Lawn Aeration and Seeding
Turf grasses growing in our area benefit greatly from annual lawn aeration to reduce thatch buildup and more importantly, relieve soil compaction. This service will help improve the recycling flow of air, water, and nutrients to the root system. This, in turn, will help to rejuvenate your grass by allowing the roots to grow deeper, creating healthier grass plants and keeping your lawn thicker and greener.
We provide this service with commercial grade core aerators that can apply up to 1200lbs of hydraulic down pressure, thus removing the optimal core length, unmatched by our competitors.
Our local weather conditions require grasses that can withstand the extreme temperature variations from winter to summer. We use a custom, premium quality blend designed for our local area that contains a variety of fescue grasses that are highly rated for color, drought and disease tolerance, density, and overall turf quality plus are certified weed-free. This optimal combination allows for a rich, thick, healthy lawn all season long and aids in choking out weeds. For those who want a bluegrass only lawn, we use a premium blend of bluegrass that has been tested for best results with our local weather conditions.
Grass is like any other living plant; it becomes weaker as it ages. To revive your lawn, we will determine and recommend which of the following seeding options would be most beneficial to keep it looking exquisite year after year.
Overseeding: The process of using a broadcast spreader to apply grass seed on the surface of the ground. To increase seed germination, the combination of a lawn aeration with overseeding is highly recommended. The cores created by aeration allow the seeds to drop below the surface of the ground for successful germination.
Slit Seeding: The process of utilizing a machine with knife blades to create slits in your lawn, which allows grass seed to drop below the surface of the ground, maximizing the percentage of germination. The knife blades are designed to minimize damage to the lawn. Slit seeding is the most effective way to restore an extremely weak lawn and can be used for touch-ups of bare areas or for complete lawn renovations.
Lawn Aeration and Seeding – Typical Service Dates:*
Cool Season Grass Varieties (Bluegrass & Fescue)
Aeration – Late August – Early December
Seeding – Late August – Mid October
Warm Season Grass Varieties (Zoysia & Bermuda)
Aeration – Early June – Late July
Seeding or Plugs – Soil Temps between 75 – 80 F & Air Temperature between 75 – 90 F
* Above are the optimal times
Lawn Aeration and Seeding – FAQ’s
- Lawn Aeration and Seeding
- 1. How often should I aerate my lawn?
Lawns greatly benefit from an annual aeration; however, you could aerate twice per year.
- 2. When is the best time to aerate?
For cool season grass varieties, such as bluegrass and fescue, the fall is the most preferred time of the year to aerate a lawn, beginning in early September all the way up until the ground freezes. In the spring, prior to a pre-emergent application, is another excellent time of year to aerate. You want to avoid any other times of the year as the holes created by an aerator will break down a pre-emergent barrier, applied in early spring, allowing weeds to germinate. As for warm season grass varieties such as zoysia or bermuda grass, June is the ideal time to aerate a lawn as this is the peak growing time of the year for these type of grasses.
- 3. Do I need to mow my lawn prior to my lawn being aerated?
Traditional aerators use the weight of the machine for down pressure, approximately 200-300lbs and by cutting your lawn prior to aeration helps somewhat in removing that additional resistance. At TurfGator we use aerators with 1200lbs of hydraulic down pressure, so cutting your lawn prior to an aeration is not necessary.
- 4. How long does it take for the core plugs to go away after my lawn being aerated?
Typically they will decompose in a week or two and there is no need to rake or remove them from your lawn, it is actually recommended to not remove them.
- 5. Does aeration control thatch?
Yes, aeration is actually the preferred method of control thatch and is less destructive to grass plant root systems over a typical dethatcher.
- 6. What is the difference between an aerator that pulls cores up and one that just punches holes in the ground?
One of the primary goals of aeration is to relieve compaction in your lawn. A core aerator does this by pulling out a core in the ground. A machine that punches holes in the ground, such as a spike aerator, actually adds more compression instead of relieving compaction.
- 7. Why is it necessary to aerate a lawn?
Turf grasses growing in our area benefit greatly from annual aeration during the fall months to reduce thatch buildup and more importantly, relieve soil compaction. This service will help improve the recycling flow of air, water, and nutrients to the root system. This, in turn, will help to rejuvenate your grass by allowing the roots to grow deeper, creating healthier grass plants and keeping your lawn thicker and greener. An annual aeration is the single most important thing you can do to your lawn.
- 8. Can I mow my lawn immediately after it was just seeded?
Yes! Mowing, even with commercial mowers, does not have enough vacuum to lift seeds and re-spread them in your yard. Unless the ground was completely bare a mower should not have an effect on seeds and if an area was completely bare there would be no reason to mow it anyway. Depending on the variety of grass seeds that were planted, seed germination will take anywhere from 10 – 21 days and during this time frame, mowing should be done carefully as new grass plants can easily be uprooted with tires from mowers while turning, especially with riding mowers and zero turn mowers.
- 9. What is the difference between slit seeding and overseeding?
In general grass seeds will not germinate until they are below the surface of the ground and have enough moisture. Overseeding is a process of using a broadcast spreader to apply grass seed on the surface of the ground. To increase the percentage of germination, we recommend in conjunction with our aeration service. The cores created by aeration allow the seeds to drop below the surface of the ground for a better rate of germination. Slit seeding is a process of utilizing a machine with knife blades to create slits in your lawn, which allows grass seed to drop below the surface of the ground, maximizing the percentage of germination. As a general rule, if your lawn is at least 80% thick the process of aerating and overseeding is a good choice; any percentage less, slit seeding is a better choice. We have experienced lawns that were 50% thick and have undergone the process of overseeding each year and it has taken 3 years to completely fill in, but other lawns that were slit seeded only once and have completely filled in within the first year.
- 10. How long does it take for the grass seed to grow?
Once the grass seed has made it below the surface of the ground and has enough continuous moisture it will take 10-14 days for fescue and up to 21 days for bluegrass to germinate and show signs of growth. The grass plant will take additional weeks to mature and fill in. During the first couple of months you want the ground to remain moist from natural rainfall or irrigation. Depending on your lawns condition of sun, shade, flat or hilly and even soil conditions this may be the difference of watering daily or every few days.
- 11. When is the best time of the year to seed a lawn?
Seeding can be done throughout the year as long as the ground is not frozen, but the most optimum time of year is between September 1st and October 15th for our local area. Weather conditions and ground temperatures all play a role in successful seed germination.
- 12. Can I seed myself after you aerate my lawn?
Yes, many homeowners prefer to seed themselves. It is always best to communicate this with our office if you are on our lawn care program due to weed control products that will hamper the germination process. In general, it is best not to use weed control herbicides for at least 30 days after seeding or until the newly seeded areas have been mowed at least 3 times. When you contract seeding services with TurfGator, we coordinate both the seeding and lawn care treatments for you for the best results.
- 13. When can weed control products be used before or after seeding?
Weed control herbicides can be used prior to seeding, but it is best to wait until the third mowing before using herbicides after seeding has been done.
- 14. What are the pros and cons of applying straw over seeded areas?
The pros are straw helps control evaporation in shading the sun’s rays and can somewhat help in erosion control. The cons are straw bales are filled with weed seeds and quite often the next spring you can have some unwanted wheat growing within your lawn, also straw doesn't hold up to high winds or heavy rain very well. An alternative is straw blankets which contain no weed seeds and are woven in a biodegradable nylon net which provide excellent erosion control while helping the ground stay shaded controlling evaporation. Peat Moss is another excellent option for smaller areas. Peat Moss retains water and is organic matter so when it breaks down it will be adding nutrients to the soil, however it will not provide any erosion control.
- 15. How often do I need to water newly seeded areas?
Depending on your lawns condition of sun, shade, flat or hilly and even soil conditions watering may be required multiple times per day to once per day. The most important thing is to keep the soil moist which will help in germination and growth of the new grass plant. For more details on watering newly seeded areas, please see our blog post on "taking care of a newly seeded lawn".
- 16. I am planning on seeding my lawn in the spring; can the pre-emergent still be applied during the early spring or spring lawn care treatment?
No, pre-emergent prevents seeds from germinating so if you are planning on seeding, a standard fertilizer blend will need to be substituted in the early spring instead.
- 17. Is there anything special that I should be aware of for a newly seeded area?
Besides the importance of watering, avoid heavy foot and pet traffic on seeded areas. Also newly germinated grass plants don't have a strong rooting so avoid trimming with weed eaters as they will up root the grass plant very easily. Depending on the variety of grass seeds that were planted, seed germination will take anywhere from 10 – 21 days and during this time frame mowing should be done carefully as new grass plants can easily be uprooted with tires from mowers while turning, especially with riding mowers and zero turn mowers.
- 18. What if the seed doesn't germinate before winter sets in?
Any seed germination or growth that hasn't matured before winter sets in will pick up in the spring when the ground temperatures are warm enough. A general rule is if your lawn was seeded in the fall it should be completely germinated and matured by the end of the following May.