Finally aerating my lawn.

Nifty

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About 5 years ago I installed a sod lawn in our front yard. We have pretty bad clay soil here so before putting the grass down I added a ton of compost and rototilled it into the soil.

The lawn looked fantastic for he first 2-3 years, but has since become a bit thin.

I'm 95% sure it is because the soil is still very solid clay and has become even more compacted. I can barely push a screwdriver into the soil and water and air doesn't seem to get inside very well.

So, I've been meaning to aerate for years. I purchased a hand aerator, but it just plugs up and becomes useless after the first push into the soil. I've finally decided to hire someone to come and use a professional core aerator to pull out the plugs.

Once I have the plugs out I think I'll rake them up and then spread about an inch of compost / humus and try to work it down into the holes.

I'm also thinking about overseeding at the same time, but not sure if I should.

Anybody have experience with core aeration, top-dressing a lawn, etc?
 

thistlebloom

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Nifty said:
About 5 years ago I installed a sod lawn in our front yard. We have pretty bad clay soil here so before putting the grass down I added a ton of compost and rototilled it into the soil.

The lawn looked fantastic for he first 2-3 years, but has since become a bit thin.

I'm 95% sure it is because the soil is still very solid clay and has become even more compacted. I can barely push a screwdriver into the soil and water and air doesn't seem to get inside very well.

So, I've been meaning to aerate for years. I purchased a hand aerator, but it just plugs up and becomes useless after the first push into the soil. I've finally decided to hire someone to come and use a professional core aerator to pull out the plugs.

Once I have the plugs out I think I'll rake them up and then spread about an inch of compost / humus and try to work it down into the holes.

I'm also thinking about overseeding at the same time, but not sure if I should.

Anybody have experience with core aeration, top-dressing a lawn, etc?
Nifty, you shouldn't need to rake up the plugs, they will break down on the surface just fine, although it will look like a bunch of dogs have been partying on your lawn. :)
Spreading the compost as the next step is an excellent plan, and if you wish to fertilize also, a good low NPK organic lawn fertilizer would also be a good thing (something like Whitney Farms , or Dr. Earth ).
Overseeding as the last step will help fill in the bare spots.
With a heavy clay soil you should be applying something with gypsum yearly to help reduce the compaction.
Happy gardening!
 

RidgebackRanch

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Hi Nifty,
Having bad clay soil means that it is low in microbial activity. That lack of water and air getting to your grass roots means it is also not supporting a healthy balance of microbes.

Google soil activator, there are serveal different brands that basically do the same thing. Humates are the key ingredient as this will work to break up the clay soil to allow water and air to penetrate deeper and thus support the microbes to break down nutrients so plants can use them.

Hope this helps. :)
 

4grandbabies

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I dont know if this will help now or not, but when we established a new lawn a few years ago, I bought clover seed and planted with the grass seed. We were working primarily with red clay. We had an awesome lawn, even the first year.. I gave credit to the clover, helping the soil.I used organic products lawn fertilizer ,etc ; from Gardens alive.. and no, I dont have stock there -lol- I just have good luck with their products, if you go to them, online, maybe you can view the portion of their catalog on lawn products.
 

vfem

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Well Nifty... in a couple of hours my husband will be home. I'm not going to say what lawn care company he works for because we think they're the devil! :lol:

"There's honesty for ya..."

Anyways, he does this and he can probably tell what is best at this point, though I'm almost 100% sure he's going to insist to wait until fall to resow seed for moisture purposes more so then anything.

Be back with a response later!
 

vfem

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He wants to know what type of grass your sod is? Fescue? Bermuda?

Aerating is GOOD during the spring, so now is great. He's just not sure if you should seed yet. He wants to know how hardy they type is you're using.
 

waqas5742

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I think you can aerate and seed together, you can get one of those aerators on rent from some tool rental that will aerate and seed as well and you'r good to go.
 

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