Aerate and Seed

Hawkins

LawnSite Member
Location
Cincinnati
Hi Guys, I am newer to business and had a customer approach me for a small lawn reno.

Essentially, soil is clay soil, probably fairly compacted as house is new construction (2 years ago). Customer had sod installed in late spring 2019. Over the last year, there were some areas that developed weeds and some where sod just didn't make it. Relatively small patches but nonetheless, customer lives in a pristine neighborhood and wants a pristine lawn. Through some advice I've seen online and elsewhere, we plan to do core aeration (push aerator - not ride on) and a overseed using a slice seed. Customer has and will be using Turf Type Tall Fescue. Here's my questions:

1) When aerating, should I do two passed. One horizontally and one vertically? Or is this overkill? This will be the first aeration on the lawn, ever. What size plugs should I shoot for? 2.5 to 3inches?

2) I assume the slice seeder will serve to break the cores up slightly which seems favorable. Is this still recommended or is broadcast seeding just as effective?

2a) Does a Self Propelled Slice Seeder really help compared to a non? I would be renting this.

3) Was considering whether it would be beneficial to use a 600lb lawn roller after seeding. Is this recommended considering the steps above? Felt this would serve a way to embed seed more into plugs (as well as break up plugs a little bit too). Any thoughts here?

4) Anything I am missing here. Want to leave a good impression and do it right. Happy to take any advice you all have.

Thanks in advance.
Hawkins
 
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Youngandfree

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
VA
Definitely 2 passes on the aerator and ideally 2 on the slice seeder. The slice seeder will definitely break up the cores and smooth it out. As far as self propelled, kind of depends in the terrain of the lawn. I rented a non self propelled last week. Didn't have any issues with small incline changes. The blades kind of pull the machine forward.
 
OP
H

Hawkins

LawnSite Member
Location
Cincinnati
Definitely 2 passes on the aerator and ideally 2 on the slice seeder. The slice seeder will definitely break up the cores and smooth it out. As far as self propelled, kind of depends in the terrain of the lawn. I rented a non self propelled last week. Didn't have any issues with small incline changes. The blades kind of pull the machine forward.

Thanks for this. Lawn Terrain is somewhat sloped. I figured the tines would pull it forward; however, wasn't sure if it was worth the extra $30 to rent the self-propelled. Also, I dethatched the same lawn in the spring. Had no issues with the power rake so if aerator works in same way, then the push aerator should be no problem.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Hawkins, if it was sod originally, why not just replace the sod in the bad spots? More customer satisfaction--and sooner. My thoughts.
You may need a sod cutting shovel--or rent a sod cutting machine.
And kill the weeds.
I think more plugs--not too deep is better. You do not want the seed 3 inches deep.
A mystery to me--can you embed the seed into the loose cores? I do not know how well this works.
Effects of rolling are still in dispute--not sure if rolling is helpful or not. At least it is quick. Actually you can probably press the seed into the soil with your lawn tractor--it is heavy right? Lots of pressure from the tires.
 
OP
H

Hawkins

LawnSite Member
Location
Cincinnati
Hawkins, if it was sod originally, why not just replace the sod in the bad spots? More customer satisfaction--and sooner. My thoughts.
You may need a sod cutting shovel--or rent a sod cutting machine.
And kill the weeds.
I think more plugs--not too deep is better. You do not want the seed 3 inches deep.
A mystery to me--can you embed the seed into the loose cores? I do not know how well this works.
Effects of rolling are still in dispute--not sure if rolling is helpful or not. At least it is quick. Actually you can probably press the seed into the soil with your lawn tractor--it is heavy right? Lots of pressure from the tires.

The patches that didnt thrive are not very big and a seeding in the spring fixed some of that. I think what happened is homeowner waited too long to cut grass after sod was laid. Grass was high, didn't chop to tiny pieces so thatch layer was fairly thick and squashed old grass. That combined with a harsh summer in 2019 and the sod struggled (even with constant watering). Homeowner desires a seeding as there are thin spots throughout lawn which probably will do well with a seed after a core aerate.

So so far, I have where we want cores about 2.0-3 inches deep when reseeding? If i weren't reseeding, I'd probably shoot 3-4 inches? I'll pass on rolling unless someone here sees a benefit of it.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
For small spots try the Garden Weasel" or similar tool to rough-up the surface soil of the bare spots.

And use plenty of seed--in a reseed situation--germination is less. Try to get about 20 seeds per square inch.
And be sure to include some perennial rye.
And be sure to include some annual rye--it comes up really quick. This increases customer satisfaction. In my test, it was an inch tall in 4 days at temps of about 85 F.
Pennington seed includes some fungicide to reduce rot due to pythium. Mefenoxam--or something like that. Trade name Apron fungicide.


If you use it be sure to tell the customer--as it then becomes an important sales feature. You become better than your competitors--and can charge a higher price.


Best to include some starter fert. It is better to add starter fert when the new germinated seed is about a half-inch tall--this to reduce the chance that the fertilizer might burn the new seeds before the new roots form. Of course you do not want an extra trip so use it right away if you want.
 
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andersman02

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Snowy MN
First off, have you taken a soil core? Most new houses around here are sod on top of crap. That will help tell you if you can get a away with shallower plugs, or if it it built on top of crap, deeper plugs will be better, to help mix the soils. If it is on top of crap, it is in your best interest to try and sell him some type of topdress after aerating deep
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
VA
First off, have you taken a soil core? Most new houses around here are sod on top of crap. That will help tell you if you can get a away with shallower plugs, or if it it built on top of crap, deeper plugs will be better, to help mix the soils. If it is on top of crap, it is in your best interest to try and sell him some type of topdress after aerating deep
The first time using mine it took quite a bit to get it to 30 degrees. But it's well worth it.
 

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