Is it a good thing to Aerate in November?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by SuperShovel, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. SuperShovel

    SuperShovel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Seems that the best time in the fall is during the time when seed takes best, August 15-Sept 15 in Michigan.

    I would like to sell my customers on aerating this year but I would be doing it in November. Some of the lawns really need it. Would it be a good thing to do? I could overseed with seed that would come up in the spring.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    In Michigan? When does your ground freeze? Have you had it below zero already?

    This could be on the regular commercial forum if you want many responses?
  3. SuperShovel

    SuperShovel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    hi Green

    the weather won't go below zero at least until late december or january I think. And the ground usually seems to freeze in December.

    I've found some answers since I posted. A lot of people here aerate in November, but I've noticed the professionals on this site are saying they aerate in september when it is prime seeding time. A friend of mine at JD Landscapes whos a lawn expert told me yesterday that overseeding an existing lawn is more forgiving as far as younger seedlings surviving the colder weather becuase they are protected by the grass around them. So I am going to go ahead and aerate and overseed in late october this year.

    Next year I'll plan on doing it in September.

    Any additional advice is welcome, thanks for your reply :)
  4. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Sounds good.

    Another guide I use is Thanksgiving is a good day to give the last winter fertilizer dose.

    Aerating in Spring or Fall. It's kinda six or half-dozen.
    Heck even summer is acceptable IF you have to help turf through the summer.

    Have you ever done a power rake for your lawn? If it's older than 10 years, a good power rake may help it too.

  5. SuperShovel

    SuperShovel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Thanksgiving sounds like a good landmark to use.

    You know I haven't done a power rake. I was going to thatch a customers yard this year. I went to the rental center that I always go to plus a couple more to learn about their "thatchers". Some of them even called them power rakes. But it turned out all of the rental centers rent out their machines with the metal bar attachment which in the opion of my friends at JD and my own does nothing but either destroy a lawn or not really kick out enough thatch. That would be good for a renovation I guess but not to thatch an otherwise healthy lawn.

    Just another difference between a professional and a homeowner going to the rental center. I decided with my customer that she could hire someone with proper equipment becuase I couldn't find any power rakes for rent. But her thatch isn't that bad and thatching can be stressful, so we are going to aerate twice a year and hope that solves it.

    I have heard of some type of product that breaks down the thatch, a chemical or a microorganism maybe. Have you heard of this?
  6. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Well, keep in mind thatch is plant material, so any microorganism are going to break it down at some point. But the problem is while it is being 'broken down' it is absorbing the water instead of the water getting to the roots, and it's other problems too.

    "Power rake" is normal term here.

    If you want to see if a lawn needs it, take a regular tine rake and go rake 5 feet of the lawn. HARD, use pressure to get the tines to soil. And pull it through 5-10 times in the same place. IF you pull up dead stuff it needs a good "power raking". Also just looking directly down at the grass, one should be able to see some soil. If you can't see any soil without pulling grass aside and DIGGING to get to the dirt, try the tine rake test.

    The steel bars are primary machine for that. (rectangle metal pieces that fly in circular patter while beating the turf.....

    Power raking doesn't stess the turf- certainly NOT more the presence of thatch itself. Think of a person who smokes. IF you could hold them upside down and magically SHAKE them so much that the crud in their lungs would dislodge and fall out of their lungs threw their throat & on the floor, would that stress them? Or would the renewed air flow benefit them more than the shaking would?

    I have hauled trucks loads of thatch from lawns less than 5,000 sq ft.

    Spring is the BEST time to power rake.
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Scratching the surface with a rake will only show surface debris, not thatch. A true power rake is a powered horizontal reel with vertical knives that will demolish a lawn, but that is the way to remove real thatch, if indeed thatch is a problem.

    The use of a vertical flail rake is mostly a cosmetic function. You're removing a lot of dead debris that would be completely decayed in a couple of months. SS, the flails do not do much damage to the turf, as long as you only make one pass.

    As on member so succinctly stated years ago on this board, "The purpose of dethatching a lawn is to get the customer to part with his money." LOL (Old thread)

    To accurately determine if thatch is a problem you must look under the surface. These pages will help you see how to look for thatch problems.
  8. Popsicle

    Popsicle LawnSite Member
    Messages: 189

    Tainio Tecnologies is where I buy my microbes and enzymes. They have a product called Microthatch.
  9. Green Quality

    Green Quality LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    I would say that early fall , give enough time to recover be fore winter dormancy.early spring aerating can have draw backs, such as bringing soil containing weeds,crabgrass. (timing) will eliminate this

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