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Old 02-14-2006, 01:03 AM
General Landscaping General Landscaping is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Treasure Coast, FL
Posts: 802
core aeration density, fertilization, St. Augustine

These questions apply to Florida climate and mostly sandy conditions.
Lawns usually are St. Augustine, with a few being Bahia or Bermuda.
Some have irrigation and frequent fertilizer contributing to a lot of thatch and stolons running over the top of the turf.
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When core aerating, how many plugs per square ft is considered... acceptable, optimum, excessive/unhealthy?

Are most aerators set up to provide optimum results on 1 pass or is 2 passes recommended?

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When combining a spring aeration with fertilization(granular), should it be done in 1 trip?
Fert. before or after aeration? Same day, 1 week before/after?

Does the fert. need to be modified from usual spring formulation as a result of aeration? (lean less toward N and more toward P&K?)

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Somewhere, I've seen that St. Augustine (and variations) have some special considerations..... "consult a lawn care professional" if I remember correctly.
How might aeration technique differ for this type grass?

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I'm planning on starting off with something like this aerator. It will be modified to fit a custom 3 point on back of a old Cub Cadet 149. Any problems with this setup?
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:31 PM
General Landscaping General Landscaping is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Treasure Coast, FL
Posts: 802
Maybe none of it matters and I should just run around aimlessly poking holes in dirt and collecting

Seems like there should be some opinions/ facts to consider.
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:59 AM
SWD SWD is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Central Texas - West of Austin in the Hill Country
Posts: 990
Okay, I'll give this a shot.
Regarding core aerification on St Augustine, provided it hasn't been done before, aerify in a X pattern and do not exceed the two runs.

St Augustine is a stoloniferous turf type, and these stolons are large and visible when mowing at too low a height of cut. As a rule or benchmark, the finished height of cut on irrigated St Augustine should be over the instep on your boot.

The large stolons being visible also leads me to believe your fertilization program needs improvement as well. The large stolons running above the leaf tissue is a warning.

Core aerification cleanup should be assisted with spring tine rakes, as to properly manage St Augustine, the accumulated layer of undecomposed organic matter at the plant, soil interface needs to be removed. Trust me on this one, bring a BIG trailer as the debris pile will be enormous. For example, a 15,000sq-ft lawn yielded 3, yes 3, sixteen foot trailer loads of debris. Now, subsequent aerifying and raking develop only one load.

Type of fertilizer is much more important than timing with St Augustine. I do not have the time to fully type out why, so research the effects on soil microbial populations from salt based fertilizers. Therefore, stay with an activated bio sludge compound like Milorganite. Earthworks is great as well, however, you need to understand soils and the chemistry or you will get taken by a salesman.

I recommend the fertilizer immediately after the aerification and raking/clean up.

Stay away from "starter" formulations of fertilizers as the higher levels of P and K are absolutely devastating to-wards microbe activity, populations, and exchange sites in the soil.

Hope this helps.
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