Aerate, slit seed AND dethatch?

Benjy Weisenburgh

LawnSite Member
Location
Cincinnati
I’m one year into my new lawn and want to get my Fall maintenance off on the right foot. We built our home last year and moved in December. They seeded our lawn and laid down a biodegradable netting over straw and seed. A wet winter washed a good amount of the seed away giving us a first year thin and patchy lawn. Many thin spots have straw still laying over construction dirt.

Here are some pics.
https://imgur.com/gallery/5pFWVow

I need a recommendation on soil prep. I’m going to aerate, no question. I have hard packed soil with heavy clay content. And I’m planning on slit seeding to get the seeds into the dirt and to give it a good base in the soil. Do I dethatch to remove the debris? Or will the slit seeder pull enough up to let the seed through? Will the debris provide cover and hold moisture for the seed? Should I rake and remove the plugs after aeration or let them break down and provide more cover for the seed?

I’m thankful for any responses and recommendations.
 

sjessen

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Knoxville, Tn
You might aerate first, seed, then slice seed. Doing so will break up the cores and facilitate good soil seed contact. From the one picture I saw it doesn't appear you have a lot of thatch just some residual straw. Shouldn't hurt to leave it.

There are lots of products out there that promise to help break down clay. Honestly, I don't know whether they work or not. I am thinking of trying one called Clay Mend on a client's property to see if it helps.

Some would suggest using humid acid. Others would say add compost.

A lot of folks use mushroom compost in our area and it seems to help.
 

Mudly

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
OH
You might aerate first, seed, then slice seed. Doing so will break up the cores and facilitate good soil seed contact. From the one picture I saw it doesn't appear you have a lot of thatch just some residual straw. Shouldn't hurt to leave it.

There are lots of products out there that promise to help break down clay. Honestly, I don't know whether they work or not. I am thinking of trying one called Clay Mend on a client's property to see if it helps.

Some would suggest using humid acid. Others would say add compost.

A lot of folks use mushroom compost in our area and it seems to help.
Humic*
 
OP
B

Benjy Weisenburgh

LawnSite Member
Location
Cincinnati
You might aerate first, seed, then slice seed. Doing so will break up the cores and facilitate good soil seed contact. From the one picture I saw it doesn't appear you have a lot of thatch just some residual straw. Shouldn't hurt to leave it.

There are lots of products out there that promise to help break down clay. Honestly, I don't know whether they work or not. I am thinking of trying one called Clay Mend on a client's property to see if it helps.

Some would suggest using humid acid. Others would say add compost.

A lot of folks use mushroom compost in our area and it seems to help.
I was also thinking about a topsoil / compost top dressing. Thought it would help with the clay and hold moisture as well.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Hmmm...this is a bit of a problem. The straw and the netting is still there. That could be a bit of a problem. It would get caught in the power rake--probably. Aeration, same problem, maybe.
I suggest cut it very short. And then...
I think I would sow seed on top. Perennial rye with 20 percent bluegrass. Add starter fertilizer. Stay with top-quality seed. Go with a heavy seeding rate as not all will take hold. 7 to 10 pounds per thousand sq ft is normal--but if you wanted to double that, you would get better establishment and greater density.
Over the seed, a topdressing with a quarter-inch layer of soil would be good--however--this is a lot of work and requires a few tons of soil. In the end, water and plenty of it, is easier than soil. Plan to water twice per day for 30 days. Add a good fertilizer to get it off to a fast start. Additional fertilizer at week 3 and 6 is needed.
 
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