Aeration and overseeing?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by meets1, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    meets1: the intensity of use makes football fields are tough to maintain. I know you are looking for what is the best answer now - for this time of year. I definitely agree with the aerating you want to do. One football field that I know of here does some dormant seeding, using an Aeravator, more so on its practice field than its game field. It is a sand based field with irrigation (off now). I visit this field several times a year but do not do any work on its football fields. To be honest, I just have not seen results there that I find convincing. They use straight KBGs and a rather low seeding rate IMO, something like 100-150# for the entire field. The germination rate is low. I would guess it is in the neighborhood of 20%, meaning something like 20-30# of seed germinate over about 57M.

    If you can start moving them toward better care throughout the year I think your average weekly appearance will be much better than playing catch up in November. I also know it can be difficult to convince them this is what needs to be done.

    That said, the use these fields get from snow melt in Spring until mid-August is light. That is a lot of time to grow grass. Our choices for CG control are better now than they were just a few years ago and no longer preclude us from seeding in Spring. Siduron used to be our only too for CG pre-emergent while trying to germinate grass seed.

    If we could go back 45 days I would advise aerate and overseed then, even though the field was still in use. Do you know what types and amounts of fertilizer were used between August 1 and now? Ammonium sulfate is a good cool weather fertilizer for football fields. I did not use it myself this year but have in other years and know others in my area are using it every 2-3 weeks during the second half of their football seasons.

    I started on a new one for me in August this year. Prior to that, all they had done for Several years was water, mow, and paint lines. I posted several photos and a description of what I did here if you are interested.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Sorry,,, I was responding to foreplease earlier...
    I'm not sure why you want to aerate if the field is already tore up...

    Anyways,,, If you don't seed now,,, when will you seed??? Do you expect there is still a chance of germination and establishment in your climate zone yet this Fall???

    Prime time for cool season grasses here in the Midwest is Late Summer when the excessive heat is past... Football goes into Late Fall after irrigation is shut off... your opportunities are limited, so make the best of it... :)
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,812

    Good advice. And...apply plenty of seed...if conditions are less than perfect, this will insure a good germination and good thick stand of new grass. Its best to use a high-quality perennial rye that is suited to golf or athletic fields. Seeding rate should be around 8 pounds per thousand sqft. Explain the importance--and get the customer to pay for it of course. Tell them no guarantee if anything below 8 lbs per thousand.
    I suggest Fastball RGL. Overseed rate is 7 to 10 lbs per thousand, (tees, roughs, and fairways). (Up to 20 pounds for overseeding Bermuda greens in Florida).

    Try to use only newly developed modern varieties--something released after 2009. Do not use any seed that does not claim to have good traffic tolerance. Don't accept any seed that does not claim disease resistance. Don't accept any perennial rye that is not in the national top twenty in the NTEP trials. Check the bag label carefully for any sign of weed seeds like "Poa annua", and reject any seed whose label says "Other crop" (that means quackgrass).
  4. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,857

    Ok we are new contractors for the district. Started out strictly mowing. Then we were asked for some landscaping. Then some spot spraying. Then some seeding. Next thing we knew we were servicing everything but the irrigation system. Been working great for us working for them. So in the past the athlicte club did some fert and or spraying. The baseball coach did his own field but nothing on softball field. Part time janitor aerated the football field and overseeded - (rented equipment) Well now they want that done to improve things and want us to take care of it from here on out. So they are used to doing what has been done in the past but yet I hate to overstep to much as we have the mowing contract and everything is priced accordingly. Thing is crabgrass could be an issue in the spring --. So were trying to keep them happy but yet I understand things have to be done as weather permits or to get the most bang for your buck type of thing.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    So what if your Spring planting doesn't establish in time for the Pre-M??? CG preventer that doesn't affect real grass is expensive...
    Have they had CG problems in the past???
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,812

    I am trying to find out if perennial rye can be seeded in cold soil the spring...say about 3 weeks before normal greenup...say green up (and earliest sprouting of new seeds) is about April 8 around here, (so we would have to seed about March 15). And then, would the new grass be tall enough to withstand Dimension crabgrass control before crabgrass appeared...(which is about June 8 around here). That gives you 8 weeks. The timing for success would be critical.

    Your only other choice would be to apply Tupersan (siduron) on new grass in spring and follow up with Dimension. The short time of Dimension post-emergent effects might work...and if not, clean it up with quinclorac.
  7. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I was referring to Tenacity as post and pre control while enabling germination. I do not use pre-emergents on athletic fields as a rule - occasionally on baseball infields.

    Sidiron works great, gives a window of about 5 weeks to seed and get cover, but it is getting harder to find.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Concerning 'wasting money on seed',,, have we considered wasting money on excessive cost of the expensive pre-m,,, siduron... W/out irrigation the Springtime sowing is a crapshoot... even with our late snow melt last Spring we went a long time w/out rain before the ground really thawed entirely, let alone reach 50 degrees F.

    Seed put down after the snow melt would not have had much opportunity to settle in, absorb water and prepare for germination... Seed that spent the winter under the snow is ready to go once the soil temps and other factors are correct... The seed is absorbing water and getting ready to sprout and will do so with warm moist soil even w/out rain...

    Starting with dry seed and not getting adequate rain, not spending the extra time and money to get the seed covered and establishing good soil contact, is a real issue...
    Broadcasting seed is cheaper than slit-seeding or some other mechanic efforts...

    Just some comparisons to consider... :)
  9. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,956

  10. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    To me overseeding always means you are doing the whole thing. Anything less I refer to as spot seeding or repairs.

    Compacted football fields benefit from regular aeration - at different depths if possible. The fact that a field is worn out or already torn up does not mitigate this. If anything it provides an additional reason to aerate.

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