Aerate, Fertilize, Overseed -- What Order?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by cscott711, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. cscott711

    cscott711 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hey guys,

    Someone just sent me the link to this site. I pretty much mow lawns and install sprinkler systems so I don't know much about the topics mentioned in the title of the thread. I've had some customers who've wanted some or all of the above mentioned services so I'm wondering about the following:

    If I'm going to do all three aerate, fertilize, and overseed, what order should I do them in?

    How early in the spring can I aerate?

    What type type of fertilizer and components are best for spring application?

    I know there has to be time in between fertilizing and seeding, but I'm not sure how long?

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
  2. GreenmanCT

    GreenmanCT LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 557

    You can do them all at the same time. I know there is differing views on when to fertilize. If you fert at the time of of seeding then i would go with the SCU coated stuff. I usually fert after germination with straight 19-19-19, and my seed jobs always come out awesome. Seed choice is important too, its always nice to have some rye in there because it germinates so quick.
  3. GreenmanCT

    GreenmanCT LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 557

    oh and i would aerate around in early mid april, and usually do a month between fert app. go see your local lesco, john deere landscape guys and they will hook you up.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The thawing of the frozen turf leaves the soil loose for quitea while in the spring after it dries out. I wouldn't be in a hurry to aerate for the purpose of compaction.
  5. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    I agree with everyone but I would only seed between Aug 15th and Sept 15th.
  6. froglawn

    froglawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    do can do them all at the same time...aerate first though
  7. GKchris311

    GKchris311 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    Definetly agree with the rye idea. We started having our seed mix custom made for our shop last season and we have rye in our sun and shade mix. It germinates and pops up much quicker than the fescue, which is the bulk of our mix, so your customers will be satisfied much quicker with not having to wait for the fescue to fill in.
  8. Grasshopper49

    Grasshopper49 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I use to live in Wi and IL, so somewhat familiar with the growing season. Things are a bit different in Tennessee, where fall is the only and best time for overseeding. If we overseed in the spring the weather turns hot quickly and the root system never has a chance to develop.

    In the midwest that may be different however, as you would normally have a longer spring and lower temps.

    First, regarding the overseeding. Not sure what you mean. Some say consider core aerating and seeding. Grass will generally grown only from the aeration holes. I also offer that service here, but encourage customers to power seed, which will put more seed in the ground for better results as the new emerging root will have contact with the soil for nutrients. Without soil contact there is little chance the seedling will be viable. Obviously water is crucial.

    I generally suggest the power seeding only when the lawn is very thin and needs this process and expense. I never heard of overseeding until I moved to the mid south. In the transition zone the lawn really takes a beating in the summer, and overseeding is generally required. I overseed my lawn in the spring and fall.

    Rye grass down here will not live long (even perennial) due to the heat, but I would certainly suggest in in MI. It germinates quickly and provides cover until the bluegrass germinates.

    Fertilizing is likely necessary at the time of overseeding, but use a balanced/starter fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. Nitrogen is not important at this time, but the phosphorus and potassium is, as this is needed for root development.

    Hope this helps
    The Grasshopper, CTP
  9. dave50kate

    dave50kate LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Aerate at the beginning of the good grass growing seasons. April-May and Sept-August here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Aerate, fertilize and overseed in that order to the same time, leave the plugs.

    It makes sense to use slow release fertilizers with higher Phosphorus and Potassium ratios than Summer lawn fert mixes for root and stem development. Fertilizing at seeding time wont burn the seedling, however it can burn and reduce your seedling stand if done before the new seedlings have matured. Extension says mow three times before fertilizing the second time here.
  10. xclusive

    xclusive LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,054

    These are all good responses and I do not know if you have a pesticide license so if you dont my only advice is make sure you get your pesticide license before you start putting down chemicals so you do not get fined

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