time and do them all on one day. If you aerate yearly you"ll reduce the need to de-thatch.

lawrence stone
08-23-2000, 10:02 PM
You sell a lawn renovation package.

1. Thatch removal
2. Aeration
3. Apply starter fertilizer
4. Test pH apply lime if needed
5. Overseed bare and thin areas (by hand)

Sell results but don't get to technical with a homeowner.

08-23-2000, 10:24 PM
i ussually put a starter fertilizer down after i aerate and seed but this year i wouldnt dare. Any more growth and ill have to cut my yards every 2 days!

Acute Cut
08-24-2000, 03:47 AM
but will it grow back to fill in all the bare spots created by thatching? I mean before winter starts up. Spring i know it will, but what about fall?

Acute Cut

08-24-2000, 07:48 AM
This is just me but I do all my thatching in the spring. You can do it with the renovation like Larry said above but I get much more by selling thatching in the spring, fertilizing during the year and now I'm starting to sell aeration for the fall.

I have found that the thatch is easier to pick up in the spring when the lawns are brown since there is less moisture content in the blades. I vacuum all my thatch up with the Walker and usually dump it on the curb or charge a lot more to haul it away.

It must be a area thing but no one thatch in the fall here. Check around with guys in your area and see if they are thatching. Good Luck.

08-24-2000, 08:23 AM
mow ed,

I have found the same in my neck of the woods. Most people and most landscapers prefer thatching in the spring. Usualy I try to push it in the fall (less competition from weeds for the new seed and no chance of crabgrass). This year with all the rain we have had in the east, there is very little renovation work, so I am pushing the aeration, as long as the thatch buildup isn't great.

Does anybody lower their cut before aeration and seeding and skip a week for the seed to set, or carry on as normal?
It's funny, but some customers will complain that they will want it cut shorter all the time if I do it once, and others will complain that I sucked up all the seed that I just put down !


SJR Lawncare
08-24-2000, 09:52 PM
Im In Maryland, & heres what I do in September:
1. Cut lawn short
2. De-thatch
3. Aerate
4. Spray lawn with Trimec plus broadleaf weed ctl.
5. Seed
6. Top coat with Compro or orogro

It may seem a little early to do this, but I need the new grass to set in before the leaves fall, because seed & baby grass dont take too kindly to a 250 mph blower during leaf removal.

SJR Lawncare

08-24-2000, 10:15 PM

Keep the weed killer out of your plan and you'll be OK, otherwise people might wonder why the seed isn't growing. Maybe you are spot spraying, so it probably hasn't affected you terribly, but be careful. We have better luck with Drive75, it is labeled for use on the newly seeded turf. New this year, we've been dabbling with a tow behind topdresser for some of the bigger areas. We spread about 50 yards over a football field last week, first we aerovated, then seeded, topdressed and dragged it. Its growing pretty well now.

Typically in the Fall we'll aerate, overseed, and topdress (lightly by hand if needed) for any of our accounts which need the service. We end up doing the renovation work mostly on non-regular customers, as a one time deal, or for other companies who don't have the equipment. Most of our lawns get aerated once or twice per year as part of regular maintenance to begin with. And, yes, that Walker works great to pick up after thatching. We use the JRCO tine rake in the Spring on the Walker for a light thatching before Pre-emergent applications. This works well too.

SJR Lawncare
08-24-2000, 10:24 PM
Thanks SLS,

I do only spot spray the weeds. I'll check out the Drive75
for newly seeded lawns. Where do you get that? I do appreciate the advice, I'm always learning.

SJR Lawncare

08-24-2000, 10:43 PM
I bought Drive 75 at Lesco for the first time 2 weeks ago at Lesco. First application results: AWESOME, it wastes Crabgrass in less than 2 weeks. It is labled for other weeds such as clover, black medic, and dandelions, but I will continue to use Momentum on these weeds because of cost. Also it can be used and then you can overseed the same day. Great product, now I don't know what to use the Acclaim for except for a Poa suppresant.

10-18-2000, 08:28 PM
acute cut: i was going over some old posts .how did you make out thatching and or aerating?

10-18-2000, 08:53 PM
Acute, beware of advice on late fall aeration from people who are not in Puget Sound! It's been raining, yes,you can get seed to crack in well light areas,the ground is way wet after yesterdays rain, an aerator will rut out.I would hydroseed, but not aerate grass is going dormant.

Acute Cut
10-18-2000, 11:59 PM
I thatched once in the fall. I pushed mostly for spring thatching. It rained in the latter part of the operation. I wore my butt out raking wet grass. The torental downpour was miserable. The lady said i did a fine job thatching, but she was less than satisfied with how much grass was left afterwards. I had mowed the lawn three times afterward and there was VERY LITTLE grass left at all. I wanted to tell her off, but that would be bad customer relations so i kept my mouth shut and explained about the monsoon we had worked in. She hymed and hawed and basically said "whatever. How much do i owe you?"

Aeration: I did my uncles lawn about a month ago. He has been trying to get his lawn nice for the last ten years. After one aeration his lawn is the greenest and nicest on his whole street. (Street is about 10 miles long)

I am his favorite nephew now i think. (GRIN)
After seeing such a super outcome i began pushing it even more to my other customers. I aerated 6 lawns today with a rented Bluebyrd. I liked it alot. I did not run into many of the problems that i have heard on here though. Perhaps i was just lucky is all. Who knows.

I am going to put together a pamphlet for the next spring for all of my customers. I want to weed out the "just mow my lawn nice" and get more of the full service accounts. It is NOT about money. It is my work that people look at. they dont know that Mr. and Mrs. Jones only want the minimum. they only know that the lawn looks horrible and full of clover and dandelions.

I am taking the winter to learn as much as i can about lawncare as i can. I know about mowing. I know about edges and so forth. I need the meat of the business though. I need knowledge. And thanks to many great people (Via the "Learning Lawncare" post) I am on the right track.

My final opinion is this: Thatching is long and tiresome work. The mess and cleanup is hard. (I do NOT have a billy goat or any such machine)
Aeration is easy and has proved it's iron to me. I will push Twice a year aeration to every customer i have now. Thatching prices will go up and be less frequent i am sure.

Thanks for the follow-up Anthony. Powerreel, honestly i can admit that i know nothing of hydroseeding. Hopefully this year that will change.

Thanks for all the help guys
Acute Cut