Too Late Too Aerate?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by DavidNJ, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. DavidNJ

    DavidNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    In NJ and much of the rest of the country this week has been a cold snap. After above average temps, we dropped 15F below average. Yesterday I talked to some people who do deep tine aeration (and other services) wh said on Monday they had a hard time getting penetration in near frozen Long Island, NY ground. Just got home, and took soil temps (33F, ambient 29F) and and used a probe to take some soild samples (a few were easy, a few impossible).

    Saturday is supposed to be low 40s after another cold day tomorrow with temps tonight around 20F. Has the window passed? Or would the warm day Saturday be enough to make it work?

    Saturday night is expected to be in the upper 30s, Sunday in the mid to upper 40s but raining. However, my understanding is that plugging is possible in the rain. The tines, arriving tomorrow, are .6" OD, .47"ID, side eject. On the 3/8" mount tine, the core deflector is built into the tine, and the side eject is exposed while the tip is in the ground. Although these are mini "quad' tines, they are about the size and stiffness of regular tines and the Deere Aercore 800 uses the mini tines in one row, 4 banks of 6, rather than the 6 banks of 8 on many other aerators.

    So, too late? Should the dormant seeding be rushed to Saturday instead? It had originally been planned for next week if possible. However, if the ground is frozen the Ryan verticutter probably won't work. Next week (forecasts available until Thursday) appears to be just above freezing during the day and below at night.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  2. phillie

    phillie LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    Personally I think its to late. I dont know about your area but here the ground is frozen..Even if you were to get the tines into the ground it wouldnt really benefit the lawn at this point. Although, if you are doing this just for dormant seeding purposes you dont want the tines to go to deep anyway. I would say skip the aeration and do it in the spring, when it would more benefit the lawn. Obviously, this is just my opinion and you will probably get many conflicting opinions.
     
  3. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,798

    I agree the grass is a little stiff and dorment out their
     
  4. DavidNJ

    DavidNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    It is really a bit more a tilling with tines than an aeration per se. It will releive some compaction; the aerator will leave 72 1/2" diameter 3" long cores per sq. ft. Doing an aeration on the new seedlings is probably not going to be advisable.

    The real risk is it won't work: the aerator won't work through frozen ground. The other risk is that delaying further may make seeding with the verticutter problematic. After the warm fall I just wasn't expecting this cold snap that looks to last nearly two weeks.

    I wonder if I could aerator during the rain on Sunday, or if that will just plug.
     
  5. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,798

    I have cored in the rain before but not a hard driveing rain so your call on that one. But some of the live grass within the cores you do pull most likely will not prevail into the spring. I suggest waiting........
     
  6. DavidNJ

    DavidNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    The live grass isn't really the issue. Subtracting areas with probable tree roots or TV and phone cables near the surface, there is probably 50k sqft, 30k sq ft dead, and another 12-15k sq ft sparce enough not to care. The remaining 5-8k sq ft isn't enough to worry about. I'm just thinking the new seedlings will prevent coring in May, and relieving some compaction will benefit the germination. The plugs will act like a 1/4" deep top dressing. The core is about 9% of the surface area, the OD about 14%.
     
  7. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,798

    oh well then with this additional info then open the soil up with what ever method works best for you and get the seed down asap most hear will concur. it will be a warm spell this weekend...
     
  8. DavidNJ

    DavidNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    Fingers crossed...however it is 13F on our outside thermometer now.
     
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,783

    No Dice. Ground has got to be too cold. We have at least 4-5 inches of frost here.

    Aerating in the fall is great for healthy root growth before winter. I'd think you would get better results if you wait until spring.

    Frost/Heave cylce will help for relieving compaction at this point.
     
  10. phillie

    phillie LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    Is this your lawn or a customers lawn? If its your lawn then do it regaurdless, it couldnt hurt to experience what happens. Customers lawn, well I would wait until spring. Ultimately its a decision your going to have to make. I have aerated in the rain also, be careful not to rut the lawn up
     

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