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Top Dressing and aerating

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by OrganicsMaine, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Ok, so I have a few different thoughts on this. The first obvious choice is to core aerate and then topdress to get the 'post down to the roots.


    Top dress and then use an aeravator to fracture the soil and possibly work the 'post down in that way.

    What say you?
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,143

    Either way will work well.
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Most of the sports turf guys we work around top dress first and then core areate, on the other hand most of the golf courses we work with core first and then top dress

    both have machines or it is built in to pick up the cores, not typical in the landscaping industry

    both work

    I like core aerate, seed, inoculate the seed and open soil with compost tea and then top dress, killer results

    sports turf and golf core often and most of the time it is not associated with seeding just trying to relieve compaction issues
  4. ParadiseLS

    ParadiseLS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    look into dehydrated granular compost that can be applied with a broadcast spreader. aerate, then drop the granular, and preferably inoculate with CT because i wouldn't necessarily put too much stock in the granular compost to be teeming (or teaming) with microbes
  5. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    No offense, but IMO if you are core areating to "get the compost down" I think you are imagining things. What percentage of the soil surface do the round cores represent anyways?
  6. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    So what you are saying JD, is that it is really worthless to core aerate and topdress?

    Obviously, it is a small percentage of the total lawn area, but even that gets some 'post down and to me, even a little, is better than none. Done over a few seasons, I would guess that there are many more positives than if no aerating at all.

    No offense taken:)
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    No, aerating is a very good thing, usually helping build soil structure, and also... doing just that... aerating. (If your microbe population spikes, they will probably want/need more air anyway) I just don't see the logic in doing it to "get the compost down into the soil" as most folks seem to think happens.

    Having said that, aerating is a good thing to do. If you have an aeravator, try it side by side and see what happens. I doubt you will see much difference IMO.
  8. ParadiseLS

    ParadiseLS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    i kind of agree with JD. as far as real benefits go i think the most advantageous aerating is done in the spring or fall when there are leaves and some decent amount of grass (perhaps dead/dormant grass, in spring) and then mulching all that organic matter down there. i suspect that does a lot more to boost microbial action and maintain better soil structure for the soil to breathe.

    the reason i mentioned the granular compost is because i specifically would not want aerating and composting to coincide under other circumstances. aerating gets messy as is with the plugs getting stepped on and kicked around. same with topdressing. i try not to make a bigger mess than i need to, and broadcast spreading the compost also gives you the benefit of mixing in with fertilizer as well. aerate, fert, compost. 3 services in one visit is a productive, profitable day. add in some corn gluten meal for weed suppression and maybe some lime for pH and mineral amendment and it's a really really good day!
  9. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    I agree that aerating is a good thing. But if I am starting a new account, I will aerate and topdress at the same time. Once the soil just needs some lite amending, then I'll just topdress without the aeration. Also, if I am renovating, I will aerate topdress and seed. My original question was whether or not it made a difference topdressing first and then aerating or visa versa.

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,413

    I agree that compost wont be the only thing filling the holes.But some thing is going to fill those hole why not some compost.

    I thought one of the things to do was to incorporate the compost in to the soil.

    Doing this to a yard many time over the years at one time or another you would have pulled a plug in most of all the yard. If you do a good job and lots of plugs.

    Well i don't think it would be a negative idea.

    Doing this once side buy side with just top dressing and no cores. You may not see a difference.

    But what about looking at a core sample after doing it for 5 years.

    Charles Cue

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