Lawn Rejuvenation FAQs
When turf is badly stressed, what equipment is needed to rejuvenate it?
After taking a beating from last summer's heat, followed by piles of heavy winter snow across much of the country, power rakes / dethatchers, overseeders and aerators will be the key items to rejuvenate stressed yards.
What is the correct timing and sequence for using this equipment?
Come spring, if a yard suffers from excess thatch buildup from the prior season, typically a quarter inch or more, start off the season with a power rake (dethatcher) to pull up and remove the accumulated thatch. Excess thatch can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the soil and contribute to fungus and turf disease. Next up is aeration. An aerator relieves soil compaction in the top few inches of the soil and improves root depth as well as air, water, fertilizer and nutrient flow. This increases turf health, droght resistance, and results in less stress, fewer weeds and pest problems. Lastly -- the use of an overseeder to thicken the entire lawn or fill in thin and bare spots will complete the rejuvenation process, but consider the impact of spring weed control or fertilizer on young grass shoots -- so consult your nursery first.
What criteria should be considered when purchasing aerators, dethatchers and overseeders?
For aerators, simple tine engagement and disengagement is key along with low fatigue and simple ramp loading. Also important is O ring chain and greasable bearings for improved performance and up-time. For overseeders, hydrostatic drives completely take the fatigue factor out of traditional models and make the chore of seeding simple. A floating cutting head maintains blade-to-soil contact for better germination. Lastly, when purchasing a dethatcher, look for infinite height adjustment to improve blade life along with strong tires, greasable bearings, and a fold and go handle with inside bail and cross bar for easy transport or storage.
Are there any operational tips for these types of equipment?
It is highly recommended to water your yard before aerating for plugs up to 3" deep. Cut your lawn short before overseeding then lay down seed at half the rate, going over it twice in a 45-degree criss-cross diagonal pattern.
Spring Tune Up
We all await spring for the start of another season. This is a good time to service your equipment before putting it to work. The first thing is to give each unit a good once-over to ensure all hardware is secure, no oil or fuel leaks, and the tension of belts is properly set and their condition is in good working order. Once that is done its time to bring the unit to life for the first time since last season. If the unit was stored with no fuel, add fresh fuel, check the oil, then start it up. This is a good time to change the oil, so after it has ran for 10 minutes or so, shut it off and drain the oil. Once drained, re-install the plug, and refill with manufacturer's recommended type of oil. It is also a good idea to use an enzyme treatment in the fuel to help protect the fuel system from the affects of the ethanol in the fuel. These treatments are available at most lawn and garden centers and will help keep your engine up and running smoothly. Also check the air filter and spark plug and clean or replace them if necessary. Once the engine is serviced, lubricate the chains (if equipped) and adjust if needed. Sprocket alignment should also be checked to prevent premature wear of drive components. Also lubricate idlers and any oher pivot points for smooth opertion. Inspect the cables for condition and proper adjustment, then lubricate with a good silicone spray. Finally, if the unit is equipped with pneumatic tires, check the air pressure and overall condition of all tires. Wheel bearings should also be examined for wear. Inspect tines or blades and replace if necessary.
Taking time to service each piece of equipment prior to use can save a lot of downtime and frusration and will get you off to a good start this spring season! ---Danny Spiwak, Billy Goat Technical Service Manager
Wishing you Holiday Cheer and plenty of relaxation and downtime for your holiday season!
From outdoor debris cleanup to clearing the table following a holiday meal, the DL35 gets it done faster so you can "put your feet up" sooner! See how it's done: http://www.youtube.com/embed/dmdFMwDTE2g
Billy Goat demoed the power of the brand new debris loader with its main event in the outdoor area at GIE+EXPO, 2012, where attendees were invited to chuck pumpkins up to 14” in diameter into the debris loader, aiming at a 4’ x 2’ cartoon caricature poster of their candidate’s opponent.
The 35 HP electric start debris loader maximizes loading and debris reduction with Billy Goat’s exclusive dual shredding system with Piranha™ blade and produces 5,050 CFM of suction power for the ultimate in productivity. A 20” impeller with 18 cutting points provides debris reduction up to 12:1. The unit features a large 14” x 10’ clear poly helical hose, ideal for taking huge bites out of any debris pile, including pumpkins! View the video: http://www.billygoat.com/AssetGallery/CategoryModal/75
Tips for Damage Control in Drought Conditions
Mow higher if the grass is still growing. This encourages roots to grow deeper and slows down the evaporation of soil. Stretch the time between watering to maximum and water efficiently and thoroughly. Too little water encourages weeds.
In severe water shortages let the lawn go brown. Healthy perennial grass can survive months with no water and recovers quickly when rain showers return.
If you’re in the midst of drought with restricted water use:
Avoid excessive foot traffic.
Weeds will continue to thrive so it is a good time to spot treat with a lawn-friendly weed killer.
Lawns, by nature go dormant under extreme conditions and can survive several weeks with no water. Applying small amounts of water confuses the lawn, making it think conditions are no longer extreme, resulting in worsened lawn condition.
You may need to repair the lawn when drought conditions improve, especially in areas next to concrete or where soil is compacted.
Don’t over-seed or try to rejuvenate the lawn until fall when rainfall is usually more plentiful and the drought is over.
When Renovation is in Order
Lawn renovation is the process of rejuvenating a lawn. The process usually calls for re-seeding, especially for cool-season grasses. Timing for this project is important and depends on your geographic location. For seeding, late summer is a good time for this process so the lawn is established before the first heavy frost. Warm season grasses are usually done in late spring, when the soil warms up enough for seeds to germinate.
If completely installing a new lawn, apply a non-selective herbicide; it kills what is on top of the soil and below the surface. It does not remain active in the soil so it will be safe to plant again. Let the lawn get completely brown, then wait an additional week to ensure there is no sign of new growth. If there is, spot treating will be necessary. When everything is completely dead, mow the dead lawn as close as possible, and bag the dead clippings.
Next, cultivate the soil with a dethatcher or power rake. Go over the lawn first in one direction, then the other direction. Following this step, an option is to aerate if the soil is heavily compacted. You can also cultivate and seed at the same time (slit-seeding). Use the same process of going over the lawn first in one direction, then the other direction. Slit-seeding is only recommended for non-compacted soils.
Now apply the seed. Be sure to choose a seed suitable for your climate, and apply according to label directions. If using a slit-seeder, set the rate slightly above ½ the rate and do it in two directions (aforementioned above).
Spread a starter fertilizer over the entire lawn per the label directions. Keep the seeds evenly moist until germination. As the seedlings grow taller, cut back on the number of waterings and increase the amount of water. The lawn can be cut when it reaches 2 to 3 inches. It is not recommended to apply weed control until spring for cool season lawns, or fall for warm season lawns.
The Goat's Spring / Summer Lawn Renovation Tips
May: Fertilize your yard as the rapid spring growth begins to slow. Most lawns won't need more than 1 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft. As the season begins to dry out, typically in June, begin regular morning watering (before 8 a.m.). Do not overwater as it can promote fungal growth. Water just enough to reduce drought stress. Depending on climate, no more than ¾" to 1 ½" total per week is needed.
June - August: Pesticide applications for grubs can start if the population exceeds 9 grubs per square foot. If it's less than that, they're unlikely to cause damage to your root system. If the lawn is lush and healthy, a small population may be present, but not enough to cause damage that justifies the expense. August is also the time for high brush mowing. The Billy Goat brushcutter will gobble up anything up to 6' high and 2" diameter.