Aerate Fescue?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Steven B, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,854

    In this situation it would be senseless to aerate when grandfather says not to.
  2. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    What does grass root to?
  3. Steven B

    Steven B LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 99

    The reason why my gf step dad said not, it pulls the fuscue grass out & can damage it(along those lines). Where bermuda won't get damaged.
    I aerated my lawn & my gf grandpa house on 10/26. It was a work out. The guy added weights to make it heavy, wasn't heavy enough when he first got it. Here's a pic of it.
    I might do my lawn again in the spring time in couple places, going to try a different aerator though.

  4. Grasshopper49

    Grasshopper49 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Hopefully someone in your area can give you more definite info. I have lived in the midwest (great soil) and now Middle TN (clay) and I have always core aerated, and strongly suggest it to my customers. I do my yard spring and fall. Causes some stress, but the lawn quickly recovers. saying that, I am not a fan of dethatching, unless thath is a serious problem. Lots of guys do that just to sell a service, even if not needed. I am referring to bluegrass and fescue here not zoysiz.

    Regarding the bermuda grass. Is is still growing? Does it grow year around in your area? The bermuda grass goes dormant at 50 degrees in this area, and therefore won't do any good to aerate in the fall here. Best to aerate in the spring upon greenup. Again, not familiar with your 'growing' season, just had to put in my 2 cents worth for practices that would work in my area.

    In heavy soils compaction usually occurs in the top two inches. A good plug aerator will pull plugs 2-3 inches and relieve the soil compaction.
  5. anotherturfgeek

    anotherturfgeek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    Don't really know about the soil conditions where you guys are but in the red clay here it allows oxygen into the soil, helps with compaction on yards that have been neglected for ever...
  6. Grasshopper49

    Grasshopper49 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I would have to ask why fescue does not have a thatch issue? Any lawn that grows quickly (especially due to excessive nitrogen) will likely need to be mowed 2-3 times a week. The clipplings cannot decompose fast enough and can certainly add to possibly creating thatch. Core aerating will assist with decreasing the thatch. If thatch is a serious problem dethatching will likely be required, although that is very stressful on the lawn. Aerating is also stressful, but not as bad as dethatching. That is why either of these services should be performed when the lawn is actively growing, and has at least 30 days to recover.

    Pre-emergence should not be used if you plan to dethatch. It has been proven that core aerating does NOT significantly decrease the effectiveness of pre-emergence applications.

    Plus, as someone else replied, it helps get fertilizer, oxygen and water to the root system, and also helps release CO2 from the soil. Levels over 5% are not good for the plants.

    Compaction on lawns also occurs to the two inch depth. Core aerating will relieve this compaction. The cores will break down, covering the thatch with soil and help decomp. (Spike aerators should be used on sandy soils)

    Thatch up to 1/2" is ok, but over that amount does create a problem.

    The Grasshopper
  7. anotherturfgeek

    anotherturfgeek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    mow 3 times a week? holy crap man! are you kidding me?
    This lawn must have some serious fert applied and watered too much!

    Under those conditions, yes thatch would be a problem.
  8. Grasshopper49

    Grasshopper49 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    My customers will not pay for mowing 2-3 times a week, even though many of the lawns could be mowed at least twice. I mulch when I mow, so should only be cutting no more than 1/3 of the blade length at one time. Mulching returns vital nutrients to the soil, so in addition to a cleaner look after mowing, I can also decrease the amount of fertilizer required. My mowing costs are a little high, but when I explain the mulching will decrease fertilizer costs they see it as a tradeoff and accept it. Mulching can decrease fertilizer requirements by about 150 lbs per acre.

    Personally, I have to cut my lawn three times a week, and I only fertilize two times per year. Most companies in this area sell the eight step fertilizer program which really is not necessary. Just adds to their income, and as we know, too much fertilizer can actually cause more harm than good. My lLawn does not receive more than one inch of water per week, unless it is rain.

    Even with the clay, these lawns can look real nice in this area with proper care. I originally lived in the Mid-west, great soil, and so much easier to maintain a lawn without all the winter weeds and invasive bermuda grass. Maintenance in Middle Tennessee is a real year around challenge.

    The Grasshopper
  9. anotherturfgeek

    anotherturfgeek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    Your killing me with the 3 times a week mowing, and only 1 inch of water per week?
    Have you tried any organic treatments?
    I use this stuff:
    It cuts down on fertilizer use, but most importantly is by far the easiest to apply..
  10. Grasshopper49

    Grasshopper49 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    haven't tried it, but will look into it. Thanks for the URL. I do use an organic fertilizer (chicken &*) that works great, other than a little smell for maybe half a day. Also was at a workshop recently and learned about a new poly coated fertilizer that is more durable and works for about 16 weeks, great for this area...yards would need maybe just two apps during the growing season. Only problem...that would decrease my income, unless I charged double for each app. Still do not know what the cost it and will find out soon.

    Finally noticed you are from NC...would guess our growing seasons and turf issues would be similar. UNC website is a great source of info.

    My wife can't believe how much time I can spend on here, but it is kind of addicting...picking up info, things to consider, and pass what little info I have to others for their consideration.

    Regarding my person said my yard was the envy of the neighborhood and that was before I got into this business. My wife says it looks like plastic (like Easter egg basket stuff) as it is so green and shiny coming down the road. Strangers have stopped and asked if I just had sod put down. Lawn doesn't always look good (you know summers are bad) but I do enjoy sitting on the deck and looking at it. My work has motivated neighbors to work on their yards, so I now have competition. They have my assistance when they ask for it and get to use my equipment. Nice to have the nice lawns around me.

    Appreciate your info and feedback

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