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Spring aeration...and the ideal time of Spring to pull plugs....? Plus fert...?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Exact Rototilling, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    Sign me up TurfcoBob. :clapping:
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  2. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362


    My area suffers from, "Let's all forget about our lawns since it's Fall ...who cares about it...who do I call for blowouts.... no let's skip the Fall fertilizer since it looks fine...can I have your card for the Spring".

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  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    So what does the Spring aeration do??? get the fertilizer into the roots for a quick green-up??? That is not the desired practice for cool-season grasses... quick Spring green-ups are for the applicator to make money, not for the benfit of the turf... :)
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    For thatch fest lawns Spring aeration cures thatch in the spots the plugs are pulled. My premise is if the client skipped the Fall and Winterizer recommend fert....this is the next best thing.

    There is just such a high level of apathy here locally for Fall aerations as being important that I'm not going to talk people out of it unless the thatch layer is in check.

    Customer education on proper watering, mowing height and correct applications of fert and herbicides is the most frustrating part of this business for me.

    What I'm doing this year is bundling Fall aeration with my season long fert programs for smaller lawns. For really thatch lawns I will perform a Spring as well as 2 additional peak growing season aerations.

    Countless times I had potential clients say I had mine aerated 3 years ago or even last Fall and their lawn is a complete and total thatch fest. And they are convinced it doesn't need to be done again for some time. :cry:
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  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I understand that... Its like seeding... that's done in the Spring too... clients always know best... :)

    Still. even for thatch, I would not aerate until fert time,,, after 2nd mowing or so...
    At this time it would be fine for the roots to have fertilizer in the root zone, via aeration holes, heading into Summer...

    Frozen soils around here have been frozen hard most of the winter,,, which means "heaving" from the expansion of ice crystals in the soil... the thaw may be going on in many yards under the snow, but for the most part we are under a couple inches of ice...
    So when the ice is gone and the soils dry out a bit, 'compaction' will not be an issue for quite a while... but of course some goof will be driving around on wet soils, freshly thawed, making compaction trails all over the yard to get pre-m applied, along with a fertilizer in order to ensure the thatch is fed and the roots don't do much again this Spring...
    Time that should be spent for seeding winter kill areas,,, are instead,,, sterilized from any and all seed germination potential....

    How are you guys doing BTW? snow cover gone??
    We're melting slowly and I think our average turf cover is under 8" now...
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    Snow is gone here--except for where it was piled high due to plowing. We are ready to break out the shorts and sandals--up to 48 degrees now.
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    Snow down on the Prairie where many of the old grass seed growers field from years ago have been clear for some time. Overnight temps high 20's low 30's daytime highs 40's to even 60's.

    It's low mowing season now and has been since mid late March.

    If this drier weather continues it will be the ever popular and sometimes expensive power raking season for those who didn't put down Fall fert for proper Spring green up and other assorted reasons.

    Just for the record in repeated tests on my own lawn low Spring mowing in the range of 1.5 to 2.25" promotes a faster green up than power raking. Vastly less damage to the crowns of the turf yet stimulates the crowns and pulls off dormant debris.

    Maybe I will be convinced other wise but I just am not a fan of Fall scalp mowing much below 2.25". My Fall low mow was 3.25".

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  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    We are still under snow here... in fact the deer are heavily raiding landscapes, and travelling during daylight hours, looking for food... so much snow they are not even being detered by electricity,,, no ground connection through the snow...
    You guys are lucky... :)
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Low mowing is a fine idea for the first few mowings...
    power raking, however,, is about as good for a lawn,,, as leeches are for medical care... I hope your at least mowing all your springtime debris, back onto the turf...
    I believe that you may have just given an explanation for the reason WHY your clients poo-poo the idea of lawn care in the Fall... they place all their enthusiasm on their turf in the Spring,,, just like the antiquated ideas of old,,, which includes "RAKING" with iron rakes every Spring...

    I pickup leaves, twigs and miscellaneous other large materials that will NOT,,, ROT back into the soil before mowing occurs, with a backback blower and overseed the same day... I may come back with compost to cover the seed in certain cases,,, but in general I don't do anything more with the turf until it's time to mow...

    High mowing in the Fall I also agree with... winters such as last winter in which snow is lacking and the turf is exposed to dessicating winds and freeze-drying,,, the extra leaf mass could mean the difference between dormancy and death...

    Low mowing(in the Fall) is considered desirable for the prevention of Snow Mold,,, but having applied the N at the correct time,,, also prevents Snow Mold... :)
  10. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362


    What is your input on sulphur input in the Fall to prevent snow mold...? Senske and another small ap Co. locally claim this as part of their last application but I have doubts they are doing soil testing before hand.
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