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OK to Aerate 2 week before power-seeding

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by 1966vette, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. 1966vette

    1966vette LawnSite Member
    Messages: 209

    I live in Kokomo, IN & plan to dormant seed KBG after thanksgiving this year.
    I am eager to get started as soon as possible and want to know if it be OK to power aerator 2 weeks before I power rake and over-seed my 1 acre lawn?
    Thanks in advance for helping!
  2. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I would do it earlier the same day, or maybe the day before if I were you.
    The newer & fresher the soil cores, the more the power rake will be able to pick them up & grind them, & the better soil contact your seed will have as a result.
    If you do it 2 weeks before, rain & sun will probably substantially wear down a lot of the soil from the cores into the ground.

    That's the key to dormant seeding at the end of the day:
    Maximizing seed/soil contact at the surface.
  3. 1966vette

    1966vette LawnSite Member
    Messages: 209

    Hello Marcos!

    Thanks for the reply!
    I will plan to power aerate, power rake & seed durng the 1st nice weekend after Thanksgiving!

    Thanks Again!
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Aerating is more for the roots than a seed bed. Your power raking is going to accomplish your ends w/out aeration at all.
    Actually the concept behind dormant seeding is that the seed is worked into the soil under the snow, especially as the snow melts and freezes and the soil heaves and contracts.
    I believe it is a good idea to have the dead grass clippings in the base to serve as a mulch for the seed.

    Larger open areas of bare soil should be ripped open and the seed having an opportunity to imbed in the ruts. Powerseeding would be your best option then.
    There is no best option out there, it all depends on the soil surface, climate, etc.
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I hear what you're saying about the core aerator...:waving:
    But I think this guy's a homeowner trying to thicken up a stand of existing turf.
    So his resources are probably somewhat limited as far as equipment.

    And to be frank, thru the years I've seen quite a number of lawns come out looking like ch-ch-ch..chia! pets the next spring from a late fall double-aeration, followed closely an hour or two later by a slice-seeder not only to slice & drop seed, but also to chop up the cores to make the best contact w/ the seed.
    Mow fairly close B4 proceeding.

    In the neck o' the woods where I was raised, the term for applying seed before snowfall and/or before frost & freeze cycles is called frost seeding.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We had the chia look this early fall as well, in areas that are not making lawn very well. Each year they die off and the ground is bare once again. I don't know that seeding the area fails, because of tree root competition, shade, compaction, no-irrigation or what but I am pretty sure the chia clumps will be barren again. I would like to do a "real seeding", but I can't control the hoses on that place.
    I will try an early spring seeding in a particular area after the final clean-up, and rely on springs rains to get it going. My best method will not be aerating. :)

    Never heard the term "Frost Seeding".
    Sounds like something Jack Frost would be doing, because he's an evil little gnome. :)
  7. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    are you slit seeding or just broadcast seeding? If your slit seeding there is no need to power rake before hand since that will be accomplished with the slit seeder. Broadcast seeding i dont think you will get good results unless you plant the seed prior to aerating since the seed will be 2inches below the ground in some places.
  8. 1966vette

    1966vette LawnSite Member
    Messages: 209

    Hello Lukemelo216!

    I plan to rent a Billy Goat over-seeder - it is a power rank w/ a seed box in front. I can also rent a Bluebird over-seeder w/ the seed box in the back. Anyone know which unit is better - Billy Goat or Bluebird
  9. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    What are you trying to do? Replace the lawn you have or just make it thicker? For your info. Aeration holes make a great place for grass to get a start. If you aerate, seed and power rake right behind it you will get seed into the holes and get plants out of it. Consider this.. If you plant Bluegrass it will expand roughly 4 inches in a year and start more plants. Fescue will just put up one plant and not spread. So if you aerate the H$%^ out of it. Say get 10 to 15 holes per sq ft you can start a lot of plants. This will require many passes with rolling aerators as they put 6 holes per sq ft per pass. Bottom line is Aerate the h^&* out of the lawn seed either broadcast (If you broad cast you will have to slice it in or power rake it in.) Or you can just wait a day and slice seed. This will break up the cores making dirt of them and move the dirt and seeds into the holes. We did tests on this at Ryan back in the 1970s and it really works. I have actually taken my lawn from BG to Fescue by doing this several years in a row.
  10. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    never heard of that method before. Every company that I have talked to stands by not broadcast seeding following aerating. When the seeds fall into those 2 inch deep holes there is no light reaching them which will cause them to not germinate. Seeeds need an adequate amount of water, nutrients, light, and oxygen to sprout. They wont receive the needed amount of light that deep into the soil. Also if you get a heavy rain the water is just going to wash the seed ou of that hole.

    First get a good bag of starter fert and apply that to your lawn. Then I would aerate the lawn one way N to S or E to W doesnt matter. Then Take your slit seeder doesnt matter what brand. I prefer the bluebird but either machine will work. Put half the amount of seed you need in the machine so lets say you have a 10k lawn and it calls for 2lbs of seed per k thats 20lbs of seed your going to need. Anyways but 10lbs of seed in there and being to seed in your lawn going opposite of the direction you aerated. So if you went N/S make your first seeding pass at E/W. After you finish that pass fill the seeder up again and this time go at a 45* angle to your last pass so NW/SE and do that.

    In looking at the bluebird to the billygoat i like the looks of the billy goat becasue you can convert it to a dethatcher or an overseeder. Two machines in one. looks useful to me. If you wanted to go all out following aerating you could dethatch the lawn then over seed. If you go about that way. Dethatch NW/SE after Aerating then overseed E/W and NE/SW just make sure you slit seed two ways if you dont you will get the cornrow effect.

    I have done this to about 5 lawns this fall and had awesome results from it (Aerating/Slit seeding.)

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