Muddy plugs left behind after core aeration

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by JoeinClemmons, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. JoeinClemmons

    JoeinClemmons LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hello all,
    I had my lawn aerated yesterday by a well respected local company that happens to be owned by my two brothers and myself. I am a silent partner. They have been in the business for years, but just added core aeration services this fall. I know it is best to leave the plugs behind, and they did so. The problem is that the plugs are moist, as they asked me to water the lawn before they came. They told me that I used just enough water and that the plugs came out perfectly. As they were aerating, they were continually stepping on plugs and turning them into thick mud. In some places, multiple plugs were smashed down and looked like big mud pies. This mud is trapping my healthy grass underneath it. It doesn't look like it will be drying or disintegrating any time soon. Won't this mud permanently kill the grass underneath it? (I tried raking this mud away but the grass beneath is stuck in it. That mud isn't going anywhere). Years ago, I was digging a hole and inadvertently left a couple of shovels of dirt on top of healthy grass. A week later that grass was dead and never grew again. Isn't this the same thing? Am I worrying about nothing? I picture my lawn with a hundred bare spots..right where those "mud pies" are now. I would appreciate the opinion of someone other than my brothers, so that is why I am writing here. Thanks to all who answer!
  2. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    The plugs aren't big enough to kill anything. (Shouldn't be anyway) Watering the lawn maybe wasn't the best idea either.

    I loved your first sentence in your post. I'd like to think I'm well respected too!!
  3. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,115

    The grass should be fine unless your brothers were using the aerator like a roto tiller. If bothers you, scratch the grass with a leaf rake when the plugs dry
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I've aerated plenty of muddy lawns and as long as there wasn't too much mud they didn't hurt anything... just let it dry before watering again... :)
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,161

    And all these years I thought the only grass in Kearny was in the marshes. :)
  6. JoeinClemmons

    JoeinClemmons LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Thank you too all who replied! I really appreciate it. I should have mentioned that the lawn in question is in Clemmons, NC. My brothers operate their business out of locations in Kearny NJ and Winston-Salem NC. So the plugs are almost all clay. I would describe the color as far more orange than brown. Perhaps this is why they aren't going away. Tomorrow will be 10 days since the aeration and they haven't changed in composition at all. If I wait a few more weeks, will they start to break down? Another thing I should mention is that the lawn tech they sent over here made, literally, 8 to 10 passes over the same areas of my lawn. I wasn't here at the time or I would have told him that he was overdoing it. My wife was here with him and she thought that was a typical number of passes to make. You can imagine how many plugs were left behind. As he continually trampled large groups of plugs, they formed "mud pies" as large as 10 inches in diameter in some spots (and I am not exaggerating). My healthy grass is trapped underneath. I gave it a while to see if anything would change and nothing did, so today I carefully raked away some of the plugs to unveil my healthy grass . Problem is that the raking method does pull out some healthy grass because the plugs are stuck to it. I know that it is supposed to be healthy for the plugs to be left on the lawn, but the fact that they are clay, have be squashed together and formed into such large chunks of mud, and haven't even begun to decompose, leads me to believe that they aren't going anyplace if I don't rake them away. I wish that I could better describe the quantity. You cannot even see the grass in many places of my lawn.

    Just wanted to post this update and say thanks to those who replied. If anyone would like to add something else, it would be much appreciated.
  7. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    Court Martial them! lol They ruined your lawn! Go after that silent partner, he's the one with all the $$$. lol

    I've seen a few irrigation guys really tear up a lawn, mother nature will take care of it.
  8. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,135

    If plugs are left that do not break down, that my sign that the lawn needs a lot more help than aeration. Soil that is mostly clay will do that when the bases are not in correct ratios/concentrations. When I get the soil test back indicating that is the problem, the client is told not to bother aerating. It just costs money, makes a mess, and does nothing about what is causing the soil to compact. The money saved is better spent correcting soil chemistry.
  9. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,290

    That is what happens when one aerates. It is kinda the whole purpose.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    This is a great example of how the magical mythology about aeration,,, among so-called Pros,,, is so dangerous...
    I have a lawn that is so greasy from over-watering that the holes have not closed up adequately, after 12 months... wet clay is such a mess that I would only aerate to spread compost into the holes... when you're running over muddy ground pulling out muddy plugs,,, the idea of 'relieving' compaction is silly...

    Keep us informed as to how you lawn turns out... If the grass survives under the clay pies,,, we can learn something new... :)

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