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aeration and overseeding

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by t608, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 91

    At what depth do you set the tines on the aerator for over seeding? The local rental shop has only one setting of two inches. Is this to deep for over seeding?
  2. Tommy77

    Tommy77 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    3 inches is ideal , the goal is to pull as many plugs as possible while still being efficient financially. I overlap each pass by 50% on an average lawn but if it's hard soil you may need to go over it more to see better results.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,717

    Nobody knows. Would you mind? Try it and tell us what happens.
    I suspect that only one-inch deep would be just as good as 2 inches...especially if you went over it twice, or thrice.
    I would be interesting to compare different depths and numbers of passes. But...how do you tell the new grass from the old grass when you are trying to determine the percentage of "take".

    Also, there is some disagreement as to whether you should sow seed before or after punching the aeration holes.The thinking is that the soil cores then cover the seed, resulting in great germination. Not much seed actually falls to the bottom of the holes--even if it germinates--will it successfully establish itself?

    Or--is it most important to cover the seed with the cores? If you have lots of cores, isn't that the same as topdressing? If you drag it to break up the cores...would that be more effective?

    Same problem how do you estimate what percentage of seed actually "took". Easy if you started out with bare soil of course.
  4. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 91

    Would love to test this out, but at this time I don't own a aerator. I know from the last time I rented the aerator there was only one setting.

    I was kind of thinking when planting seed over a new area you are only raking the seed in, so the seed is only 1/4 to 1/2" inch deep. The same for a seed slicer. This is why I'm questioning the depth of the aerator. I know with the ryan and turfco you can adjust the height up to 2.75"
  5. Tommy77

    Tommy77 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Lots have customers have asked me "If seed germinates in the top 1/8 - 1/4 inch of soil then how will putting seed in a 3 inch hole work?". If the seed in the hole isnt covered with soil ( which it isnt unless you topdress ) Then seed that falls into in the hole is still on top of soil and with rain and some soil washing into the hole from the sides it gets surround with a little soil and germinates. That seed is not buried 3 inches deep. The goal of aeration is to alleviate soil compaction and bring oxygen into it ( which is why more/ longer plugs pulled equals more oxygen in the turf ) The plugs also break down thatch layers. Aeration is a great process for any lawn but the primary goal is to improve soil conditions. Its not a lawn installation so if your problem is more than a few bare areas then id look into putting down topsoil in the larger spots and reseeding.

    THIESSENS TLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 892

    My neighbor and I will be aerating, overseeding and topdressing within the next month sometime, so I will try and let yas know how it goes and what the results are....
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I agree that aeration is for the soil,,, not seedbed...
  8. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    1/2 inch plugs are good enough regarding seeding. But charging a customer for actual aeration >>> 2 inches or deeper is best. We've had the best results spreading the seed first -- then aerating multiple times. Mowing the grass short beforehand also helps.

    Inserting grass seed into hard/dry soil with a slit seeder/drill seeder offered the poorest results for us. Kinda like planting a tree and not digging the hole big enough & amending the soil. Preparing the soil/seed bed is recommended for sure.

    NOTE: Hydro aerrators come in very handy for seed jobs, cuz you can aerate fwd & rev in order to work up the soil/prepare the seed bed. We prefer the XT5.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  9. Tommy77

    Tommy77 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I wish everyone knew that aeration is maintenance and not loophole to a brand new lawn for 1/10th the price. Every fall i get calls from under-educated and over-opinionated home owners asking if i guarantee perfect results from aerating / overseeding a 10,000sq ft lawn for $200. I explain to them that it's is more of an " oil change" than a " new engine ". I actually had a customer call me out to his 8,000 sq ft lawn with 4 50 foot tall maples . The lawn was 50% roots and rocks and 50% grass he said " I read an article explaining that if i kill the lawn with roundup then aerate and overseed it will fill in all the bare spots , do you guarantee your work? " i told him he needed top soil and a new lawn or i wouldn't be able to guarantee it . He went with a major lawncare franchise who promised him the world from aeration then called me next spring to complain about them and how it didn't work and he still refused my suggestion of a new lawn. He insisted they aerated it "wrong".

    Some people don't want the answer , they want to think that a generalized article on lawncare they spent 3 minutes reading is worth more than your years of experience in the field. These people are destined to be true-green customers :rolleyes:
  10. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 91

    If a customer needs their lawn to be overseeded then that is what I would be charging for, so If I was to aerate at 1/2 deep because I felt the seeds germinate better then that is what I'm doing. As long as the customer is Informed. But then we don't know what depth is best for overseeding.

    I think I will slice the seed in for this job for two reasons. One I have a slice seeder and two the customer has a sprinkler system. Some heads are not that deep.

    I'm going a little overboard but, I could flag the system out, aerate at 3" deep then slice seed. I'm sure that would give great results.

    Back in my plumbing days we had a couple customers that were bookworms. These people had no glue on the job to be done but they sure felt what they read was the right way.

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