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Aeration opinions

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DaleL, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. DaleL

    DaleL LawnSite Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 49

    I have a new account that has a serious thatch problem, so much so that the lawn looks mostly 'dead'. Rain, nutrients, oxygen - nothing gets to the root zone even though we have had a decent summer with regard to rain. Opening up the root zone by core aeration will help and in most cases, dramatically. I have never done a core aeration in the summer months because I was told that the roots will not mend/repair as well as they do in the fall. In a situation like this lawn, will I damage it by going ahead with the aeration now rather than waiting for September? Feedback appreciated.

  2. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    It's time for a judgement call. True that recovery is not as good during summer months, and aeration can open surface for more rapid drying in summer. But if you cannot get water to soak in, an aeration will help to accomplish that.

    If you judge that water percolation is that critical right now, aerate. But then you must watch for drying - may need more irrigation.

    If thatch is that bad, it can take a few years of multiple aerations to effect decent remedy. Depends on client expectations - you may be better off to kill it, cut away thatch, and start over with proper management of the turf. Can you identify why the thatch problem occurred?
  3. DaleL

    DaleL LawnSite Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 49

    Young lawn, maybe 2 years old. Sod. Yes, over time aerating will break down and control thach. Thanks..;)

  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    If it can be watered Dale, I would aerate it hard (double, even triple) coverage. Then overseed well at about 6 or 7 lbs per k sq/ft. Fall would be a better time to do this, but we have been getting pretty good rain so far this summer.

    Like Jim said, it's a judgement call. And more than likely, you will want to repeat this process again next spring.
  5. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    Do it now. One pass should be fine.

    At least by doing it now you can prevent further summer damage and get some that is damaged to recover. Water every day after the aerating for a week.

    Doing now and the lawn recuperates. Less of a repair job scratching it out and seeding.

    Then earate again with some seed in September.

    Can also aerate in the spring, but once the thatch is gone spring earating is useless. IMO.
  6. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    you will be fine as long as the property gets water. We have done 4 this month cuz of the same problem. Thatch was so thick and even thou the customer was watering hard the grass looked dry and was almost dead. You could see the thatch was soaked heavy but cutting it open and exposing the soil revealed rock hard, dry dirt. We 2x aerated and had the customer to continue watering hard and within a week the lawns looked 200% better. No fertilizer, just opening the thatch. These were all in the same neighborhood on the same street.
    So the moral of the story is that it is not the best time of year to aerate, but in special cases it can be done.
  7. DaleL

    DaleL LawnSite Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 49

    :D :D :D
    You guys are great! Thanks for the replies...I'll go ahead with it and will report back in a few weeks!

  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    WHOA, DaleL. "Young lawn, maybe 2 years old. Sod. Yes, over time aerating will break down and control thach."

    You could have a serious cultural problem on this site. Has the sod rooted well into the native soil? It sounds you might have minimal rooting, and all growth activity is actually above the soil, in the thatch layer, consequently increasing the thatch. Aeration will not correct such a problem. You may need to identify and correct the cultural practice that is causing the problem.
  9. Sounds to me as the sod has died or gone dormant, and aeration will do no good for this.

    You have a shallow root system, and the water is going past the sod. I have had similar problem on new lawns in the past, shorter more frequent watering was the quick solution, as with more frequent fertilizer apps, at lower rates (spoon fed)....

    This may not be your particular problem, but with they way sod is placed now a days, they don't do a good feeding.

    Let the lawn go, then 1 month from now, you will be able to aerate and over seed the lawn and have better than the sod in 3 months from now.

    In the mean time, get a soil test, that will kill 2 weeks of your wait.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    in southeast pa we are having a building boom. they come in sell off all the topsoil build houses and push around what is left with a bulldozer and call that terrafirma. good for nothing weeds don't even grow then they throw sod on top,cash the check and run.
    i am left to fix it the customers already mad that they spent half a million on a house and sod and i tell them to get out that check book and pay some more.
    take a soil sample if u can even get the probe in the ground ha ha. i slit seed the sod because i cant get an aerator to penetrate the clay soil under neath than i add organic fert, sand, lime if needed and heavy seed 8lb. per 1000 and lots of water.
    each month a little fert, sand and some more money for me. in the fall when wet i core aerate 2-3 pases over the yard and seed and sand again if needed and another soil sample. this goes on for three seasons if they want a green lawn. this does work but it cost so sell the whole program not just 1 app.

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