Aeration & Overseeding Benefits
- January 29, 2019
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Before the 1970s, few homeowners would have been aware of the benefits of aeration and over-seeding. Of course, on golf courses, where a carpet-like playing surface was mandatory, aeration and over-seeding was common. Thin areas that were not severely damaged but less than acceptable to golfers, required some help. Aeration and over-seeding provided the solution.
The beauty of improving turf density and overall vigor by aerating, followed by over-seeding, is that the improvements take place while leaving the existing turf untouched. So, the lawn only gets thicker and stronger.
Since grass roots grow and expand rapidly in the Fall, it is the very best time to aerate and over-seed.
Today, experienced lawn service operators will provide this service with just a phone call. Importantly, for the results you expect, be sure to use a reputable service. Half-hearted, hit and miss aeration and the use of sub-standard seed will NOT benefit the lawn. In fact, using less than top-quality seed could introduce noxious or harmful weeds into the lawn, making the situation worse.
The aeration process vs. “de-thatching”:
It is important to understand the difference between aeration and “de-thatching”. A “de-thatching” machine uses wire tines to pull dead grass leaves and stems from the lawn, leaving a real mess and requiring clean-up. In addition, no actual soil is removed. So, over-seeding into a “de-thatched lawn does NOT provide the best seed to soil contact, resulting in poor seedling establishment.
Core aeration, on the other hand, employs hollow tines on a rotating axle to physically pull small ‘finger sized’ plugs from the soil. By opening up the soil, air, water and fertilizer more readily reach the grasses root zone, improving turf growth and density. Core aeration also reduces soil compaction, which can choke out turf grass roots. When seed is applied, it falls into the aeration holes, where maximum seed to soil contact takes place. As the seed germinates and sends out small, immature roots, successful establishment in the immediate soil area results.
In summary, core aeration followed by over-seeding with a premium seed is highly recommended on all lawns. This lawn building process is nearly mandatory on lawns of predominantly Turf Type Fescue (TTF) grass and should take place annually, since “TTF” grass does not build density naturally.
For details on various aeration techniques, check out the Turf Magazine article on the link below.