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aerate/overseed vrs dethatch/overseed

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by trying 2b organic, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 566

    My question regards which gets better results aerating then overseeding or dethatching then overseeding. The answer that if it has thatch dethatch and if its compacted aerate is an obvious one and if thats the only one then fair enough. Im thinking of a lawn which is somewhat compacted and has not a bad thatch problem, perhaps half and inch or so. In this case im wondering how to get the most out of the overseeding if the customer wants to pay for only one or the other. Thus far I have been aerating yearly prior to overseeding and only dethatching if there is a serious thatch problem which seems to be rare here.
    Even if you have thatch buildup wouldnt it be easier to aerate which also helps fight thatch then do a dethatch with the cleanup that intails?
    Im looking for re-enforcement or for people to say how amazing dethatching is in improving a crappy lawn. :help:
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,854

    Well, if there is a thatch build up at all (you admit there is at least 1/2 inch) than you'd obviously get better results to de-thatch first. Grass seed doesn't like to grow on top of dead thatch. It likes fresh, roughed up, fertilie soil. The de-thatcher will not only get rid of that thatch barrier, but it will also simultaneously prep. the soil for you.
  3. Branchland

    Branchland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    Jim Lewis said it right. If you have a half inch of thatch then it is a problem.
  4. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    I have had good results by dropping seed and then double aerating over top of that. Leave the cores, starter fert and water. You're in business.
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    this is what i've been selling here: thatch, aerate, seed, fert. $115 per k. results are phenominal, both for the lawn and my purse. i believe lawn SHOULD be thatched for seeding purposes. after that(first year) if all goes well, you shouldn't need to seed yearly. simple aeration should be done each fall as part of sop.
  6. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 566

    I have a feeling you have a big mower and can bag cleanup. I run with 21's, should i try to bag cleanup or rake onto tarps? ty for the tip, sounds like and ultimate reno esp if you do a complete kill or at least a 3 way weed control first.
    It seems like this is breaking out the big guns and you would be doing it as part of a reno? Or do lawns just getting a little weak get that royal treatment also?
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    for renovation. rake? i stopped raking thatch yrs ago. blow it into piles, pick it up, run over lawn with mower.
  8. Phishook

    Phishook LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,143

    Is it actually a thatch layer, or just dead grass and stalks?
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,854

    No, this is basic maintenance or basic lawn renovation 101. You could take it a step further and add a small layer of topsoil, limestone, etc. That would be more like royal treatment.

    De-thatching should be done when it is needed to help remove compacted layers of thatch and let the turf grow in those areas again. It should also be done if you are going to seed. As I said before, grass seed won't germinate very well laying on top of a layer of thatch. And even those seeds that do germinate won't be happy. They need good clean soil to thrive.

    Adding aerating to the mix is just another great addition to the process. Turf experts recommend aerating 1-2 times per year as just standard maintenance. Aerating at this time (while doing a renovation) is about the best time to aerate. It will reduce compaction, bring nice soil to the top, and leave you some open holes for the new seed to grow in. It's not totally necessary. But it's a wise move and will give you better results.

    And that's exactly how you should present it to your customer. Sounds as if you have a customer who is balking at the price of doing it the right way. I'd tell them something like this, "Well, at the very least we need to de-thatch, overseed, and fertilize. New seed won't grow too well on this layer of thatch you have. That price would be $XX.xx. But I also highly recommend aerating at the same time. I know you probably aren't wanting to spend that much money right now. But let me explain why it's a wise investment.....It's important to aerate at least once every year anyway. If you don't, the soil will eventually become very compacted and your turf will look worse and worse each year as it has trouble growing in the compacted soil. It will become harder and harder for water and fertilizer to reach the roots, microbial activity - which is very important - will decrease, etc. You're asking me to help you make your lawn look nice. So I have to assume you want a nice looking lawn. This is a very important part of having a nice looking lawn. You should budget for aerating every year. But right now, as we're doing a renovation, is the best time of all to aerate. The price for aerating, de-thatching, seeding and fertilizing would be $YY.yy. And that's my recommendation."
  10. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 566

    All I can say is I really hope I can talk to my customers that well off the cuff, sooner rather than later. Very very well put.

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