Power Seeding vs. Aeration

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by sidepipes, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. sidepipes

    sidepipes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I had previously thought that power seeding was always better for seed germination. I made a single pass with the aerator on a lawn Sept.29 and then power seeded the same. I just made a return visit and the tufts of grass poking through the aeration holes are very noticeable. The grass coming from the slits from the power seeder are very sparse.

    Another lawn that I aerated and power seeded it was the opposite effect. I'm thinking it was the type of soil on the first lawn. Which was more clay.

    As anybody else experienced this?
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,665

    Opinions vary widely. I tested the idea and I got better germination if I actually seeded before the aeration. Seemed to cover the seed with soil more effectively. What kind of grass did you use? How deep were the cores?

    Anybody else have good results? Has anybody seen side by side university tests?
  3. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    If you seeded then aerated how much damage would you do to the seed? OR am I wayyyy off base here?
  4. Reliable 1

    Reliable 1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I tried something different this season. What I found to be very effective for me was broadcasting the seed BEFORE aerating and then following up with a second broadcasting of seed immediately afterwards. The seeds were part of the plugs and germinated along with the seeds that fell in the holes....never got the "spiked" effect. BTW this was with a lawn that had been totally killed with Roundup.
  5. sidepipes

    sidepipes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I used fescue seed. I used a bluebird aerator. The ground was soft and cores were about 1 to 1.5 inch. I aerated first and then used the power seeder. My thinking was that the power seeder would help to break down the cores.
  6. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Every seeding operation is going to be different with different results. There are just too many variables to deal with. All you can do is try to get good seed soil contact, some cover and a good after care program. Unless you want to do it the really correct way. Which is soil test with plugs from every 100 sq ft then getting a fert or soil amendment as indicated from the test. Then you do all the seeding operation and after care.

    Since we do not do all the testing what you did was about as good as it gets. I would suggest you make more than one pass with the aerator. The more holes and the more you disturb the soil the better. Then put down your seed and run the verticut or power rake over the lawn. The holes are excellent for germination and the verticut / power rake will break up the cores and move seed / soil to the lower spots on the lawn (where usually there is not plant growth). The aftercare program is as important as the seeding.
  7. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    good post turfco bob, by the way, missed you at GIE.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,665

    Good question. If you sow seed first with a broadcast spreader--how may seeds would be killed by the tines of the aerator?
    Simple: if you have 5 seeds per sq inch, and the seeds average a eithth of an inch long and the tines were 1/2 inch in diameter, the circumference C would equal pi times the radius...
    Well, maybe I should have paid more attention in ninth grade. Maybe I can get my kids to help me with this one.
  9. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Do not worry about it. The tines on the aerators are too dull to cut the seeds in half. But they may by chance push the seed into the ground.

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