Aeration Results

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I'm not sure what many on this forum might mean when they say "a good lawn"... we see distance shots of high turf and think that it is 'a good lawn', but after mowing and looking straight down at the turf IS the true test of 'a good lawn'...

    I have never seen a double pass aeration(or less) that doesn't produce the doll hair effect...therefore, I begin to wonder if doll hair is better than what was there and is considered 'a good lawn'...

    When I chew up a bad piece of ground with an aerator, it is considered a renovation, not an overseeding... the ONLY reason I'm chewing up a particular area with an aerator instead of a tiller is becuz I'm aerating the lawn and a tiller is an extra project and a lot of money for such a small area... I can rake it smooth while sowing the seed, just as if it were tilled...

    The main difference between this type of renovation and that of a tiller, is that the tiller would certainly be able to loosen the soil much deeper and more effectively have grass sprouting in every sq. in. of soil...

    That is the main question of this post:
    How do you get every sq. in. of exposed soil to sprout seed with an aerator??? I'm reffering to the sq. in. between the core holes... :)
  2. This was from same lawn in 'Overseeding Advice' thread. How do you like the shoe?

    Maybe next year I will just rent a 'bluebird' turf rake/dethatcher instead of the weedwack scalp trick.

    Also, I have to admit I hit it pretty hard with the annual rye...perhaps a little more than what some would.

  3. jfoxtrot9

    jfoxtrot9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    smallaxe, you know by now that I am one of the guys that continue to state that aerating and over-seeding does improve a lawn. I also mean this from a couple of different perspectives.

    I am going to go over board here so that I am sure that we have an understanding of one another!

    First, I believe that annual aerating will improve a lawn that is being well cared for in the other aspects of lawn care by reducing thatch buildup (yes, REAL thatch, by definition) and by reducing compaction allowing new and healthy root growth and spread as well as open the soil to encourage nutrients to more easily reach the root zone. I have also seen lawns improve from this in just one season where it hadn't been done in years, prior. Again also considering that othert aspects of proper lawn care are being done (proper mowing, fertilizing...).

    I have also experienced quick improvement of lawns by aerating and over-seeding. First, lawns that may be just a little thin in areas by this method. But also, including this year, rather large areas of lawn that were damaged heavily by heat/drought or bug damage. Most lawns that I aerate and over-seed is just a single pass or two, if requested, and over-seed with 3 lbs per 1000k of a 50/50 blue/rye mix (until mid Oct when I gradually shift to more rye). Second, lawns that may be more heavily damaged I may aerate the area 2, 3, 4 or more times depending on the area and seed at 4-5 lbs per 1000k.

    When you go over an area where there is no grass or it is all dead anyway, 3 or 4 times, it chews the area up pretty well. It is almost like a mini tilling job. Just a few inches deep is the difference though. Plenty for new seed. You have holes, lots of chewed up soil and plugs that will be breaking down over the next couple of weeks. In the regular lawn or the thin lawn, you have the holes and plugs (again that will be breaking down over the next couple of weeks) of course.

    I fully understand what you mean by "doll hair effect" and I will grant you that is exactly what you get at first. But if you will just be patient and watch, you will begin to see grass sprouting up in between where the holes are too. As the plugs break down the seed in those areas are now under a little soil and too have some opportunity to germinate as well. And because as you know we are all fertilizing our customers lawns, probably way more than they could ever really need, there is plenty of nutrients to encourage our new grass to root well and spread!

    You seem to be a man with plenty of understanding and experience so I can only guess that you haven't really given a job like this the time to see results, used too little seed, no fert, bad time of year, I can only guess. As I just stated in another thread yesterday, God created grass to produce seed to just drop off right there with zero prepping of a seed bed and it has existed just fine for thousands of years.

    I will also grant you that this isn't always the best method, especially a large area that needs completely re-done. But I will say again, that aerating and over-seeding is a quick, easy and fairly inexpensive way to quickly improve a lawn. Especially if you compare it to other much more labor intensive, which also means expensive methods.

    Some of this, you have said in different words and we are in agreement as far as the difference between renovating and over-seeding. So maybe, we (myself included), need to watch how we use those words. They are not interchangeable of course.

    So, to answer your question! You aerate and over-seed every year, relying on the holes and break down of plugs to repeatedly produce more healthy grass plants that will spread until every square inch of lawn is completely filled! :)

    Then, you just aerate yearly to keep that nice thick lawn healthy with minimal thatch.

    I know this. I love aerating and love what it does for lawns. I do alot of it.:waving:
  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,987

    IMO seeding with annual rye and fescue are two different things. I see annual rye that will grow anywhere. The lawn doesn't even glaze to be aerated. I've also seen lawns that I double and triple passed with aerator and fescue wa. Still a doll hair look.

    Aerating and seeding is something that everyone does here. I've never seen any company with a slot seeder. So I feel selling slot seeding would be twice the cost of aerating. I wih I could sell slit seeding cause it really does a ether job on our fescue lawns that are almost all dirt and weeds after a long summer
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  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    With this new laptop I can't highlight certain sections of a paragraph, so I'll leave it as far as it has gotten...
    Anyways we are in agreement over just about everything you've said, and when you acknowledged the dollhair effect getting less and less over years, then you've made my point exactly...

    These constant photos telling the novice that aerating and overseeding accomplished this wonderful lawn, perpetuates the myth that aerating fills in a lawn wonderfully when in truth, you get the lame dollhair effect instead...

    BTW, I'm sorry if anyone got the impression that I believe aerating isn't a good thing... I believe in aerating big time and it is one of the few machines I use in my forest lawns... I'm just irritated by the "Look ma,,, no dollhair!!!" insinuations... :)
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You are correct about AR, according with my experiences as well... I sometimes toss AR into trouble areas that have not taken by late Spring just because I want something there to keep down the dust throughout the mowing season... No prep no cover, just wait for the irrigation/rain to come on...

    Your second point intrigues me somewhat... are you saying that amostly dead lawn is reseeded after aeration???
    Also,,, Why would renting a seeder cost twice as much as renting an aerator???
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Hmmmm, when I aerate and overseed I don't get the "doll hair" effect. Wonder why that is? Hmmmmmmm. :hammerhead:
  8. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,393

    I use LS spread fescue. Problem solved. It just fills in any spots. Plant a few seeds in the middle of a pot using soil from the site. Its amazing how fast those 7-8 seed fill the pot. Which leads to the question do you need that much seed for the lawn? * Proper watering, Fertilizer(organic) and compost applications create beautiful lawns.
  9. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    If u aerate enough, and seed b4 and after, it fills in perfectly.........but buried troll dolls are all too common with single pass.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It sounds like there is something that will have to have,,, before, during and after photos to demonstrate the magic touch...

    Aeration is good for overgrown thatch,,, no real dirt exposed that needs to fill-in... when that gets aerated, there are no dollhair effects,,, because there's no reason to seed...

    Maybe one of the nationally acclaimed gardening programs will do a bit of camera work on seeding lawns, overseeding lawns and when aeration becomes an asset... of course some know-it-alls will continue with their traditional mythologies and make unfounded claims with no logical reasoning behind it...
    People are free to believe what they want, but w/out a reason and a sound explanation as to 'why', then it simply becomes blind faith...

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