Using a Spiker in between core aerification

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LawnLad, May 16, 2002.

  1. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    We maintain several creeping bent lawns - on a budget of course. Ideally I would aerate two or three times a year if I had my choice. However, sometimes budget will not allow for the aeration and subsequent clean up of the plugs after we aerate (use of reel mowers means you can't leave plugs on the lawn). So traditionally we aerate, let the plugs dry and then verticut to break the plugs up - and than rake/blow the lawn down.

    Since moisture is one of the key elements for many diseases - aeration helps to reduce the likelyhood of some disease problems. I thought that I might be able to spike these lawns in between the core aeartions to keep the surface of the lawn open to allow for better drainage, thereby alleviating surface moisture and the subsequent problems it will bring.

    Has anyone used spiking in addition to core aeration for managing a site? What succeses or failures did you find?

    GroundsKpr mentioned in a previous thread....

    "Equipment having solid tines or spikes should not be mistaken for aerating equipment. Aerators always remove a soil core whereas solid tine spikers do not. Spikers actually increase soil compaction as the movement of the soil to all sides by the penetration of the solid tine forces the soil into a denser mass."- from PA

    "Practices such as slicing or spiking remove no soil and are not considered aerification."- from IN
  2. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Since threads move down the list pretty quick... bringing this back up tonight looking for some feedback.
  3. lars

    lars LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    I dont think spiking is a good way to go. However I would verticut a few times a year, and definitely cut down on the aeration, especially if you do not topdress. Verticutting will remove the thatch buildup and provide a slight amout of area for water to move. Spiking will produce compaction and is not a good idea especially on a loamy soil. You could get groomers for you reel mowers which will cut into the soil some as well.

    If you are concerned about disease, I would worry more about the right amount of fert than moisture. Alot of the diseases that are caused by excessive moisture can easily be controlled. Keep the grass a little lean and most diseases should be fine. Using IBDU N will provide a stable amount of growth for many weeks.
  4. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    No, I don't use a spiker. Just try getting a screwdrive and pressing it into the ground...where did the dirt go? Of course it was pressed down and to the sides compacting the soil even more.
  5. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 472

    I won't address the compaction issue since that has already been address.

    What you are concerned about is water infiltration into the soil. Aerating in early spring versus aerating in fall should accomplish your goals. Even if you have completely refilled those holes after verticutting and blowing the lawn off you have changed the structure of the soil in those holes. The replaced soil will have significantly more macro pores because this soil has been tilled. This will allow moisture infiltration thru the entire growing season if not longer. Make sure you aerate with a crossing pattern so you get the maximum benefit of aeration. Forget the spiking, I've tried this back in 1990 and saw no significant benefit. Good luck.


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