Aeration vs seed

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,807

    Do you plan to aerate and sow seed this fall? Will you be forced to do it for the first time?
    Does aeration prepare an adequate seed bed? Should you apply the seed before or after aeration? (Remember if you apply the seed first, many of the cores will fall on top of the seed--resulting in good seed-to-soil contact).

    I used a 3/4 inch soil probe and "aerated" to a measured depth. Four holes for each depth. 6 inches apart. And then put a pinch of seed into each hole. (Scotts "High Traffic", (high in Silverdollar perennial rye).
    I used 1-inch, 2-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch, and 5-inch deep holes.

    Weather is 88 today, but the area is irrigated. 10 minutes with spray head--every day. Soil sandy.

    What do you expect the results to be? Stay tuned.

    I then calculated the area seeded. If I had used a spacing of 3 inches, I found I would punch 16 holes per sqft, and I calculated the area at about 0.44 sq inches per hole. That is 4.9 percent (about 5 percent) of the area would be holes. Sounds like only 1 seed in twenty would fall in a hole.

    Thinking about other methods to try.

  2. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    if this weather pattern we're stuck in continues, we won't see core size like that, hell, the aerator will probably just bounce across the lawn. lol
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The seed should germinate rather quickly from down inside the hole... the big issue for the future is: Will the crown be buried and eventually kill the grassling???
  4. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Aeration before seeding is a very good practice and the more holes the better. Also some of us mfgs. put a shallow and deep settings on our Aerators just for this purpose. You really only need holes and inch deep to accomplish what you want for seed bed prep. Also I would advise you get a verticut machine and after you spread the seed and aerate you verticut the lawn. This will cut slits in the thatch layer and into the soil, it will break up cores and stir the seed and dirt together into the canopy you create. Then when you hit it with water it will wash the dirt and seeds out of the canopy and will go the low spots; such as slits, holes and bare spots in the lawn. The Canopy will also serve as UV protection for the new plants.
  5. MikeInMKE

    MikeInMKE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Thinking about other methods to try.

    1) Top dressing.

    2) Garden weasel / grass stitcher
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,807

    Using a 13 inch flowerpot, I cut aeration holes with a 3/4 inch soil probe. The "soil" was a commercial topsoil--which turned out to be mostly an organic waste residue of some kind. Rice hulls or something similar. I made a hole for depths of 1,2,3,4 and 5 inches. I added a pinch of seed, (Scotts high Traffic, which is high in Silverdollar perennial rye). Watered with rainwater collected earlier. Temperatures were high, 90 or above during the day and about 70 at night.

    At day 6 new grass seedlings were visible upon peering down the hole. Except for the 4 inch deep hole which had collapsed. Seedlings were about a half-inch tall, at most.

    Stay tuned. I am not sure what will happen next.
  7. Brett Thomas

    Brett Thomas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    We already have a aera-vator and looking to buy a tractor with turf tires soon to use on the large hoa properties. Also going to use a z-plugger to aerate then seed.
  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I agree with Small and Mike here. If over seeding is the purpose there are better things to do besides aeration or aearation alone.

    Aeration is mostly for compaction.
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,807

    The original test with the aeration holes and seed in thick Kentucky bluegrass (and fine fescue)was checked. I went outside and was on hands and knees checking looking for seed germiantion progress by staring down tiny holes in the turf with flashlight in broad daylight with temps at about 93. The holes were actually hard to find. Hard to see. My neighbors were starting to stare so I got a bit self-concious and came back inside. LOL! I could not see much. I will perhaps try again at high noon (1 pm daylight time)...or...maybe use a mirror to reflect light down the hole. No photos of this.
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,807

    The results of seeding in aeration holes a flowerpot on organic "topsoil" were visible at 8 days after seeding. Temperatures were hot...over 90 most days. Tallest seed sprouts were about one-inch tall. Sprouts were visible in all of the holes. 1 inch, 2,3,4,and 5.

    What will happen?

    More later.

    Waiting for results on a simliar test conducted on an outdoor site in thick turf.


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