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Core Aeration vs Liquid or a combination of both

FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE

LawnSite Member
Location
charlotte nc
Our fall lawn care process for years has been a soil sample test to find nutrient deficiencies then core aeration, overseeding (Tall Fescue), set sprinkler systems for 3 times/day for the first 2 weeks then reduce as needed. The results were terrific and lasted until the middle to end of August.

The last two years have been an entirely different story. The lawn is thick, lush, and dark green like a picture in a landscaping magazine. Now by June, it looks like it used to in late August. It is thin with sparse and bare areas and nothing seems to bring it back. We also started using Super Sod's Soil 3 Humus Compost mix which they mix into the soil after aerating and before seeding. The entire process is a lot of work (expense since we have a lawn company) for 2 months of green grass.

We have both high sun and shade. The front yard has a lot of sun until noon then shade sets in. The back yard gets some sun in the early morning but by mid-day, it can be brutal.

Last week I received a mailer advertising liquid aeration. After reading some articles from NC turf File and Cornell, studies on Liquid vs Core it seems that both have benefits. Since we have heavy clay soil I don't think we can eliminate core aeration. However, I'm wondering if adding liquid aeration would be beneficial or overkill.

Also, any thoughts on why our lawn is deteriorating so quickly in the Spring would also be appreciated.
 

agrostis

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Winston-Salem NC
This happens to cool season grass's like Fescue every summer in most of NC. It is not a new phenomenon at all. Some years are worse than other's, but generally all cool season plant's in this area suffer from June thru August. Fescue can take some heat but the humidity around here is just too much. We are in the middle of what's called the "transition zone" (look it up) Your situation is a classic example of that. I really think that from Charlotte on South it should be all Bermudagrass.

Liquid aeration is a joke against red clay. It may work on perfectly constructed sand profile's in a lab but not here. Stick with making holes. Can you post any picture's of your lawn?
 

takervader

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Alabama
Liquid aeration is something I don't have anything against, the stuff can help the lawn in the long run. Usually its a humic product, seaweed, etc. But it doesnt do much as far as aeration

When you really need aeration, you need to core it til it looks like swiss cheese.
 

Chineau

LawnSite Member
Location
Manitoba, Canada
I own two aeration machine full disclosure.
this liquid you speak of how does it create a better path for air and nutrient to get into the grass plant? Over time you are creating a better path and root zone by core aerating. do you top dress after aeration how often do you over seed?
what is your fertilizer program?
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
I think you need to upgrade your lawn seed. Try to find a premium tall fescue that has brown patch resistance plus lateral-spread. Be sure to include some quality Kentucky bluegrass at 10 percent. Together this should result in a lawn that is more dense and will self-repair--thereby remaining tighter.
Be sure it is on the NC /State recommended list--and on the A-LIST. Seed in fall when temperatures fall below 85. Try for 8 weeks before frost.
Fescue will grow fine on clay soil, if it is moist. The liquid aeration should work.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Insist on sowing LS type seed varieties. (Lateral spread--good creeping ability).


To reduce the chance of fungus disease, like brown patch--avoid fertilizer in hot weather. Also, try to reduce the average humidity. Water infrequent and deep. Twice per week--never at night--about a half-inch at a time.
 

Gus McGee

LawnSite Member
Has anyone seen some actual some actual legitimate science behind liquid aeration? Not claims made by salesmen.
 

Triton37

LawnSite Member
Location
Metro Detroit
Has anyone seen some actual some actual legitimate science behind liquid aeration? Not claims made by salesmen.
Hi Gus, I've been on here a long time but am usually working so hard to keep up so to qualify, I'm not a salesman! We started using a bio-aeration cocktail this June. I first tested it by shutting off our irrigation for 1 week with mid 80 temps and then applying the cocktail the following week and did not water for 3 weeks so I could see what would happen if I had a client not do their part. We were blown away. We only treated on one side of our driveway leaving the other as our untreated control to compare against. We had big time results. Typically we see yellowing grass along the asphalt roadside even when we were irrigating but after this treatment we had no issues whatsoever for until late July but even then it was still way better. I heard about the seaweed kelp and humic acid products but this is not those. The soil actually softened below and was noticeable after 3-4 weeks. I then rolled it out to all our clients this past fall doing 300 jobsites without using machines unless we had over seeding projects. I can tell you that homeowners loved the fact that there was no more mud especially with kids home and they were working from home. No frustrations! For us, I was tired of the damages caused by my new hires who were not being careful enough and then machines stuck after heavy rains. We switched from low production numbers around $1,000-$1,200 per day to achieving $2,500-$3,500 per day with just one guy of course AND no more follow repairs!
I would contact Banner Sales and Consulting if you're interested in knowing how these products work. We have just sent out our renewals for 2021 with only bio aerations, now selling my machines this winter because I can use my Zsprays to perform bio-aerations as well.
 

jetson

LawnSite Senior Member
The main issue we see around here with spring and fall being lush and summer being not so great on the lawns is watering . We get crappy summers here also in the transition zone.. but we tell our irrigators to crank it up in July / august / sept. It’s just so dry and hot. Fescue can use 2 inches a week during high heat. Deep irrigating. Never used liquid aeration. We just stick to the basic core aeration. Also I would think NC would be more of a mix of warm season grasses also.
 
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