Aerating Vs. Dethatching

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by ElephantNest, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    I have a large yard that needs winter rye. The yard is very hard and compact. Was wondering if I should Aerate it, or dethatch it. Here are the reasons for my question:

    If I aerate it, which it needs, I'm wondering if the seeds will try to accumulate in the new holes, making clumps of rye. If I dethatch it, seems it will scratch the surface enough to allow seeding evenly, although I know more work is involved being that I will need to also rent a vacuum/bag to clean up. I know rye can look bad when clumped together in bunches. If aerated, seems I could just run over it with the mower to dispense the plugs, then seed it, but not sure which would be best. Any thoughts on this matter would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    ~Nest
     
  2. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    Is it an option for you to slit seed the rye?
     
  3. ParkerLawn

    ParkerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from KY
    Posts: 497

    The answer is, BOTH. Dethach first and get it clean, then aerate to help with compaction and then seed and a nice lawn will appear. You should only dethach if it needs it, not to scratch the surface. Check for how much dead matter you have down to bare soil and then determine if it needs dethaching. If your lawn is that hard and hasn't been aerated recently, whether you are seeding or not will help the soil and current grass back to a healthy state. Also, add starter fert when seeding too. Better hurry if you are doing it this year depending on your location, seeding time is over for most parts.
     
  4. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    Still over 80 degrees here every day.

    Let's say I do aerate, what about my concern of seeds building up in the new holes?
     
  5. ParkerLawn

    ParkerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from KY
    Posts: 497

    Anytime you aerate and seed, you will get the build up of seeds as you state. The other option you have is to topdress after you aerate. Do not skip this step because of your worry of build up. If your soil is as hard as you say, aerating is extremely important and seeding without doing this is pointless as it will not allow the seed to germinate properly. The best way to get absolute coverage is to dethach if neccessary, then aerate and powerseed the entire area to ensure complete coverage and a consistent stand of grass. You can set teh powerseeder to disperse less seed so you don't get too much seed down. Hope this answers your other question.
     
  6. bayfish

    bayfish LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    Calcium sulfate (gypsum) is also good to relieve compaction in conjunction with aeration. Use a slit seeder, especially in an establish lawn, for better seed to soil contact.
     

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