Aerating question...

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by atasteofnature, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. atasteofnature

    atasteofnature LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    I was going to aerate one of my customer's lawns and she said that a few years ago someone else did that and because her back yard use to be a "rock garden" or gravely then it brought a bunch of rocks to the surface and then when she mowed they sucked up in the mower. Has that happen to anyone and should I tried to aerate her yard again or maybe use some gypsum to loosen her soil up as well? I was really wanting to next spring to aerate and overseed and fertilize to help her poor lawn out. Thank you for your time and I hope I can figure something out.
  2. cudaclan

    cudaclan LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Messages: 152

    Sucked the rocks out and spat them out the mower:laugh: More in the tune of poor soil quality and mower set on scalp-mode. Honestly, that mentality creates urban legends of earthworms sucked out of lawns. The best solution (minimal cost) is to add compost frequently. Gypsum will not remove the rocks. A poor foundation was established from the get-go.
  3. topdog

    topdog LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 205

    shouldn't ever use gypsum on a lawn per what i was told at Purdue's turf class
  4. karlgrooms

    karlgrooms LawnSite Member
    Messages: 140

    Why???? I've used soil conditioners that contain Gypsum.. Hope that I haven't been wasting money or time...
  5. atasteofnature

    atasteofnature LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    Most of that story was from her exprience prior so that is why it sound funny. It is one of those in town big city houses that have been there 50 years and was just trying to allow what little grass she had grow and then aerate to overseed for a better lawn and then get her on a fertlize program but maybe i am trying to hard. Though she does have a ugly, cracked, 2 foot sidewalk that i may have her talk into a brand new paver one from her garage that sits on the alley all the way up to her house. I don't know but thank you guys for all the advice. p.s. i have never have used gypsum but i work for a lawn company that lived by it to loosen the clay up so the grass would root into it better. once again thank you so much.
  6. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    Gypsum needs to be tilled in to the soil in order for it to be any help.

    I have aerated many rocky soil types and have never had a problem bring them to the surface. I can see how that can happen if the rocks are all ready at the surface. Use a soil probe to poke around in a few places to see how shallow the rocks are. If the rocks are that shallow, I could see why the lawn is in poor shape. Did they use a spike type aerator (crap) or a core type?
  7. atasteofnature

    atasteofnature LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    I am not for sure what was used. It was done by a home owner so I am sure it was something rented at low cost. So your saying when I go out to find one to use I need to make sure it is not a spike one but a core type?
  8. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    yes, spike aerators are not as common as they used to be. Cam driven tines are the best but are hard to find.
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I agree completly with mngrassguy.

    atasteofnature, you're not too far away from me in Indiana.
    I'm guessing you've got crummy clay-based soil, too. Right?

    Gypsum has been marketed for years and years by lawn care services as an agent to "break up clay soil".
    But in actuality, if it's NOT incorporated into the soil thoroughly, and it's just broadcast ONTO the soil...
    (or just lamely "aerated and broadcasted"...) the continued application of either granular or pelletized gypsum onto clay-based soils will likely contribute to problems associated with 'sheet washing' of valuable rain and / or irrigation water, off of the lawns and into the sidewalk / sewer.

    Gypsum has NO other benefit than does course sand, except for the nutrient calcium.
    We sure as hell don't need any supplements of THAT here in LIMESTONE-DOLOMITE country, now do we?!? :)

    So, therefore, if you feel inclined to "break up" the clay in this woman's yard;
    you'll need to be thinking of renovating, with the use of dry, COURSE sand as part of your overall operation.

    Also, when you renovate, there are special rakes / tools for filtering out stones, etc.
    As far as the soil profile is concerned, you're not going to get much of anything done "on the cheap" with a core aerator.
    And this woman's no doubt placing too much blame for her past turf problems on her past aeration, too!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  10. atasteofnature

    atasteofnature LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    Thank you very much. I will let her know that. Maybe we can make it a future project that she can budget for later. Maybe if I can do enough pavers and make her beds bigger then there will be less area to renovate for her. Thank you thank you so much and once again thanks for having a place to go. You guys have a great weekend and maybe see you at the EXPO.

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