What are we seeing from the aeration plugs?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Is it worthwhile for full maintenance LCOs to pay attention to the plugs that come out of the lawns during aeration?
    Has anyone observed anything that was useful in advising a client?

    I know there are a lot of hacks out there that do aerations for the money w/out consideration if it is necessary or even desireable... I'm not talking about them...

    I curious what real professional lawn care individuals are learning about the clients lawn as they are running the aerators this season...
    I personally look at root mass and soil tilth in those plugs, which indicates that certain areas are more in need of topdressing than others...
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,794

    A thorough soaking in water should reveal how deep the roots are going. Wash off the soil. And it would probably reveal density of the roots, and perhaps the fatness of the roots.
  3. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    You should also be looking at the Thatch thickness across the lawn. This is the best opportunity to observe one of the biggest problems in lawns. Keep in mind that more than a half inch is a problem..
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Correct bingo....I don't even start an aeration these days unless I pull test plugs from my modified step aerator in different areas of the lawn. It shows the client exactly what is going on and then we discuss it from there.

    The public typically has all sort of ideas stuck in their heads re: aeration that correcting disinformation and half truths is much of the battle in marketing it.

    If a lawn doesn't need it....I won't sell it.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Aother thing I notice is that some plugs don't even have the rich dark color in some areas... I'd like to be able to convince the client that some SOM needs to be gotten back into the soil, before we are back to strickly a mineral soil, with no CE sites for nutrient holding...
  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    After a while the turf should be self substaining the SOM.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Bagging, too much water, and too much fertilizer eventually reverts soils back to what they were b4 OM was mixed in...
    Other lawns are as you say,,, SOM seems to be adequate and may even be on the increase, if there is an earthworm population...
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    There are only 3 reasons to aerate, and I'll tell the client that it isn't needed, if it isn't needed, and I'll suggest it if it is needed...

    The thing that I enjoy most about the process is looking below the surface and showing the client what they are not thinking about throughout the season... :)
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I respectfully will disagree. Aeration while benificial and can help compaction will reduce the OM more than the activities you mentioned. In the long run aeration should help because the turf will grow more root mass
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Never thought of aeration in terms of how it relates to SOM depletion/creation... that might be a topic for another thread...
    Right now I was just pondering what do we see in the plugs that give us ideas about what is going on with the clients' lawns... :)

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