What exactly is Core Aeration?

Core aeration is the mechanical process of which we pull thumb size cores out of the lawn. This allows air and water movement through the soil as well as helping to decompose thatch. The cores left on the lawn surface will break down and act as a top dressing for lawn.

Why is Core Aeration so important?

Just like any live organism, your grass (roots) need oxygen. Core aeration will allow your roots to get this much needed oxygen. On top of oxygen your turf roots need water and nutrients. The process of pulling plugs will allow water to reach your roots better. How does aerating help with nutrients? By aerating the lawn every year, you help reduce thatch build up just above the ground. If that becomes more than ¾ to an inch of thatch, this will greatly reduce both water and proper nutrients from getting to the roots. MissionGreen recommends core aeration ever year.

When is the best time to Aerate my lawn?

Because we are in a cool season market, we recommend to core aerate in the fall. Do you recommend doing this in the Spring? Can you aerate in the spring, absolutely! Early spring is more desirable, as you do not want to expose the soil to warmer temps and hot sunny days. By exposing the soil, you run the potential of a crabgrass and weed explosion.

What kind of seed should I use?

Great question! Let’s start off by asking, are we in full sun, full shade and combination of both. Because we are in a cool season area, we recommend using varieties of Kentucky blue grass, and rye grass for full sun. If you have dense shade area, I would recommend using a shade mix seed that contains some chewing fescue in it. There are some great new varieties of full sunny mix seed blends available on the market these days. Some of these grass types may include TTTF (Turf Type Tall Fescue) which is a very good drought resistant grass type. There are new Hybrid Blue grasses that are heat tolerant blue grasses and different varieties of Perennial Rye grass that are heat tolerant. I often get asked this question: Can’t I just use one blend and seed me entire lawn with that one variety of seed? Short answer is Yes, you can do what ever you want, but is that right long-term solution for the turf? That answer is no and here is why; let’s take Kentucky blue grass. There are several different varieties of Kentucky Blue Grasses available to use, but if you were to use just one variety of Kentucky Blue, you run the risk of diseases that can wipe the lawn out in no time at all. By having different varieties that are more disease and insect resistant you can maintain the even look and quality of the lawn while protecting it from damaging disease or insects.

I aerated and seeded the lawn, what’s next?

Water and now we wait, Rye grasses can germinate in 7-14 days while Kentucky Blue grass can take up to 25 days to germinate. We recommend applying a starter fertilizer if you are not on a lawn care program. Otherwise stick to your routine fertilizer applications. How much water? Every lawn is different – some are already thick, some are really thin, some are in full sun, some are in the shade – there is no way to give a blanket watering recommendation for all conditions. We have Mother Nature on our side in the fall. Most every morning there is a good heavy dew – that counts as some water. We normally do not go too long between showers this time of year either. Suffice it to say that if you should watch the lawn pretty carefully in the first few weeks and if you haven’t observed any rainfall and you do not have an irrigation system then you should be breaking out the sprinklers. This is the time to put in the extra effort – it will pay big dividends!

What about weeds?

Weed control always have a trade o ff, even with mature turfgrasses. If here are annual weeds such as crabgrass in the lawn, we just leave them alone. Crabgrass is going to die soon anyway and to treat for it will compromise the health of the seedlings. Broadleaf weed control will harm the new seed. Once the new seedlings have matured we can apply weed control and clear the lawn of any remaining weeds. This usually occurs after three mowings.

How about mowing, do I have to do anything different?

We would highly recommend taking this opportunity to sharpen your blade, or replace the blade all together. This is an important key to good turfgrass management in any case, but with new seedlings it is even more important. Height should be raised to the maximum allowed by your mower. This will help to shield the new seedlings from the harshness of the elements while it is very young. Having a consistently tall mowing height is also good practice to develop a robust root system and to keep weeds to a minimum, too. Frequency of cut is very important. The lawn will most
definitely respond to how often you cut. The rule of thumb is to never remove more than 1/3 of the height of the cut – for instance, if the lawn is 3” tall, we would not want you to take it below 2” at any one cutting – which under normal circumstance is once per week. The seedlings should not be the prime consideration with the frequency of cut. You should maintain this frequency of cut even if you do not take off very much material. Allow the new seedlings to grow up to the established height of cut.

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