Aeration after Sod ?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by anthem, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. anthem

    anthem LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 22

    Have a question for anyone from a hypothetical point. Generally after laying sod on a new lawn, you don't aerate the first year. However since tall fescue struggled mightily this first year and by nature fescure doesn't really go down very far unless the soil is not compacted and aerated regulalarly. Also with sod (instead of seed), you have that straw layer in there that the sod growers use to encourage the fescue to grow into and take hold quickly. Unfortuntely that also works against the sod growing into the topsoil for two years as well.

    Anyhow, my crazy idea - has anyone aerated in the spring soon after laying sod to try and encourage deeper root growth. You would puncture the straw layer that the sod came with as well instead of waiting a couple years for it to decompose. Anyhow, just a thought and wondering if anyone actually went against the "dont aerate the first year" philosophy.
  2. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I've aerated in the FALL sodded fescue lawns that were laid in the SPRING of that year, with no problem whatsoever.

    If your sod could handle a manual two-arm 'tug test', pulling straight up, it could certainly handle core aeration!
  3. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    If you really want the sod to knit into the new inviroment quckly then fert and water ahead of the sod. That is right go onto the bare ground and fertilize and water the !@#$ out of it for a week ahead of time. Then make sure the ground is very wet when you lay the sod. The grass will by very dry from transport and thirsty. It will go after the water and nutrients quickly. Then you deep water every serveral days keeping the water soaked in past the sod will keep forcing the roots after the food and water. I have done it and it works.
  4. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    Take it one step further and aerate the soil before you lay the sod down. I did that on a golf green I rebuilt and it worked great. You could see the roots shooting down the aeration holes. Plus the loosening of the soil will give you a little bit of rootzone at the surface instead of having to lay it on compacted soil. If you are spreading topsoil before laying sod, the aeration may help but may not be worth the extra money.

    I see it sounds like you already had layed the sod but this is an idea for the future sod jobs if you are concerned with compaction under your sod.
  5. anthem

    anthem LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 22

    We usually till in compost into clay soil and then a few more inches of topsoil on top of the amended soil. The layer underneath is already fertile and nutrient rich. It isn't a fertilizer or water issue I'm concerned about as that is already taken care of. It's the fact that the sod grown in farms is on some sort of thick mat that doesn't decompose for awhile. That inhibits the fescue from developing deeper roots (especially since fescue doesn't like to go deep anyhow). Even in nutrient rich topsoil/compost blend, fescue sod won't go more than about an inch or two in the first few years. Whereas fescue grown from seed will have roots about 5" deep after two years and be much more drought tolerant. . .

    So. . . trying to encourage and facilitate deeper root depth for fescue sod and wondering what others may have done and what has helped or not. Thanks.
  6. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Here are fescue roots after 4 months in engineered soil. The soil was "made" for a 40 degree slope in Washington State and was almost 4 feet deep. The roots of the turf just loved it, obviously.
    This guy is named Hendrikus Schraven and has been making engineered soil for over 20 years. He can stablize slopes up to 60 degrees in this manner. It costs a pretty penny for his receipe though.
  7. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

  8. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Anthem, Be very careful in aerating new sod. Aerators tend to pick up the sod and break the roots unless it is grown in. I have seen sod a year old get rolled up or picked up by aerators, Rolling and piston type alot. You may want to look at a Verticut unit to slice thru the thatch layer that comes from the sod farm. New sod aeration is always risky.
  9. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Anthem, If the sod has taken root to the soil you can get away with aerating, just make sure . If you have compacted soil. You should be looking at the reason for the compaction in the first place and try to fix that before you lay the sod to begin with. Of cource water as appropriate at first till you have rooted the sod, then your plan should be to water deeply once or twice a week to get the roots searching for water. and to grow.
    Try watering for 20 mins.or what ever it takes to get the soil wet, just at the point of run off, then wait an hour or two and water again deeply as you can to encourage the roots to go deep in search of water. the first watering is to get the soil wet to let the second watering that day to penetrate the soil deeper. try that watering strategy. Cause if you water many times a week shallowly the roots will never go deep cause their water is right there. Also go beyond just NPK fertilizer don't forget your micros. I'm an organics guy but that's another story. You have to under stand soil, Compaction is usually is a result of many things. Think of soil as a living breathing thing not just dirt. Just like you are what you eat so is your soil.

    But to answer your question yes you can as long as the sod is rooted. And if you sodded in the spring by fall a aeration would be beneficial in my book for compacted soil underneath. also remember without a living micro biology in your soil its never going to open up correctly

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