PDA

View Full Version : Aerating lawns


Shuter
03-27-2003, 12:25 PM
When I aerate lawns I go over the lawns with starter fertilizer and grass seed. Does anyone els do the same?? Sometimes I only use regular fertilizer if it is a very full and thick lawn. What do you guys do when it comes to aerating??

grshppr
03-27-2003, 11:26 PM
We do most of our aerating in the spring, and just use a high quality granular fert. 25-4-10. It works great for us in this area.

Shannon Phillips
03-28-2003, 04:03 PM
The Same

Organic-man
03-29-2003, 04:21 PM
I will not be advocating aerating at all. I am in favor of using organic fertilizers that boost the respiration rate of the soil by encouraging biological microorganisms to multiply. They will take care of the aeration no problem. You will NOT have to add costly corrective procedures such as core aeration and dethatching for your lawn because they are completely unnecessary! These services are “Band-Aid” solutions to problems that are directly caused or worsened by the repetitive use of synthetic chemicals. As the soil life rejuvenates, the soil compaction will be naturally alleviated and any heavy thatch will be naturally digested. It’s that simple, the biological activity in a healthy soil is the most effective aerator and dethatcher that exists, and it does not charge you to do it. Why pay extra to have machines do a fraction of the work nature does for free! But if one of my customers really insists, I might still aerate. After all, there is good money in it.

mdvaden
03-30-2003, 12:20 PM
ORGANIC MANS post made me think about the promos for core punching I've read lately. Seems a big core punching propaganda is on the move.

Nothing wrong with "core-holing", but too many companies get on a bandwagon.

Many companies go on missions of "extremist" on certain methods.

Coring is fine for where it is fine. But it is mainly fine when the entire lawn is at the same level of moisture in the soil.

What about high areas and low areas - the low may still me soggy.

Some companies offer set prices claiming to come through on a certain weekend for the whole area - is every yard equally drained and moist?

We believe in PRESCRIBED METHODS. In other words, professional care based on experience. One yard with get the core method. Another, may get lime to chemically fracture the soil open. Another may get oganic compounds.

Other yards may get all three in individual areas of the same yard.

Organic-man
03-30-2003, 01:15 PM
Exactly. Customization is the key here. What will work on one place may not work on another. Every place is different, especially if your accounts were maintained separately by different LCO's before .

Mike Bradbury
03-30-2003, 10:40 PM
Originally posted by Organic-man
I will not be advocating aerating at all. I am in favor of using organic fertilizers that boost the respiration rate of the soil by encouraging biological microorganisms to multiply. They will take care of the aeration no problem. You will NOT have to add costly corrective procedures such as core aeration and dethatching for your lawn because they are completely unnecessary! These services are “Band-Aid” solutions to problems that are directly caused or worsened by the repetitive use of synthetic chemicals. As the soil life rejuvenates, the soil compaction will be naturally alleviated and any heavy thatch will be naturally digested. It’s that simple, the biological activity in a healthy soil is the most effective aerator and dethatcher that exists, and it does not charge you to do it. Why pay extra to have machines do a fraction of the work nature does for free! But if one of my customers really insists, I might still aerate. After all, there is good money in it.

But any real organic oriented person NEEDS to understand that core aeration is the SINGLE BEST thing you can do for "almost" any lawn. It goes HAND IN HAND with organic principles. You need to do some more reading or hook up with some real soil scientists. Try Bio-Green in Wauconda,IL if they're still around. I could go to lengths to explain WHY aeration is a part of any good organic program, but you really need to learn it yourself, so do the reading.
(first year?)

Organic-man
03-30-2003, 10:48 PM
Yes, this is my first year in the application business. I was always a fan of no-till farming, and from the materials I have read over the years I have deduced that aeration is not necessary with a proper soil balance. There are many organic turf people who will swear aeration is unneccessary. One of my friends runs a thriving lawn co in PA and has not needed to aerate for 18 years with his organic program. He has been so successful and his organic methods so proven that the US Botanical Gardens and Central Park (NYC) uses his methods now, under his supervision.

Mike Bradbury
03-30-2003, 10:51 PM
Originally posted by mdvaden
ORGANIC MANS post made me think about the promos for core punching I've read lately. Seems a big core punching propaganda is on the move.

Nothing wrong with "core-holing", but too many companies get on a bandwagon.

Many companies go on missions of "extremist" on certain methods.

Coring is fine for where it is fine. But it is mainly fine when the entire lawn is at the same level of moisture in the soil.

What about high areas and low areas - the low may still me soggy.

Some companies offer set prices claiming to come through on a certain weekend for the whole area - is every yard equally drained and moist?

We believe in PRESCRIBED METHODS. In other words, professional care based on experience. One yard with get the core method. Another, may get lime to chemically fracture the soil open. Another may get oganic compounds.

Other yards may get all three in individual areas of the same yard.

Horse hockey!! (as Col.Potter would say). Aeration is close to a miracle cure all and CAN'T be oversold. Most every lawn would benefit from annual aeration and problem lawns can see miraculous results from spring AND fall aeration. Especially compacted soils, thin turf, wet spots, etc You can FEEL the difference in compaction just walking on it after aeration. You can SEE the difference in turf quality in a few weeks. If you added the total area of all the plugs pulled you'd have dug a decent hole that water can drain to. ECT ECT ECT
I've personally achieved a reduction in thatch from 2+" to a livable 1/2" in TWO seasons with twice annual aeration and topdressing with biologically active dressings. Have you ever LOOKED at the holes a couple weeks after aeration? They fill up with roots migrating to the holes from existing turfgrass plants. They migrate there due to the easy access of OXYGEN,NUTRIENTS, and WATER (add sunlight and you've got it ALL). Think that might be a good thing? Of course any time you stimulate root growth, you achieve a corresponding top growth! (thickening the turf, which shades out germinating weed seeds, shade the soil from the sun, etc etc:
There may be soil condition that it isn't helpful (sand?). But for 90% (at least) of lawns, it's the single best thing you can do for it!:blob2: :blob2:

mdvaden
03-30-2003, 10:58 PM
Maybe the SINGLE BEST thing to do for lawns is not core aeration - although it helps, but provide proper care.

Most lawn services in our area, mow until the bags are full of heavy grass. The pressure per square inch exceeds foot traffic or vehicle traffic.

That's due to the mass of the grass clippings, and the fact that the rear bag shifts the fulcrum of balance to the rear wheels.

A mower is balance on 4 wheels. But when the bag is full, the center of gravity is on the rear wheels, literally shifting even the weight of the engine and deck to that point.

A real pro for grass care, will empty the bags when they are half full, rather that all the way full. Full bags cause tremendous soil compaction.

Also, too many companies mow when the soil is saturated. They would provide much better service by mowing much longer on dryer days, to avoid the rainy, or wet soil days.

That's in much of the Oregon, Washington area.

Much of the coring, liming, etc., is done to conteract the damage from mowing.

Better mowing practices ( mower traffic ) is more crucial than anything like core-holing.

Mike Bradbury
03-30-2003, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by Organic-man
Yes, this is my first year in the application business. I was always a fan of no-till farming, and from the materials I have read over the years I have deduced that aeration is not necessary with a proper soil balance. There are many organic turf people who will swear aeration is unneccessary. One of my friends runs a thriving lawn co in PA and has not needed to aerate for 18 years with his organic program. He has been so successful and his organic methods so proven that the US Botanical Gardens and Central Park (NYC) uses his methods now, under his supervision.

I have used organic ferts for more than 15 years, 4 of those years in business with pesticide free service exclusively. (it's a catchall phrase and organic doesn't really mean anything)
You are dreaming if you think SCIENCE will agree with you on this. Not picking on you but you've got it completely backwards. The fact that your friend has done ok without aeration is hardly proof that it isn't a good thing. Guarentee you if he DID do aeration his lawns would be even better.
How is he controlling weeds if he's not aerating?????? WHOLE concept is to thicken the turf sufficiently to shade out germinating weed seeds. If you are waiting to accomplish this by top fertilizer, you'll be buried in weeds before you start. Please don't tell me he/you are applying chemical weed control when you are talking about biologically healthy soil?? Not going to happen.
I can find you 100 organic information sources that will say you're wrong for every 1 you can site to back you up. You don't want to go there :)
This is VERY simple really. Take 1/2 of your own lawn and aerate it. Apply your ferts to the WHOLE lawn after that and do your normal program. OBSERVE and report back here. Give you 10:1 that you SEE the difference. Quickly.

Organic-man
03-30-2003, 11:02 PM
Did you ever look into Humic acid? That is a solution to aeration if I ever saw one. I will be demonstating it like crazy against aeration this year on some of my properties so I can have the proof to back me up come next year. Humic Acid can increase root length 3-fold and increase water holding capacity. It has a unique molecular structure that will increase aeration very effectively at a fraction of the cost of mechanical aeration. Mother Nature did not need mechanical aeration to grow the incredibly dense sod of the virgin prairie. Did you ever try to grasp the depth of rootmass that sod had in those days?

Organic-man
03-30-2003, 11:05 PM
Mike Bradbury,
Keep in touch. Just remember my name on the forum. I will do like you say, try your approach, and get you some feedback. You sound very well informed but I must take it with a grain of salt and test it myself because of conflicting info here. What kind of organic fertilizer are you using? My friend and I are using Harmony 14-3-6

Organic-man
03-30-2003, 11:12 PM
mdvaden,
Have you ever plowed a field when the soil was too wet, or rototilled a garden that was saturated? I have, and the soil structure was ruined for the whole year after that. It takes a freeze cycle to restore it back, unless you apply humic acid or a biological stimulant like compost tea, although their result can be debatable. You have a good point about the mowers' compaction.
I have seen this soil compaction and structure damage happen for 13 years now. With soils higher in humus the damage can sometimes be repaired sooner, like after a very heavy rain.

Arnold
03-30-2003, 11:19 PM
I must say that core aeration is much needed here were I live and I must say that if it wasn't needed us Golf Supers would hear much more about chemicals that would do it for us instead of hearing about new and improved aerating equipment. I believe the need for aerating has alot to do with soil type we here have alot of clay which always need some aerating. Every lawn or turf area in the country would benefit from aeration once a season. At least thats the way I see it.

Organic-man
03-30-2003, 11:24 PM
The chemicals have only been available for a couple of years. Search the web and look up some of the things I've mentioned and see how many country club managers are looking into these new organic-based methods. I must say you country club managers are the most open-minded lawncare people I know of in the lawncare biz.

Mike Bradbury
03-30-2003, 11:37 PM
Originally posted by mdvaden
Maybe the SINGLE BEST thing to do for lawns is not core aeration - although it helps, but provide proper care.

Most lawn services in our area, mow until the bags are full of heavy grass. The pressure per square inch exceeds foot traffic or vehicle traffic.

That's due to the mass of the grass clippings, and the fact that the rear bag shifts the fulcrum of balance to the rear wheels.

A mower is balance on 4 wheels. But when the bag is full, the center of gravity is on the rear wheels, literally shifting even the weight of the engine and deck to that point.

A real pro for grass care, will empty the bags when they are half full, rather that all the way full. Full bags cause tremendous soil compaction.

Also, too many companies mow when the soil is saturated. They would provide much better service by mowing much longer on dryer days, to avoid the rainy, or wet soil days.

That's in much of the Oregon, Washington area.

Much of the coring, liming, etc., is done to conteract the damage from mowing.

Better mowing practices ( mower traffic ) is more crucial than anything like core-holing.

Since very few people or companies bag anymore I don't see how that is any kind of REAL problem.
I said "single" best thing:
How does dumping your bag improve drainage?
How does dumping your bag improve oxygen transfer?
How does dumping your bag cause the grass to grow more roots?
How does dumping your bag allow most of the fertilzers to reach the root zone?
How does dumping your bag make the turf thicker over it's whole area? (not just where the tires track)
How does dumping your bag get rid of thatch?
How does dumping your bag help break up clay?
Don't believe me?

http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/news/sty/2001/APR01_garden5.html


http://www.lebepsgarden.zipworld.com.au/archive_lawn_turf_aeration_may2000.html

http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/TRA/PLANTS/index.html#http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/TRA/PLANTS/core.html

http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/lawns/aeration.html

http://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/mg/manual/lawn5.htm

http://www.hort.cornell.edu/gardening/lawn/almanac/august.htm

That's Kansas State,Colorado State,U Arizone,Ohio State,Cornell.
How many more would you like?

Organic-man
03-30-2003, 11:44 PM
Mike,
I will believe you until I actually have experience to disprove it. Hows that? Seems you know what you are talking about.
I found this URL if you are interested. It is similar to my friends approach.http://www.blade-runners.com/oxygenate.html
Sounds tasty doesn't it? I wonder what it costs.
I realize that yes, core aerating is better than spike aerating, and certainly better than nothing at all. But I am not the kind to settle for mediocrity. I want to find the IDEAL aerating technique, and I fear core aeration is not the final word yet.

NCSULandscaper
03-30-2003, 11:53 PM
When we aerate lawns we core aerate the lawn, spread a 16-4-8 fertilizer, lime, and seed(mainly Confederate Blend Fescue).

Arnold
03-31-2003, 12:00 AM
Organic-man
Here is a web site I checked out and it pretty much says it all.
www.greensmiths.com/aerators.htm
They sell Humic Acid and say nothing about Humic Acid being all you need when it comes to aeration. Besides the price of Humic Acid would kill my budget.
I always look into new chemicals and this one seems like a fake.

Mike Bradbury
03-31-2003, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by Organic-man
Mike Bradbury,
Keep in touch. Just remember my name on the forum. I will do like you say, try your approach, and get you some feedback. You sound very well informed but I must take it with a grain of salt and test it myself because of conflicting info here. What kind of organic fertilizer are you using? My friend and I are using Harmony 14-3-6

Apologies if I came across as beligerent. I can be a bit strident in my beliefs :)
When I was Chem-Free (old business) I used Carl Johnsons custom blended ferts. (He was a widely recognized soil scientist back then, don't know if he's still around. Bio-Green distributed them. Each application was different for the time of season and adjusted to regional and current seasonal growing conditions! They used FOOD GRADE ingredients only and was very expensive (and incredibly good). I drove 5-6 hours to get each load and spend time learning from them. Great bunch of guys. We're talking very high tech stuff here! Also very expensive! I couldn't make any money as folks weren't willing to pay 3 or 4 times as much per app. There wasn't much public acceptance of alternatives then.
These guys were talking cationic transfer 20 years ago. WHat happens at the molecular level! They would tell me stuff and then 3 YEARS LATER I"d read about it being NEW info from universities! Humates and humata-substrates were a part of the fertilizer and recognized for their value 15 years ago. At the same time it is only part of the whole equation. They wouldn't even sell you the fertilizer without you promising to at least try to sell core aeration to EVERY customer, it's THAT important to achieve optimum results, ESPECIALLY with ORGANICS!
They ended up losing their a** trying to teach farmers less invasive ways of achieving optimum soil fertility without sterilizing levels of chemical fertilizers. Problem is it takes YEARS to correct those kinds of soil damage and the farmers just wouldn't pay them after a season if they didn't work well. I got out of that biz 10 years ago and have just gotten back in the past 2. Don't even know if their around anymore. Internet search doesn't find anything.
Be aware that most all "organic" fertilizers are an attempt to create a sellable commodity from waste products and aren't worth the paper they're packaged in as far as creating good soil conditions, though they may funtion fine as a fertilizer. I used to know all the "bad" ingredients that were typically used and what they did to inhibit healthy soil. Been too long for that I'm afraid. And of course if you put down pesticides you immediately kill the beneficial bacteria that are of course the whole key.
If you REALLY want to learn this stuff, call information in Wauconda,IL and ask for Bio-Green. If they're still there (these guys were in their late 40's, early 50's THEN) ask for Dave Ellis, Harold, or Carl Johnson. If the biz is there (they had a lot of accounts and did the fert production on the side) but not the guys, ask if they've got a contact number for them. These guys were awesome, and unfortunately, well ahead of their time.
FWIW

Mike Bradbury
03-31-2003, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by Organic-man
Mike,
I will believe you until I actually have experience to disprove it. Hows that? Seems you know what you are talking about.
I found this URL if you are interested. It is similar to my friends approach.http://www.blade-runners.com/oxygenate.html
Sounds tasty doesn't it? I wonder what it costs.
I realize that yes, core aerating is better than spike aerating, and certainly better than nothing at all. But I am not the kind to settle for mediocrity. I want to find the IDEAL aerating technique, and I fear core aeration is not the final word yet.


Much of that sounds very similar to the products I was using back when. Be interesting to find out their background and training.
Carl Johnson was a very respected scientist and spoke frequently around the country. hmmmm

Arnold
03-31-2003, 12:16 AM
ffshuter, The answer to your thread is that we do the same on our lawn areas. On our turf areas we use a topdressing of sand but is not needed on a lawn.

FARMERlawn03
03-31-2003, 09:14 PM
Has anyone heard that spring aeriation increases weed growth?
I always aerate in the fall becuase of this.(Is it really true?)

Organic-man
03-31-2003, 09:38 PM
I can get the best water soluble humic acid in the world for a fraction of the cost it used to be, for just pennies per 1000 sq ft. In 2001 a humate factory opened up in PA using only Irkutsk Leonardite, extracting the humic, fulvic, and ulmic acids very efficiently. I have compared the analysis and the advertised results to our US humates and this is worlds apart. The technology used to refine it is very advanced. True Humate is not a fake, glorified coal dust is. There are scores of manufacturers selling raw leonardite and coal dust as humate. Stay away from them. I have a limited understanding of the humic fraction and structure, enough to know that these manufacturers are snake oil sellers. Leonardite is not water soluble and thus you need up to 2000 lbs per acre to see any results. But then you are loading the soil with ballast that is not beneficial in the end. True humate is 100% water soluble I have been doing greenhouse tests with this new acid and the results are unbelievable. I will try it on the lawn soon.
Also, my fertilizer is one kind that does not have waste products other than composted poultry manure in it. The rest of the ingredients are very high quality. They also use this new generation humic acid in the fert. The best part is it only costs me $13 for 10,000 sq ft. The nutrients are manufactured into a homogenous granule just like Scotts. I used to think organics was labor intensive and require a huge amount of raw material but I have since been proven wrong. My friend uses this fertilizer, in conjunction with alot of those high tech products to maintain his properties with outstanding results and high profits.
So with two very educated, experienced and well informed gentlemen poles apart in application theories, I have no choice but to try a combination of both approaches.
Thanks Mike! Wauconda is pretty close by. I will check those guys out as soon as I can.

mdvaden
03-31-2003, 11:19 PM
I'd say Horse Hockey back at Bradbury !!

First issue - again.

Some areas of turf in certain yards don't dry enough to pull a core. Or if they do, they squeeze shut.

That's just one example of of an area that would need drainage and other improvements prescribed. The following year, then coring would work for that area.

That's also what the seven golf courses and country clubs I worked at demonstrated - basically hundreds of acres of nature being the "witness" that prescribed methods work.

No, coring is not a cure all.

Bradbury can post web addresses all day long. It will not get me to waver from over 20 years of experience and education. I've read all that stuff too, just like he has. But after a while, a few of us learn that we need to give proper customer service by making individual decisions. Not getting hung up in a professor like religious doctrine about a single method.

And about people bagging. Trucks are going through our area here in Oregon all day long with clippings. The grass grows so fast here in the spring, that's its almost impossible to leave a decent looking lawn without picking up clippings.

I was barely able to mow our own lawn even with picking up clippings.

Later in the season is when many companies leave the clippings.

But if they did it on residential lawns - NOTE HEALTHY LAWNS - right now, they would loose their accounts by leaving nasty lawns loaded with dying brown grass blades.

Most of the lawns here where clippings can be left now while its very wet and getting warm, are the NOT SO HEALTHY LAWNS. The ones with poor soil that grow slow.

So again, there is a time to pick up clippings. And a time to leave clippings.

And the process of making actual decisions instead of following proven formulas is a better road.

Bradbury reminds me of the Arborists. You can find 20 different sites that show how good deep root fertilizing, or fertilizing is for trees. That's the doctrine. This nutrient does this, and that nutrient does that.

Sure. I agree. This nutrient and that one, do this and that. And in Portland, Oregon, the trees that get the most breakage from the weight of water, ice and snow are the fertilized trees. The leaves are bigger, and so the DAMAGE produced by big leaves and longer limbs that giveS more leverage to weight EXCEEDS the BENEFITS of fertilizing.

The exception is making decisions. Like noticing chlorosis, or a soil sample indicating lack of a nutrient. In those PRESCRIBED cases, fertilizing works.

That's the difference between large volumes of experience and education combined VERSUS inexperience and religious adherance to a knowledge bandwagon.

onemancrew
04-01-2003, 10:01 PM
I aerate in the fall unless they have a sprinkler system, i don't always use a starter fertilize.

greenman
04-01-2003, 10:28 PM
I aerate in the spring. Gonna start aerations in about 2 or 3 weeks,w/ fert/2nd app of pre-m when the grass is fully greened up. Sometimes I do have to aerate in the fall as well.

mdvaden
04-01-2003, 11:26 PM
Greenman,

Nice to see that when you aerate your backing up some areas with a second proceedure.

Its cool when pros do work to maintain quality instead of doing a process once a year just to fill a quota.

That's not meant as a slam to those that do it once. And others must do it twice.

But you are one of the few I've heard state doing it twice when needed.

I'm on this forum for fun. The one thing I really don't do, is lawn mowing.

I install, but pass on the maintenance. Although I do on occasion do liming, drainage, overseeding, etc..

The country clubs burnt me out on grass I think.

This is the first year I've considered taking on maintenance. Our ads were just modified, but only for 2 acre property minimums. And it won't be for just lawn.

Glad I'm in Beaverton, Oregon and not parts of West Linn, or over in Vancouver, Washington. The soils in those areas are infested with rock. Even where fill was brought in, the rocks have a way of finding the surface, even if its moles that help get it there.

I'd hate to do core removal there. Beaverton is fairly decent overall.

greenman
04-02-2003, 08:00 AM
Thanks for that reply,md. I try not to do anything that is unnecessary, and if something needs attention, I address the issue. I take a lot of pride in my work. IMO, I am not like most other LCO's, my quality of work is better (am I bragging?), but there are a few others like this too (a couple are LS members). I want to know the customers concerns and questions. I offer full service property management (maintenance).

mdvaden
04-02-2003, 11:43 AM
In parenthesis ("bragging") ?

No - its not bragging if you can do it.

If someone can jump over a barn and says so - that' stating the facts.

And a community should have as many real facts about people as possible.

KenH
04-02-2003, 07:35 PM
Originally posted by MikHe Bradbury

I've personally achieved a reduction in thatch from 2+" to a livable 1/2" in TWO seasons with twice annual aeration and topdressing with biologically active dressings.

Can someone please elaborate on what a biologically active topdressing is?? Also, what would you recommend as a topdressing after aeration??

lawnstudent
04-02-2003, 10:28 PM
Originally posted by KenH
Can someone please elaborate on what a biologically active topdressing is?? Also, what would you recommend as a topdressing after aeration??

Naturally occuring soil microbes are what breaks down thatch. One teaspoon of healthy soil contains thousands of microbes. A biologically active topdressing is healthy soil. That is why core aerating helps to breakdown thatch, you have put soil microbes back in touch with the thatch layer.

jim

KenH
04-03-2003, 07:03 PM
If your soil is NOT healthy, and due to whatever circumstances is lacking in the bacteria department, what can you topdress with after aerating to give the lawn and bacteria a boost???

lawnstudent
04-03-2003, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by KenH
If your soil is NOT healthy, and due to whatever circumstances is lacking in the bacteria department, what can you topdress with after aerating to give the lawn and bacteria a boost???

Healthy soil with a wealth of soil microbes only requires a reasonable pH (6.0 - 7.5), reasonable moisture content (not excessively wet or dry all the time), and one that is not sterile from the overuse of pesticides or other chemical spills. USE SOIL to top dress with a high organic matter content (5%) if you are trying to control thatch and improve the soil in the rhizosphere.

jim

Mike Bradbury
04-14-2003, 01:42 AM
Originally posted by KenH
If your soil is NOT healthy, and due to whatever circumstances is lacking in the bacteria department, what can you topdress with after aerating to give the lawn and bacteria a boost???

Plenty of "sterilized soil" after XX years of 6 app chemical lawn care. Any "good" organic fertilzer utilizes bacteria in their mix to break down the fertilizer ingredients into plant usable forms. Organic ferts should have low water soluable ratios 2-1-1 kind of stuff. If it's a 10-10-10 then it's got lots of water soluable ferts which are usually salts which will stop any bacterial colonization.
Organics supply the raw materials for the bacteria and plants to convert to forms that the plant can utilize. The process is slower (not water soluable) but lasts much longer. If the environment allows they will stay and reproduce and decompose clippings to provide nitrogen and chew up thatch and all that good stuff. Compost and composted animal manures are probably the best sourses, but they need to have fully cooked and set enough to sprout any weed seeds. Not the easiest to spread either.
Short answer, aerate and apply a good "organic" fertilizer after and that is as big a HEALTH shot as you can give a yard.

Andrew S
04-14-2003, 06:09 AM
I provide coring as a service to my customers but as I understand it some people believe that it is not effective-

Does this mean that those of us that provide core/aeration as a service are being fraudulant.

I personally don't believe this is the case as I see past results every day.I believe coring is very necessary especially in lawns with severe compaction problems

thanks

Andrew

Mike Bradbury
04-14-2003, 10:11 AM
I think the ones saying it's fraudulant are ones that haven't done it. To me the results are so obvious it would be hard to miss it (if you're looking).
To "ME" it's guys pushing DETHATCHING (for cool season grasses) that are taking money without doing much (results, not the labor).

Green Pastures
04-14-2003, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by ffshuter
When I aerate lawns I go over the lawns with starter fertilizer and grass seed. Does anyone els do the same?? Sometimes I only use regular fertilizer if it is a very full and thick lawn. What do you guys do when it comes to aerating??

This is what I did last fall on several lawns and got the best results I've ever had from my work.

1. Aerate entire lawn heavily. (2-3 passes over all grass with a Classen split tine aerator.)

2. Apply starter Fert.

3. Apply seed heavily.

4. Topdress with organic humus to a depth of 1/2" everywhere.

5. Instruct customer to water lightly daily for 7-10 days.

This was for several newer accounts I got and had thin lawns. On my regular accounts I would aerate lightly (1 pass), seed lightly and apply starter fert then only topdress every 3rd year.

I do seeding, aeration and topdressing in the fall.

YMMV, I get good results doing this.

lawnstudent
04-14-2003, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by Andrew S
I provide coring as a service to my customers but as I understand it some people believe that it is not effective-

Does this mean that those of us that provide core/aeration as a service are being fraudulant.

I personally don't believe this is the case as I see past results every day.I believe coring is very necessary especially in lawns with severe compaction problems

thanks

Andrew

Andrew,

I think there are at least two conditions under which you can see little improvement after aeration, at least two conditions that I would like to address.

It is possible that a lawn has a perfect soil, ideal thatch depth, and ideal pore size and abundance. Under these ideal conditions, air has no problem entering the soil and the turf will show little to no improvement after aeration. I've never see this condition on a typical residential lawn, but I am sure that it is possible.

I think the biggest problem with aeration is that we perforate the soil with too few cores and, therefore, the results are limited. All the university extension services recommend a minimum of 15 - 20 cores per square foot. The typical aerator only produces a core pattern with 2.5 - 5 holes per square foot. At a minimum, we should be using a crossing pattern (double pass) to get near the recommended average. The denser the core patter, the better the air infiltration into the soil, and the more dramatic the turf's response to aeration.

jim

AztlanLC
04-14-2003, 11:36 PM
Lawstudent, thank you for posting such a valuable information, is real good to read someone who really knows what he's talking about.

I did enjoy and learned a lot from all your posts on the "Out of the window with the one third rule" tred.

Andrew S
04-15-2003, 01:08 PM
Lawnstudent- thanks for the post

In the situation that you described earlier,

assuming that you do need more holes per sq foot would'nt it be plausable that any form of aerating would still improve the lawn?

thanks

Andrew

Old Hippy
04-15-2003, 04:31 PM
I had to chuckle reading Organic-man and his no aerate approach to lawn care. All we have to do is get the home builders to put the top soil back when they build a house. Then get the home owner to water and mow right, etc. etc.
A real world is one where the lawns have problems. Thatch can be controlled by aeration. See studies done by the Univ. of Nebr. and Univ. of Michigan. Insect control can be amplified by aeration, Fertilizer applications and watering can be reduced with aertion. Compaction relief for hard used turf is a biggie also.
Aeration is an answer to many turf related problems plus it can be sold as a service to make it a very good profitable part of your business. It is not a band aid to anything. Been doing it for 29 years and other than the occasional irrigation line, invisible dog fence and such it never causes problems.
oldhippybb@aol.com

Patrick Gleason
04-15-2003, 09:44 PM
I have worked in this industry since 1956,helping my father after school and later on after he retired running the business my self,I have seen a lot of changes in this business,some for the good and some o ' well.I find a good approach to business and life is to accept change and new ideas and attempt to blend them into your existing programs.As for organics being a new idea just ask your grandparents how they fertilized their "Victory Gardens",and other plants you may be surprised.Just my two cents worth. Thanks Pat

lawnstudent
04-16-2003, 07:48 AM
Originally posted by Andrew S
Lawnstudent- thanks for the post

In the situation that you described earlier,

assuming that you do need more holes per sq foot would'nt it be plausable that any form of aerating would still improve the lawn?

thanks

Andrew

the tighter the soil, the more holes you gonna need. A soil high in clay content and/or compaction allows little air infiltration. That air may only move a couple of inches laterally as well as vertically. Yes, you should see some improvement around the holes, but the result will be rather clumpy. I see this a lot on compacted soils where the grass grows in small clumps. We are talking KB here! It is one of the signs of a compacted turf (the grass growing in small clumps and thinning between the clumps).

Some aerators put down a core pattern of only one core every 6 by 8 inches. And those cores go down randomly. They don't necessarily go down between the growing clumps of grass where you need it. Is all of the turf rhizosphere going to get air infiltration from a 6 x 8 pattern? Not if the soil can't transport the air greater than 2 inches. Will this pattern help? Yes, some. Will the home owner really notice?

What cultural practices changed after aeration? Is the lawn getting adequate/too much water? Aeration might not help if the grass has inadequate water or no oxygen in the rhizosphere because the soil is keep too moist (though aeration should help to dry out a wet soil). Is the turf limited by poor soil nutrients? Has the this condition been addressed by aeration? Many factors can lead to poor turf performance. Aeration is not a panacea. If everything is right: right turf type for the site and conditions, proper sun exposure , proper soil temps, adequate water, available nutrients, good pH range, control of disease, control of insects, then you should always see some turf improvement in response to aeration if your problem is air infiltration into the soil. Good luck.

jim

Mike Bradbury
04-16-2003, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by lawnstudent
Andrew,

I think there are at least two conditions under which you can see little improvement after aeration, at least two conditions that I would like to address.

It is possible that a lawn has a perfect soil, ideal thatch depth, and ideal pore size and abundance. Under these ideal conditions, air has no problem entering the soil and the turf will show little to no improvement after aeration. I've never see this condition on a typical residential lawn, but I am sure that it is possible.

I think the biggest problem with aeration is that we perforate the soil with too few cores and, therefore, the results are limited. All the university extension services recommend a minimum of 15 - 20 cores per square foot. The typical aerator only produces a core pattern with 2.5 - 5 holes per square foot. At a minimum, we should be using a crossing pattern (double pass) to get near the recommended average. The denser the core patter, the better the air infiltration into the soil, and the more dramatic the turf's response to aeration.

jim

Agreed on the "potential" for such perfect conditions to never need aeration. Agreed also that those conditions are .0001 of the general population of lawns :)

What aerator are you talking about that only gives 2.5-5 per sq'?
I've used Ryans and BlueBirds and they all put a lot more holes than that.
Double passes are the recommended way of aerating all the time and from every manufacturer or university research I've seen. "single passer" is a term of derision used for some guys around here, usually accompanied by rolling the eyes :)

I find 2 passes to be the practical limit for the soil around here, 3 or more and it starts getting pretty beat up looking, with existing holes made twice as big by another tine hitting them and tearing it open widely. Might be functionally ok, or even better, but asthetically it's to ratty looking. JMO :blob2:

Mike Bradbury
04-16-2003, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by mdvaden
I'd say Horse Hockey back at Bradbury !!

First issue - again.

Some areas of turf in certain yards don't dry enough to pull a core. Or if they do, they squeeze shut.

That's just one example of of an area that would need drainage and other improvements prescribed. The following year, then coring would work for that area.

That's also what the seven golf courses and country clubs I worked at demonstrated - basically hundreds of acres of nature being the "witness" that prescribed methods work.

No, coring is not a cure all.

Bradbury can post web addresses all day long. It will not get me to waver from over 20 years of experience and education. I've read all that stuff too, just like he has. But after a while, a few of us learn that we need to give proper customer service by making individual decisions. Not getting hung up in a professor like religious doctrine about a single method.

And about people bagging. Trucks are going through our area here in Oregon all day long with clippings. The grass grows so fast here in the spring, that's its almost impossible to leave a decent looking lawn without picking up clippings.

I was barely able to mow our own lawn even with picking up clippings.

Later in the season is when many companies leave the clippings.

But if they did it on residential lawns - NOTE HEALTHY LAWNS - right now, they would loose their accounts by leaving nasty lawns loaded with dying brown grass blades.

Most of the lawns here where clippings can be left now while its very wet and getting warm, are the NOT SO HEALTHY LAWNS. The ones with poor soil that grow slow.

So again, there is a time to pick up clippings. And a time to leave clippings.

And the process of making actual decisions instead of following proven formulas is a better road.

Bradbury reminds me of the Arborists. You can find 20 different sites that show how good deep root fertilizing, or fertilizing is for trees. That's the doctrine. This nutrient does this, and that nutrient does that.

Sure. I agree. This nutrient and that one, do this and that. And in Portland, Oregon, the trees that get the most breakage from the weight of water, ice and snow are the fertilized trees. The leaves are bigger, and so the DAMAGE produced by big leaves and longer limbs that giveS more leverage to weight EXCEEDS the BENEFITS of fertilizing.

The exception is making decisions. Like noticing chlorosis, or a soil sample indicating lack of a nutrient. In those PRESCRIBED cases, fertilizing works.

That's the difference between large volumes of experience and education combined VERSUS inexperience and religious adherance to a knowledge bandwagon.

Well since mine is based on 30 years of learned experience I guess I'll just ignore your little self important ramblings. Maybe if you didn't have such a high opinion of yourself you'd be more open to new ideas. (glad to hear you've proved all those universities wrong!) ;)

kenp
04-16-2003, 06:38 PM
I am a homeowner, but this seems to be an appropriate thread for this question. When core aerating, you are coring out to a depth of 2" - 3", right? I have heard that the grass seed should be planted about 1/4" deep to maybe 1/2" deep.

When you overseed after core aerating, what happens to all of the seed that is now 3" down? I have read discussions of the necessity of filling in the cored areas with loose soil by dragging a section of fence, etc., over the area.

After coring, do any of you do further preparation before dropping your seed?

Old Hippy
04-17-2003, 08:20 AM
Several answers here. Brad you are right in what you say as is the guy from the wet lands of the northwest. Aeration is one of the best things you can do for a lawn even a wet one. It will vent water out as well as in. Also all lawns are different. One must know enough about what the procedure does to make judgement calls on each and every lawn.
I have been on golf courses that have the entire course on a 10 ft by 10 ft grid to know what to do where. Soil changes that close. so it stands to reason that lawn to lawn will really change. I do not recall too many builders taking the care to put the top soil back so we usually deal with the worst soil conditions in sub division lawns.
Now on the subject of holes per square foot. The rolling aerators available today all, repeat all give you 3 to 6 holes per square foot on one pass. Two passes is good three is very good for home lawns. If you do not believe me take a 1 foot square piece of plexiglass into a lawn with one pass and just move it around. I have done this in my research. 3 to 6 and that is it usually 6. Now the mfgs say up to 9 and you can get up to 9 but the next square on either side will be less by far. We did it one time on a big piece of cardboard just to check. Same thing. So just keep to 2 to three passes with rolling machines.
Seed in holes question. We did some research on this very thing in trying to bring back golf greens while they were in play and the result was astonishing. The seeds in the holes just greminate and start growing in the bottom of the holes not knowing they are not at the surface. They reach the surface in a day or two and spread. Depending on the type of grass. We found that to start a lawn in a high traffic area like a green or a path we could do it by making lots of holes and starting the grass in the holes. Worked great. Just do not bury the seeds in the holes with topdressing or dirt just get the holes down there.
I have also had instances where we seeded behind aeration late in the fall. The seeds went dormant when winter came. Then bingo the first thing in the spring we had grass in each of the holes before we had grass on the surface. Interesting..
Got any questions about aeration or overseeding, dethathing drop me aline oldhippybb@aol.com or I keep and eye on lawnsite for the misled, uninformed and lost grass growers out there

the old hippy in nebraska