lawn aeration & overseeding -- spring?

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Old 04-19-15, 08:31 AM
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lawn aeration & overseeding -- spring?

I am struggling with a shaded back yard in MA. I planted sod (Black Beauty) a year ago, and it is fairly well established, except in a few areas that are quite compacted (high traffic areas, early use just after soding). Those compacted areas appear to be more dirt and 'slippery' dead grass, as opposed to the good spots that are brown grass just barely starting to green up now.

Last fall I wanted to (but did not) aerate, then lay down lyme, overseed, starter fertilizer, and 1/4 inch of peat & top soil. So, now it's April, and I am wondering if this is a bad time of year to aerate? Should I aerate only the compacted areas, or the whole lawn? and does it make sense to add the lyme, seed, peat, top soil in a thin coat across the area, as well? When I say starter fertilizer, last year I used Healthy Turf 8-1-9, and I would add that with or just after the seeding.
 
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Old 04-19-15, 05:49 PM
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Have you applied any pre-emergent herbicides this spring? Many crabgrass preventers will prevent germination so if you've applied it it would be a waste to seed now and would be better to wait until fall.

If you have a high traffic area in a shaded location you might consider a walkway. Grass can't handle high traffic even in full sun. In a shaded location it's even more tender and less able to handle traffic and compaction. But, if you want to try seeding it's still early enough to have a good shot especially in your northerly location.
 
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Old 04-19-15, 05:53 PM
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I overseeded my side and back lawn 14 days ago and have not seen one new sprout. I don't know where I went wrong. I core aerated, applied lime, starter fertilizer, and watered every morning and evening for a few days then mother nature took over and the ground has been plenty moist and there has been a lot of sunshine as well. The bag says 10-14 days, but there is nothing. BTW, I have not applied any pre-emergents or anything else this year. The existing grass is nice and green and growing like crazy, but my new seed is not growing.
 
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Old 04-19-15, 08:49 PM
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Pilot Dane - thanks for the comments, no I have not added any herbicides at all. The sod was clean, just a year ago, and I had no weeds last year, and did not feel any need to treat this season. So, I will take your advice, and aerate and seed tomorrow. with lyme and fertilizer. I agree with you about the walkway, if this seeding fails, I am likely to put granite pavers down for this high traffic area, and in front of the grill. April & May are my best months for sun, due to no leaves on the trees yet. With any luck, I'll have better luck than Mossman. Good luck Mossman, hope you get some sprouts soon. I guess there is never a guarantee.

so, would you suggest aerating & overseeding the rest of the lawn which is doing okay? it's only a year old, and it's established okay. I just dont want to do more harm than good with aerating. and when I aerate & overseed, do you suggest adding a skim coat of peat & top soil? along with lyme and starter fert
 
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Old 04-20-15, 05:53 AM
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I have never aerated my lawn so I wouldn't say it's required. I have a small highly manicured area that was sodded 4 years ago and its absolutely gorgeous and has never been aerated. I just let the worms and other little creatures do it for me. But if you have compaction issues you may want to go beyond aerating in the trouble area and roto till or hand dig to really loosen the soil. Once grass gets established though it has an amazing ability to penetrate hard ground. It's just not able to withstand being walked on too much.

I think raking with a garden rake is a big help when trying to start new seed. It allows the seed to get into the ground and have better contact with the soil. You can sorta accomplish the same thing, though easier with a light sprinkling of peat moss or potting soil. Aerating can accomplish some of the same but the holes, if done properly, tend to be to deep for starting seed.
 
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