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How To Prep For Aeration & Seeding

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So you've scheduled your aeration and seeding with us. Awesome! We're so happy that you've chosen Top Turf to lead you in your lawn care journey. What are the next steps to ensure that your aeration and seeding are successful and result in a beautiful lawn? While we do most of the work for you, we ask that you do a few things to prep your lawn for us. Read on to find out more!

In case you were wondering...Here is why Tall Fescue needs aeration and seeding every year... 

  • Tall Fescue does not spread or reproduce itself, so you must over-seed yearly to keep your lawn looking full, thick, and healthy. 

  • Tall Fescue can stay green all year long with proper watering and maintenance. However, it will struggle in the summer as its favorite environment is a cooler temperature. Hence... why it's called a "Cool Season Turf." Unlike Bermuda (a warm season turf) that can't get enough of the heat! 

  • All lawns get weeds; just nature showing whose boss, even though we do give her a run for her money. When you get weeds in your lawn, and we kill those weeds, leave bare areas that need to be filled in with grass seed.
  • All Fescue Lawns will lose their thickness every year by approximately 20%. So by aerating and seeding yearly, you will keep your lawn looking thick and beautiful. 

  • When your lawn is thicker and healthier, you will see fewer weeds because a thick lawn will crowd them out.

So There You Have It!
That's why you need to aerate and seed tall fescue yearly.

3 Ways To Prep For Aeration & Seeding

#1 Remove Thatch

Mow your lawn at the lowest setting

thatch in lawn

Let's get rid of that thatch and dead grass...

In the weeks leading up to your aeration and seeding, you will want to cut your lawn at the lowest setting each time you cut your lawn. We suggest two times, maybe even one time. Just make sure you get all the dead thatch up and out of your lawn. The less thatch you have, the higher efficiency of seed germination.

Mowing and raking will help pick up any dead thatch that has accumulated and hopefully clear out any dead spots. Doing this prevents extra thatch from being left over on your grass.

If you don't have enough time before your scheduled aeration to get up all your dead thatch, make sure to bag your clippings now until you aerate and seed...Remember: Excess thatch will prohibit seeds from germinating effectively.

  1. This will help the seed reach the soil easier rather than resting on top of thatch or other grass.
  2. Remember... you will not be able to mow your lawn for up to 4 weeks after your aeration and seeding, as this is the germination period of the seed. You want it to remain unbothered to have the best chance of rooting and growing. Because you can't mow, any existing grass can overgrow, so cutting it that extra bit shorter will help keep it tamed while you allow the new seeds to germinate.
🌱 Pro Tip: Bag your clippings. Clippings left on the lawn cause excess thatch buildup and inhibit the growth of new fescue seeds.


#2 Mark Sprinkler Heads & Invisible Dog Fences

          Anything that you don't want the aerators to penetrate.

flags for marking your lawn

Mark your lawn for any underground or hidden items that can be damaged

Aeration machines are powerful and have the potential to run over and damage items that are underground. Prior to your aeration, please take the time to walk through your lawn and mark out your items using any marking item so that our tech can see them. Here are a few examples of items you should mark–

  • Sprinkler heads
  • Irrigation system lines
  • Invisible dog fences
  • Hoses
  • Cables
  • Wires
  • Pipes

Any underground or hard-to-see item less than 6 inches below the surface of your lawn can potentially be damaged if our aerator machine runs over them. That's why we need your help to clearly mark them so we can actively avoid them and make sure that we do not damage any of your property.

🌱 Pro Tip: We recommend using marking flags with bright colors to mark your lawn. They will be easy to see and maneuver around when we are aerating your lawn, and they are inexpensive. They are available to purchase at your local home improvement or hardware store and online for under $5!


#3 Water, Water, Water

    A moist lawn makes for an effective aeration and seeding.shutterstock_690430750

Water your lawn to moisten the soil

You will want to keep your soil moist before your scheduled aeration and seeding appointment, so the aeration machines will be able to pull cores out of the soil more efficiently and effectively. If the soil is too hard, the aerators will not pull cores correctly and, in some cases, can bounce across the lawn without pulling any core plugs. However, be careful not to overwater because a soggy lawn will also cause problems, and the aerators can sink.

Ensure your sprinkler system is working and set your timer to 3 times a day for approximately 10 minutes per zone. This type of watering is only for seed germination. The goal is to keep the seed moist. Change your watering schedule after seed germination..approx 2 -3 Weeks. See our blog post on Aeration and Seeding After Care.

If you don't have a sprinkler system, set up a manual watering schedule or DIY your own system. Check out our blog on DIY sprinkler systems.

🌱 Pro Tip: Water just until you can easily insert a screwdriver several inches into your soil. That's a great rule of thumb!


What to Expect After Your Core Aeration and Seeding...

Your yard will look like a mess! Plugs all over your lawn. Some dirt/mud and residual seed may be on your driveway and sidewalks. The aerators are dirty, so try not to be alarmed. Just spray off with a hose. The technicians do not have water hoses on their trucks. 

  • Do not remove the soil plugs from your lawn. We understand that all the soil plugs our aerator machines pull out of your lawn may not look the prettiest, but they serve a purpose! Please do not remove them from your lawn. In just a short amount of time, they will begin to break down or crumble as time passes, and they are watered into the soil. As they do, the nutrients they hold will release back into the soil, providing more nourishment for your new grass seed.

  • You may have a lot of seeds you may not. Overseeding is just what it means overseeding. We are not replacing an entire lawn. We are just overseeding to fill in bare areas and create a denser-looking lawn.
    To see how to water properly after aeration, please go to After Care for Aeration and Seeding! 


For more information, check out other Aeration & Seeding materials:

How to care for your lawn after your Aeration and Seeding to get the best germination!

Don't have an irrigation system? No worries... check out our solution!


You're all set!

For more lawn care tips and more, please view and subscribe to our blog here!

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions!

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