Fall thatch and/or aerate

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Acute Cut, Aug 23, 2000.

  1. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 980

    Ok all. Here is the deal. I bought a new thatcher and new aerator this week. I am ready for the fall $$$$ to come RUSHING in! (Well, i can dream cant i?)

    What do i push? Thatching? Areating? Both?
    What do i need to know about either for fall time? I am concerned that by thatching in the fall that it wont grow back and be bare all winter. I might lose customers that way. That would not be good. Well, maybe it would be good on the bad acounts. hehe.

    I have thatched once in the spring and it came back fast and nice. But even bad mowing comes back fast and nice in the spring.

    Thanks for your help on this.

    Acute Cut
  2. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,262

    I won't de-thatch. Its just too much of a mess to clean up. Aeration, now thats another story! I'll line up aeration jobs a week at a time and do them all on one day. If you aerate yearly you"ll reduce the need to de-thatch.
  3. You sell a lawn renovation package.

    1. Thatch removal
    2. Aeration
    3. Apply starter fertilizer
    4. Test pH apply lime if needed
    5. Overseed bare and thin areas (by hand)

    Sell results but don't get to technical with a homeowner.
  4. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    i ussually put a starter fertilizer down after i aerate and seed but this year i wouldnt dare. Any more growth and ill have to cut my yards every 2 days!
  5. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 980

    but will it grow back to fill in all the bare spots created by thatching? I mean before winter starts up. Spring i know it will, but what about fall?

    Acute Cut
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    This is just me but I do all my thatching in the spring. You can do it with the renovation like Larry said above but I get much more by selling thatching in the spring, fertilizing during the year and now I'm starting to sell aeration for the fall.

    I have found that the thatch is easier to pick up in the spring when the lawns are brown since there is less moisture content in the blades. I vacuum all my thatch up with the Walker and usually dump it on the curb or charge a lot more to haul it away.

    It must be a area thing but no one thatch in the fall here. Check around with guys in your area and see if they are thatching. Good Luck.
  7. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    mow ed,

    I have found the same in my neck of the woods. Most people and most landscapers prefer thatching in the spring. Usualy I try to push it in the fall (less competition from weeds for the new seed and no chance of crabgrass). This year with all the rain we have had in the east, there is very little renovation work, so I am pushing the aeration, as long as the thatch buildup isn't great.

    Does anybody lower their cut before aeration and seeding and skip a week for the seed to set, or carry on as normal?
    It's funny, but some customers will complain that they will want it cut shorter all the time if I do it once, and others will complain that I sucked up all the seed that I just put down !

  8. SJR Lawncare

    SJR Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Im In Maryland, & heres what I do in September:
    1. Cut lawn short
    2. De-thatch
    3. Aerate
    4. Spray lawn with Trimec plus broadleaf weed ctl.
    5. Seed
    6. Top coat with Compro or orogro

    It may seem a little early to do this, but I need the new grass to set in before the leaves fall, because seed & baby grass dont take too kindly to a 250 mph blower during leaf removal.

    SJR Lawncare
  9. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    SJR -

    Keep the weed killer out of your plan and you'll be OK, otherwise people might wonder why the seed isn't growing. Maybe you are spot spraying, so it probably hasn't affected you terribly, but be careful. We have better luck with Drive75, it is labeled for use on the newly seeded turf. New this year, we've been dabbling with a tow behind topdresser for some of the bigger areas. We spread about 50 yards over a football field last week, first we aerovated, then seeded, topdressed and dragged it. Its growing pretty well now.

    Typically in the Fall we'll aerate, overseed, and topdress (lightly by hand if needed) for any of our accounts which need the service. We end up doing the renovation work mostly on non-regular customers, as a one time deal, or for other companies who don't have the equipment. Most of our lawns get aerated once or twice per year as part of regular maintenance to begin with. And, yes, that Walker works great to pick up after thatching. We use the JRCO tine rake in the Spring on the Walker for a light thatching before Pre-emergent applications. This works well too.
  10. SJR Lawncare

    SJR Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Thanks SLS,

    I do only spot spray the weeds. I'll check out the Drive75
    for newly seeded lawns. Where do you get that? I do appreciate the advice, I'm always learning.

    SJR Lawncare

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