How much is too much aeration for a lawn?

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  #1  
Old 05-07-12, 02:13 PM
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How much is too much aeration for a lawn?

I recently purchased a core aerator. In years past, I've always rented an aerator in late spring and did my one time aeration of my lawn then.

Most websites say one should aerate their lawn at least once a year. Now that I can aerate my lawn at practically no cost to me at any time, what is the optimal number of times I should aerated in a given season? Would once a month be too often?
 
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Old 05-07-12, 02:17 PM
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Typically you want to do it twice at 90 angles on the passes when you do it so even once a year is actually twice.

To some degree, how often is going to depend on your soil type. What do you have?
 
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Old 05-13-12, 05:38 PM
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Generally, one aerates yearly in the fall or spring depending upon the grass you have.

Having passed that along, I aerate in the fall. My grass is supposed to be aerated in the spring, but that would require aerating it after the pre-emergent herbicide has been applied, negating some of its effect.

I would recommend only yearly. Core aeration is wonderful for the grass, but causes a lot of damage in the process. The grass must recover from this damage. Overall, the benefits greatly outweigh the damage.

Aerating in the spring gives the grass time to get established before the heat of summer. Aerating in the early fall gives the grass time to recover before winter sets in. Balance.

Hope this helps.

Chris
 
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Old 05-14-12, 01:55 PM
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I've heard cool season grasses respond best to aeration in the fall and warm season ones in the spring.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 12:16 PM
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How do you aerate? Best way is to sweep/vacuum the plugs, lay down lots of coarse river sand and sweep it into the holes. Plugs tossed.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 12:47 PM
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Why would you toss the plugs or add sand?
 
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Old 06-07-12, 10:47 PM
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The sand keeps the holes from collapsing, but it is very porous - the sand columns act like wicks - therefore the effects of the aeration last longer.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 07:02 AM
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I dunno how you'd "sweep" plugs up or sand into aeration holes in a regular lawn. The grass is still 3" or so long. A putting green maybe so, but a lawn? What would you do...go around with a funnel on each hole?

Removing the plugs instead of letting them gradually break down is removing nutrients and top soil from your turf.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 07:43 AM
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I'm with Vic, I would not replace nutrient containing soil with nutrient void sand even if it means I need to aerate more often. Leave the plugs on the ground but sweep some organic material like compost into the holes and I could get on board with the concept.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 11:45 AM
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In nearly 30 years I've cored my lawn only once. It was when I was a lot younger and a lot more energetic. I learned a couple of things from the experience. 1. It's too much work and 2. depending on your soil make up it may be unecessary. Sand however is a great soil amendment. I improves`drainage and friability and grasses (again in my area) love it - assuming the proper nutrients have been added.

if I were going to core aerate my lawn I would follow the lead of the local golf courses. In my location they core in the spring and fill the holes with sand/nutrient mix. Sweeping sand on a lawn would be a pain, but I suspect it could be worked with a rake. My SIL uses tube sand in hte bed of his pickup for traction. When the bags start to break down he spreads it on his lawn.

BTW - The 1/2" diameter cored plugs take forever to blend back into the lawn. At least the ones I see in the bushes at golf courses.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 12:17 PM
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Wayne...
I used to do mine every year with a power aerator (rented from the base) and 4-5 neighbors would chip in. The main reason was that all the good topsoil was stripped off by the developer and replaced with...well...junk dirt.

Used to be a pig farm so you know that top soil was rich stuff. But it was hard clay 6-8" below what they placed.

Good soil consists of about 25-40% sand as I remember, it would take a lot of sand for the average yard (I have all the coarse sand you need out here, thats what they call top soil...lol)...even more important is the organics like humus and compost.

Not arguing....just an opinion.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 12:50 PM
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Yeah, I guess I'm jaded by my background, too much sand here already; we need more organic material in the soil. I have no experience with a clay soil.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 01:40 PM
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Clay is nasty stuff. That's all we have here. It doesn't drain, it doesn't breathe, it's heavy as hell, and it's a total b!tch to work with - especially when even the slightest bit moist because it sticks to everything.

You have to be REALLY careful planting in it because if you put in a transplant (which is in a plug of light/loose potting mix), any water you give it will just sit around the roots and drown the plant. I killed two 7 foot Japanese maples before I figured that one out (I thought they were diseased when I bought them). Basically everything has to be started from seed unless you have amended the entire garden - and lots of coarse sand is what you start with.

As for being harmful to the grass? Meh. Basically all that grows here (and survives the summer) is Bermuda, which you cant kill even if you try. It's a rhizome grass like Kentucky bluegrass that regenerates like kudzu. Even Roundup has a tough time with it. Even if you kill off the tops, if you till it under and there is even a scrap of root that is still alive it will regenerate and the whole area will be covered in grass again within a few months. Non-rhizome grasses are individual plants, so coring out one does not affect its neighbor, and the root mat is going to be a little deeper than the plugger can reach.
 

Last edited by JerseyMatt; 06-08-12 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 06-09-12, 10:20 AM
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mitch17: jerseymatt was right on. Also, the sand in the holes will permit the remaining lawn roots to expand faster and easier.
 
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