Talk of the Season: Aeration and Overseeding
When the fall season rolls around, there are two topics on everyone’s minds: aeration and overseeding. Find out why now is the time to do these applications and the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Why should you aerate?
Aerating improves the overall health of the lawn. It reduces soil compaction and breaks down thatch to allow water and nutrients to go deeper into the soil. Oxygen is also able to go into the root system, which helps in creating deeper, stronger roots.
What are the benefits of seeding with aeration?
When you seed with aeration, you can thicken the existing lawn. Thicker turf reduces weed pressure and is more aesthetically pleasing. Another benefit is the ability to introduce new seed varieties that are more resistant to turf diseases and insects. New seed varieties will also be more stress tolerant, more aggressive growers, and will fill voids faster.
What type of seed can I use?
The type of seed will vary based on geography and application. For most using cool season grasses, Turf Type Tall Fescue (TTTF) is the seed of choice. There are blends available that mix in bluegrass or rye along with TTTF.
I prefer Sungold 100% TTTF. TTTF has excellent wearability, heat and drought stress recovery, and disease resistance. TTTF is typically applied at 6-8 lbs./1000 sq. ft. but always be sure to check your label.
When should I seed?
Fall is the best time for cool season grasses and late spring is best for warm season grasses. The ideal germination temperatures for cool season grasses are 75 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. The moisture levels also increase in the fall, which allows Mother Nature to assist in the watering efforts. Seeding this time of year allows for the roots to develop throughout the winter and spring before the summer drought season begins (typically it takes 9 months for the root system to develop before drought season). To reduce competition and weed pressures prior to seed germination, I recommend applying a blanket weed control application 10-14 days before seeding.
Should I apply fertilizer?
It is a general rule to always apply fertilizer when seeding. A granular suggestion is ATS 16-28-12 with ZnB starter fertilizer. In case you are wondering why fertilizer is essential for growth, here is a breakdown of the ingredients: Phosphorus promotes root growth and is necessary for new seed establishment; nitrogen promotes shoot growth; potassium works in conjunction with nitrogen and phosphorus to help the turf retain water and provide energy for plant growth.
A liquid option is Foliar-Pak’s Grow-In, an all-in-one fertility product that takes the guesswork out of building a program for turfgrass establishment.
Be sure to talk with your ATS sales rep for seed and fertilizer suggestions that fit your needs!