Aeration And Over Seeding
There is a popular misconception that aeration’s only purpose is to provide good soil contact for seed germination. While aeration does help germination, it is not the main purpose. The greatest benefit of aeration is that it alleviates compaction. People and machines traveling across the same area repeatedly cause compaction. That consistent weight will compact the soil over time, until you see dirt pathways or ruts. There are two types of aerators to remedy this.
The most commonly used is the core aerator. These aerators will pull plugs out of the ground, leaving holes and plugs on top of the turf. By removing plugs, the core aerator allows the soil around it to expand into those areas. The holes also provide better soil contact and added protection for seed germination.
Considered outdated, yet still useful, is the cone or spike aerator. When the compaction is so severe that the tines of the core aerator break, there are two choices. The first is to bring in a tiller, and completely redo that area. The second is to bring in a cone or spike aerator before tilling. The aerator tines shaped like cones or spikes are solid metal, not hollow. This type of aerator will push the soil into itself causing the soil to bulge. This will break up compaction still allowing holes for seed germination. While the cone or spike aeration’s way of breaking up compaction is good, the core aeration gives the soil more space for movement.
Over seeding is commonly used for cool season turf. It can be done for warm season turf as well, but at a different time of year. If you are not sure what type of turf you have, click here. Over seeding is the process of planting new seed to help create or establish a healthy lawn. The over seeding tends to happen after aeration is complete. This is done for two reasons. One is that aerators create space for good soil contact that allows for germination. The second reason is that without grass seed filling the holes created by the aerator, weeds might grow there. Starter fertilizer is applied after seeding takes place to help the seed germinate. Both aeration and over seeding are part of a normal turf program. If you need assistance with these tasks, feel free to contact us!