Aeration w/seeding...are we snake oil salesmen?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GarPA, Oct 4, 2003.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Sorry to be talking about aeration so much lately but I just got back from walking my dog and we had to come back thru my back yard. I aerated it yesterday . 2 passes. Didn't get the seed down yet. Every fall/spring I wonder to myself why we tell people how great it is to overseed with aeration since the holes are there for the seed. Well I just took a long look at my turf. WHAT HOLES?? WHERE? 80% of them are covered with soil cores. No question how important aeration is....I just wondered if any of you ever had this same thought? Need to be prepared when some customer asks me the same ? and I go ummmm ahh..gee...

    Saying that the seed will go down when the cores decompose doesn't quite cut it in my book.
  2. Clean Cut Lawns

    Clean Cut Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    you have to give it a lot more than to passes if you want to get results with broadcast over seeding. The best is to do it with a slit seeded, that soil to seed contact is the key.... with out that you might as well just take there money and do nothing:rolleyes:
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    well if you saw what a Lawnaire 28 does with 2 passes, you wouldn;t want to see a third pass if it were your lawn. Unless I've missed something all these years I think many of us are doing 2 passes then overseeding. Actually most of the lawns where we are doing 2 of these per year are looking very good. Your point on the seed/soil contact is certainly valid
  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Overseeding just to overseed is a common scam. Usually not necessary in cool season turf. A pure KGB lawn will recover on its own from average problems by next Memorial Day, which is about the same time you'd see real improvement from overseeding. Now if you are dealing with TTTF, fine fescue, or rye, and there are significant damages or weaknesses, an overseeding can be useful.

    Overseeding is more a regular function in southern and transition zone turf. In deeper south, overseeding in fall with a C3 grass type will maintain green through the winter. In transition zone, overseeding C3 turf each fall helps to replace the plants lost to summer heat, and thus maintain turf density.

    And an overseeding by just a broadcast application over an existing lawn will result in roughly just a 15% survival rate. Will get better rate with seeding after core aeration, but I've never seen specific numbers. A slit seeding gets a success rate near 65%. If I am overseeding for some good reason, I will aerate (3 to 4 passes), then slit seed. Seed to soil contact is the key to successful germination and survival in turfgrasses.
  5. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Although my experience is limited, I would have to disagree. I core aerated and overseeded (broadcast spreader) my friends lawn this spring and his grass came in fine.

    My nephews neighbor just had his lawn core aerated and overseeded by one of the big spray companies (Chemlawn I think) and his lawn was very bare. A few weeks later, he has a grass lawn now.
  6. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    You dont really want the seed down in a 3 inch hole anyway. As the top cores break up and decompose, they make a great medium for new seed germination. This is the aim of aerating and overseeding.
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    GarPA, your two passes with an LA-28 is probably better than my 4 passes with a Lawnaire IV.

    A lot of fall overseeding is overrated because the seeder is pushing a high profit function, and some people have seen supposedly great results. However, I have seen numerous lawns where the client is hopping up and down thrilled because the new seed looks so fabulous. And what he is really seeing is just the existing lawn recovering in the cooler temps of fall, LOL. With a very few new grass plants from the seeding.
  8. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    If I remember right, the literature that came with my Ryan V told me that on a second pass, you get only 3% more holes than on one pass.

    The cores I've been pulling have been falling nicely about the lawn, and there are plenty of holes about.

    Slit seeding works well from what I've seen also. A fellow LCO totally renovated a whole lawn in a matter of weeks by slit seeding and the lawn looks great.

    Scam or not, when a client asks me to overseed the lawn after an aeration or whatever, I'll do it. Adding seed to a lawn certainly won't hurt the yard, and I'm not in business to turn down work or money. Taking some crazy high road and turning down a client's request gets me no money, while the next LCO to come along that will do the overseeding will be getting paid. You can't pay the bills with self satisfaction.

  9. Haley Lawn Care

    Haley Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 119

    I heard that 3 seeds per hole was average on an core aerated yard. It seems that you would get more into the hole but I never counted. Anyway I have seen good results when I core aerated and overseeded yards. And the customers want it done so if I dont do it then they are just going to find someone else who will. Also I tell them to be sure to keep the lawn damp for 2 weeks.

    David :)
  10. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    I don't believe everything the manufacturer says, LOL. Make one pass with a LA IV or LA V. Turn and go over the same path, and you get twice the holes if you run in between the holes of the first pass. I sight the gear reduction housing between the first lines of holes, or the right chain over the edge of the first line of holes.

    I'm not gonna redo the math, but then a diagonal pass will get you somewhere in the range of 95% new holes, and other diagonal will get you about 85% new holes.

    And if one wants to sell just to sell, there are easier occupations to do that in. Posting here in a public forum that one will do it to make a buck, because someone else will do it to make a buck, does not cast a very good light on our trade.

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