The paradox of aeration

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by JonLawn, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. JonLawn

    JonLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 183

    It is widely discussed that aeration can be a windfall for the bottom line but as I plan for fall I think it's the opposite. Sure I can charge 3x mowing price for aeration and then fert + seed on top of that. However, a walk behind aerating unit is much narrower and slower than a mower and if I do 2 passes that are slow and narrow I'll end up making less per hour than a simple mow. Then if I have already cut the grass short and over-seeded, then I'm not mowing for a couple weeks and lose money there. So unless I have a z-aerator (which I don't) where is the extra profit? Seems like it would be more profitable to not even suggest this package of services to customers which would be a moral dilemma because most lawns need it.
     
  2. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Add ons means extra money. If your sitting on your butt doing nothing your not making money. Who said you can't overseed and cut the grass. Spring or fall aerations is good, before your cutting starts and in the fall when it slows down.
     
  3. JonLawn

    JonLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 183

    I guess I could aerate after mowing stops but I plan to aerate and seed at the same time while grass can still grow. Also I don't think its good to mow the week after seeding and over-seeding but if can I'm all ears.
     
  4. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Unless this is a new lawn ,no reason to skip a week.
     
  5. WenzelOSLLC

    WenzelOSLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 709

    Depending on the unit you don't need two passes. Its all about how many plugs per sqft you get.

    As far as mowing over seeded turf. You can get right back to mowing. Not too detrimental to the seedlings. And even if you cut it short, say 2" as opposed to3", the lawn will still need to be cut so it's even. Some spots will be taller then others so do 2.5 one week and then back to 3. Professional groundskeepers actually seed before games so that the seeds get worked into the soil, go figure.
     
  6. oqueoque

    oqueoque LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from NJ
    Posts: 1,565

    I hear this a lot and never understood why. Kentucky blue grass takes 20 to 30 days to germinate after seeding, Fescues can take up to 15 days to germinate. What skipping one week does, I don't know.
     
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,354

    My bundled lawn application accounts get the aerations bundled into the program as needed. Seed is extra. Bundled takes the debate out of the equation. I'm pretty close to being done with offering aeration as a "one time" or stand alone service. Most of the time the client has little to no clue what is best for the lawn.
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  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,774

    Good point Wenzel and others. So mowing after overseeding does not hurt. Really? How do you know? Has anyone seen any data from experiments on this idea? Any evidence to back up the idea?

    Actually, I agree, however--is anybody willing to try it and see? Aerate--overseed--mow half--postpone mowing on the other half?
    Such a test sounds like it would be way to difficult for myself. Almost impossible experiment. How would you compare the two treatments? How would you count the number of new seedlings that had sprouted?

    What about it Skip? Can this idea be tested?
     
  9. Kawizx62003

    Kawizx62003 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,404

    It has to affect it. To what degree is the question. Most likely not noticeable to the naked eye. If your worried about it add the missed mowing into the price.
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  10. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,354

    The mowing angle is less of a factor than the seed actually having an opportunity of getting established in the first place. My overseed routine is very multi step and complete. It is not merely a pass or 2 of aerator then toss seed. The lawn looks very torn up and gritty when I'm done. Next in line is the client on board with a proper water cycle? I have had potential clients tell me "overseed quotes" from other Big National Co. and their overseeds are typically a joke and a waste of the clients $. Top dressing with compost is ideal but very few are willing to pay for it here...at least in my experience.

    The damage to new seedlings from mowing is less of an issue IMO.
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