Should You Areate In The Spring?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Wil22, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. Wil22

    Wil22 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    I called my Lesco dealer and he said I would not areate and seed in the spring.

    Then I heard others say the best time to areate is in the fall to allow the root system to develope. I followed the suggestions on this forum back in Oct. and found out about areating and with the help of a flyer from Soupy I went a made a little money.

    Now I'm coming through my first Winter and it's been pretty good here in NC with the temperatures this year.

    Now my question is should I areate and seed in the spring or wait until the fall?
  2. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,475

    If you aerate and seed you cant put down most pre-emergents for three reasons. pre-emergent stops the germination of grass seeds; (2) its hard on the exposed roots from the aerating; (3) its hard for new grass seed to survive that first summer becuase the roots arnt established enough.

    But you can still do it if you explain it to the customer. payup
  3. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Messages: 784

    its not recomended practice to aerate anyway because it increases compaction. pluggers are the best to use and compaction will kill anything that tries to go in compacted soil. the roots cant get water or air.
  4. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0


    Im confused by your statement that aerating increases soil compaction...
    Can you back up your statmentwith some type of research? You must be thinking of spike aerating.
    One of the biggest benefits of aerating is to decrease soil compaction.

    The others are:
    Reduced water runoff due to soil compaction
    Breaks up thatch
    Increases Water infiltration
    Increases Nutrient infiltration
    Increases Oxygen supply to roots
    Encourages deeper root growth

    Knowing the benefits of aerating it would seem that aerating is more beneficial to the lawn in the spring than it is in the fall.
    Personally we do both times of the year but we sell more aerations in the spring than in the fall.
  5. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    Working on the assumption you are talking COOL season grasses --

    I have found aerating int he Spring to be fine -- it is much easier to sell in the Spring -- That is for sure. Although -- fall is the BEST time to aerate. I do proably around 100 aerations in the Spring and half that in the fall. COuld do alot more if there was the time.

    I do not normally seed with Spring Aerations and discourage my customers from doing it.

    University tests have shown over and over that aeration does not break the pre-emergent barrier.
  6. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    Just curious why the BEST time to aerate is in the fall?
    Im not saying your wrong just curious on your reason.

    In the fall the grass is about to go dormant.
    How would a lawn going dormant benefit from the key benefits of aerating?

    In the fall your generally not as concerned for the following:
    1. Water getting to roots instead of pooling on the surface
    2. Water evaporating before it even penetrates the soil
    3. Nutrients having to break down on surface, get past thatch layer and down to roots
    4. Oxygen deficient root system
    5. Compacted Soils
    6. Promoting a stronger root base

    Those items seem like they should be addressed in early Spring not late fall.

    By the time fall comes around its too late for aerating to effectivly change most of these items not to mention by the time springs rolls around the following year the holes have already closed over.

    Here is a link to a study by Kansas State University.
    Read the part on "When to Aerate".
  7. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Messages: 784


    spike aeration will increase compaction because it wont pull a plug to the top on the soil. instead it mashes a solid spike into the ground. i think we are on the same page. i just didnt put spike in front of my previous statement.
  8. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    By Fall I mean Septemeber -- still a couple months of root growth left at that point and it allows the palnt to fully recover before the terrors of Summer. In the Spring Cools season grass puts most of the energy into top growtha nd little into root growth -- you can see this clearly if you go and observe the grass aerated in Spring compared to Fall.

    The hole slose over with good broken fresh soil -- that is when the lawn has healed. Aeration is along term fix -- not an immediate fix. if you have water pooling on the surface you have problems bigger than a one time aeration are going to fix.

    If you have real problems -- aerating in the spring and again in the fall would be beneficial. Thanks for the link. I distribute that document every Fall to all of my customers.
  9. Chris Wagner

    Chris Wagner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    Fall is best for aeration especially when seeding. As mentioned above, applying any Pre-M to your seed project will pretty much ruin it.

    Also, Spring aeration can promote better contact for weed seeds with soil.

    All that said, I find Spring aeration to be very beneficial. I don't notice any real problems.

    Most of us aren't maintaining golf courses, but think how often they do green aerations...
  10. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    Many of the benefits of aeration fit any part of the season. Aerating/ Power Raking/ Dethatching (any soil improving method) when that particular grass type is most vigorously growing, will help and quicken the healing process of the lawn. Punch holes, tear roots and slap on dressings when the grass is the strongest. That is a different time for each grass and each growing zone.

    Regarding the overseed aspect, it should be done under the best possible germination and survival conditions for that particular grass type. Down here, the cool Fescues really kick in coming out of dormancy from summer's heat. Tear it up, condition the soil and plant the seeds and the seedlings will quickly come up and fill in. Establishing a root system that will strengthen over our mild winters and hit another growth spurt in Spring, maturing the plant to face the hostile heat of the summer, that quickly moves in here. I've found it's chances of survival increases, its a deeper green and just stronger.

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