When You Should Core Aerate and Reseed Your Lawn

soil plugs from core aeration

What Is Core Aeration?

You may have heard about core aeration from a local lawn care company or have read about the procedure in gardening publications. Simply put, core aeration is a process where a machine travels across a lawn or turfgrass area and removes and then deposits plugs of soil and thatch back onto the lawn. This process opens up the lawn to provide more air, water, and nutrients to the root system of the turf. This process will help to produce a healthier lawn. It is recommended that you leave the plugs of soil on the lawn so the soil that has been brought up will melt back into the lawn to help reduce thatch – the microorganisms in the soil will feed on the thatch and break it down. Now that we know what it is, when is the best time to core aerate your lawn?

When to Core Aerate Cool Season Grasses

The process works best when the root system of the plant is actively growing. For cool season grasses, the most root growth occurs in the fall, followed by the spring. Most core aeration for cool-season grasses takes place in the fall.

Spring-Green employee core aerating a lawn

When to Core Aerate Warm Season Grasses

For warm-season grasses, the best time to core aerate is in the early summer because the roots for these plants are most active during this time of year. Aerating warm season grasses in the fall will not provide the benefits of improving root growth since the turf is beginning to enter a dormant period and growth will stop.

After Aerating, Reseed the Lawn

Reseeding a lawn after it has been core aerated is advantageous for cool season grasses, but seeding does not perform as well for warm season grasses. The main reason for this is that the seed is difficult and can take a long time to germinate. For a seed to germinate, it needs to be kept moist during the germination process. If the roots dry out before the seed has been able to send the root into the soil, it will die. Most warm-season grasses’ reproductive systems (called stolons) grow very quickly and will fill in thin and bare areas quickly, so seeding is not as much of a concern.

Re-sodding Is Another Option

If there are larger areas that have died out due to winter kill or past insect or disease damage, placing new pieces of sod of the same turfgrass that is growing in the lawn will help to fill in these areas. The easiest way to do this is to unroll the piece of sod, and then use a spade to make vertical cuts around the perimeter of the sod. After doing so, remove the sod and, using the spade, make horizontal cuts at about an inch below grade. Remove the dead grass and some of the soil and place the new sod in the prepared area. Keep it watered and it will soon fill in the surrounding areas.

Contact your local Spring-Green professional to schedule a core aeration today and start to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lawn.

3 Ways to Get Rid of Creeping Bentgrass in Your Lawn

Have creeping bentgrass in your yard? Read how Harold Enger, our lawn care expert, tells a reader the three best ways to eliminate it.

“I have question about creeping bent grass. It’s all over my lawn in splotches. I watched your video about it but you didn’t mention what I could use to get rid of it. Help! I just want a gorgeous lawn and am at a loss with it. Thanks in advance.”

Thank you for sending in your question. Controlling bentgrass can be a daunting task. My recommendations are based on the assumption that your lawn is composed mostly of bluegrass, ryegrass or turf type tall fescue. If you have other varieties of grass in your lawn, please let me know and I can provide you with recommendations to use for those grasses.

Dealing With Bentgrass – Expert Lawn Care Advice

There are three ways you can get rid of creeping bentgrass:

First method is to spray the individual spots with a non-selective herbicide like Round-Up.

This will kill off the bentgrass, but it will also kill the desired grasses, so only spray where the bentgrass is growing. You should spray about 6 inches beyond the patches to make sure you control the stolons, or above-ground runners, that may spread out into the lawn, but are often not visible. It will require two applications. Once the grasses die, you can either reseed or re-sod the spots. The best time to use Round-Up is when the grass is actively growing and not under heat or drought stress.

The second method is to use a product called Tenacity.

You can do a search on the product and find many sources that sell it. This is a selective product that will control the bentgrass without harming your desired grasses. The best time to start this process is in mid-July, and it requires three applications, spaced two weeks apart, to achieve complete control. Once Tenacity is applied to the lawn, the bentgrass will turn bright white and be very noticeable, so be prepared that this will happen. Once the bentgrass is controlled, you can reseed the lawn. The easiest way to do so is to core aerate the lawn first and then broadcast seed across the lawn. Be sure to read and follow the label directions before using the product. By the way, one 8 ounce bottle of Tenacity will cover an acre of property, so you probably will not need more than 8 ounces.

The third option is to contract with a local lawn care or landscape company that may offer one of these services.

While Tenacity will not damage your existing grasses as long as they are cool-season grasses, doing multiple applications, and then core aerating and reseeding or resodding, can be a time-consuming and frustrating process.

Do you have a question for Harold? Send him your lawn care question today!

Starting Over with Your Lawn: Reseeding and Resodding Tips

grass landscape

One of our readers was wondering how to start fresh with his lawn and landscape, so he turned to Harold Enger, our in-house expert. Read the question and answer below to get tips on reseeding or resodding for your new lawn.

“Hello Harold! I saw your video on YouTube! I bought a home recently and the lawn has Bermuda grass in patches and weeds everywhere else. I liked your idea on starting over, and I was wondering what the best process is to do so? What kind of Roundup should I use? What process is best to kill everything off and how long until I can start the reseeding process? Thank you for your help!”

Mr. Eggiman,
Thank you for sending in your question. Renovating a lawn can be a daunting task for the average homeowner, but I can provide you with the process to follow if you wish to attempt to do so on your own. First of all, you should wait until next year before starting the reseeding or resodding process. Even though you live in Nevada, your turfgrasses are moving into a dormant state. They may remain somewhat green, but they are not effectively transpiring. Trying to use a product like Roundup will not produce the best results. You should wait until the grass begins to grow next March or April. At that time, apply Roundup to the area where you wish to renovate. I suggest at least two applications of Roundup, spaced two weeks apart. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

One of my concerns would be your ability to water the area that you will seed, sod or sprig. Keep in mind any watering restrictions you may have and limit the area to one that can easily be maintained. I have seen people that have killed off their entire lawn, but did not have the ability to consistently water and the results were miserable.

Once the undesired grasses have died, you need to make the decision on how to replace the turf. Bermuda seed is difficult to germinate and it can take two or more years to get a good stand established. Bermuda is an aggressive grass and will fill in areas quickly, but it still can take time. Once the grass has died, you should scalp the lawn to cut back as much of the top growth as possible. If you plan to seed, the best way to get the seed into the soil is to use a slit seeder. This machine will cut a thin trench into the lawn, and then the seed is deposited into the slits. You should seed in perpendicular directions for good coverage. You could use a power rake and then broadcast the seed across the lawn, but that reseeding method will not ensure the best seed to soil contact.

The fastest way to get a new lawn is to use sod. Once the grass has died off, rent a sod cutter to remove the old top growth. The difficulty with resodding is that you need some place to put the dead sod. You can rototill the area and rake out the dead grass that remains on the top, but you will still have the same clean up concern. Once the soil is prepared, you can lay out the sod. Most sod comes in 1-square-yard pieces. So, measure the area and convert the square feet into square yards by dividing it by 9 to determine the amount of sod you will need.

The one great thing about today’s world is that most of these tasks are available as YouTube videos, so I recommend you search for them. You can also click here for a more comprehensive discussion of reseeding. It may be more expensive, but hiring a qualified landscaper to do the work for you will eliminate the hard work it takes to renovate a lawn. Best of luck and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

If your yard needs help, get in touch with your local Spring-Green—find out more about our tree services, fertilization, and other lawn care options.