Aeration - how late?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bruces, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    I assume that aeration is effective as long as you can pull a plug.

    I am not talking about overseeding, only aerations.

    Is their any reason that a late season aeration is not effective?

    Are we cheating our aeration customers if we do it late in the year or are we benefitting them just the same as doing them early?

    We still relieve compaction, break up thatch, etc.

    Opinions?
     
  2. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    Aeration can be done at pretty much any time of the year provided that the ground isn't frozen.
    It is better to aerate when the particular type of grass(es) you are aerating is vigorously growing ... cool season grasses in spring and fall/warm season in the mid part of the summer, but if you are looking to relieve soil compaction and allow air and water into the root zone, then anytime is fine.
     
  3. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    As you aerate you sever lawn roots which promote new growth from those areas and eventually fill in the hole and therefore thickening the lawn. If you get too late in the season either the cold weather will inhibit any new growth or kill any that may have started due to freezes in early fall, or I would imagine in the warmer climates it simply would not grow because of whatever dormacy stages it goes through (don't know much about warm-season grasses).
     
  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    One reason for aeration is to loosen soil and enhance root growth. In cool season grasses, fall before root growth starts gets the best results. In a heavy soil in the north, even a late aeration will help, because more water can percolate into soil and the natural aeration of winter freeze is enhanced. Very early spring aeration is also beneficial for the idea of root growth in C3 grasses.

    Core aeration also helps in thatch decomposition by pulling soil to the surface, above the thatch layer, and then this soil dissolves into the thatch. Microbes that decay thatch are then introduced into the thatch layer. Since microbal activity is accelerated by warmer temps, and is almost at a standstill in our winters, a spring aeration will get you the quickest start on thatch control in a new client.

    So in C3 grasses, aeration at any time in spring or fall can benefit the turf, but in special cases you can achieve better results by your timing. There are even cases where a summer aeration is useful. Example: new client, heavy thatch, aeration helps water & air percolation. But that must be balanced with the increased water loss to evaporation from opening the soil surface.
     

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