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Lawn Care Tutorial

Overview:
The following info is supplied to help you determine what your lawn care needs are and some of the choices you have. As always, we remain available to help you with suggestions to help keep your lawn at it's very best. Just give us a call and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. If you have entered this page from our website's rental listing just hit the "back" button on your browser to return to your previous page.

 

Power Rake

power rake   

Lawn Aerator

lawn aerator 


Slit Seeder

slit seeder

Dethatching
A common misconception among do-it-yourself lawn care people is that renting a power rake to dethatch the lawn is the cure-all answer to a healthy lawn. While many times it is necessary, it isn’t always the only answer, and sometimes may not be necessary at all. Thatch is the accumulation of dead grass and organic material that occurs from normal lawn growth as old grass dies off. It is not a result of leaving grass clippings on the lawn. The thatch forms a matted layer that reduces the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers and also forms an ideal breeding area for insects and lawn disease. When the thatch layer exceeds ” it is time to dethatch. Thatch removal uses a power rake with a reel of rotating flail blades that “scratch” the surface of your lawn without penetrating the dirt to loosen up all of the dead grass (thatch) that has been matted into your lawn over time. It is something that is typically done in the spring, but care must be exercised to make certain that the good grass has firmly taken root and the soil is sufficiently firm to prevent removal of the good grass. If your soil is compacted dethatching is best done in spring but dethatching in September is an advantage because fewer weed seeds germinate in the fall.

soil anim

Aeration
However, thatching is only one aspect of lawn care. It does nothing for the soil itself. If the roots are tightly packed within the soil or the soil is compacted to the point where the nutrients just can’t get to the roots it needs to be loosened up a bit. Lawn aeration is the process where a lawn aerator moves over the surface of the lawn and removes a series of ” diameter core samples from the soil.  This has two main advantages. The first is that the soil now has room to expand, relieving pressure on the roots. Instead of compacted soil, it now can relax and become more porous, which allows the roots to breathe and feed once again. Secondly the new holes form temporary wells which will hold whatever nutrients applied to the lawn. For this reason it is important to water and fertilize as soon as possible after aerating. The plugs left on the surface break up and disappear generally in about a week and the core holes close up after time as well but the soil will remain porous for a long time. If your lawn needs thatching it should be power raked before the lawn is aerated. Lawn aeration can be performed any time of the year but best results are obtained in either spring or fall. Fall aeration does enhance the root growth because the fertilizer is better absorbed by the roots due to the lack of weed seeds, which don’t germinate well in the fall.

soil anim1               soil anim2               soil anim3               soil anim4

        Packed soil                Aerator tines             Cores Removed            Nutrients and
       hinders proper             penetrate soil                allow better                fertilizer can
        root feeding                                                   root access             now reach roots

Overseeding
Overseeding is the application of seed by cutting slits into the lawn and dropping seed down into these slits. This is done in one pass by a power slit seeder. A power slit seeder looks similar to a power rake with a hopper type lawn seeder attached to the front. But, instead of a flail type reel that tickles the surface of the lawn, a slit seeder has a rigid delta wheel which is designed to penetrate the soil to an approximate ” depth. As the slit seeder moves along the seed is dropped at the same time. Overseeding is typically used when an existing lawn needs to be reseeded and it is not desirable to rip it up and start all over. Quite frequently a new lawn will be seeded with a fast growing grass that is designed to take root and establish quickly. Later on a more plush lawn is desired. This is a perfect case for overseeding. The existing grass acts as a mulch to help the new seed germinate as well as eliminating water erosion that could occur if the soil was bare. It can also be used when an existing lawn was damaged due to drought or disease. Overseeding is generally the last step and should be done after any dethatching and aeration have been done.

slit seeder soil anim
Cut Slits - Drop Seed - and Watch It Grow!

Recap
In order to properly care for your lawn a quick analysis is required by the owner. Walk your lawn and inspect it. Is there excessive thatch buildup? Is your soil firm? Does water run off your soil without adequately penetrating it? Do you have brown spots that need reseeding? Following these simple steps will help you determine the proper course of action for your lawn. After that it’s a simple matter to rent the required equipment and wait for the results.




aerator soil anim
A matted lawn creates a barrier to nutrients and a breeding area for insects and disease.

 

 

 

 




 

aerator plug

Aerator cores can be up to 3"long.

 

aerator tines

Rear of aerator - showing tines

 

flail reel

Flail Reel - Dethatcher Tines

delta reel

Delta Reel - Slit Seeder Tines

slit seeder
Power Slit Seeder


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