Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

FEB 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Right Seeding - Selecting the right seed based on region, the amount of sun and water a lawn will receive during the sum- mer, and then seeding early enough to allow the grass plants to develop longer roots before the temperatures warm up are two of the best practices advised by Grass Seed USA, a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists whose mission is to inform and educate about the benefits of grass and best prac- tices for responsibly growing and maintaining healthy turf. Above Tine Rods - For machines with tine rods, which are mechanically or hydraulically driven in and out of the ground, the quantity of holes produced depends on the distance between each tine rod; the rate of reciprocation, or how fast the rods go up and down; and how fast the unit is traveling. Machines with tine rods set close together, a high rate of reciprocation and a slow travel speed produce a large quantity of holes. But no matter how high a reciproca- tion rate and how slow the machine travels, if the rods aren't close enough to- gether, you may have to do a couple of passes to produce a proper core pattern. Above Tine Wheels - The quantity of holes produced by a powered core aerator with tine wheels, which are circular disks that have numerous tines on them, is only determined by the number of tines on the wheel, the number of wheels, and the distance between them along the shaft. LC/DBM research of some of the top brands found that most wheels have six tines and the distance between the tine wheels ranged from 3.8" to 4.75". February 2018 29 to penetrate the soil and reciprocating tine rods that rely on force to penetrate the soil. Proper core depth is vital in alleviat - ing soil compaction. Achieving a depth of two to three inches is sufficient to relieve most soil compaction and give the root system room to grow. The compaction area in turf grass soil runs about an inch and a half deep. Core pattern is considered by many turf care professionals to be the most impor - tant factor. The proximity of the tines to one another, not just in the distance be - tween the tines along the shaft but also the distance from one tine tip to the next on the wheel or the distance traveled be - fore the tine rod once again punctures the ground is the core pattern. Seeding Choose the right seed based on your region and how much sun and water a lawn will receive during the summer. For example, Alec Kowalewski, Ph.D., of Or - egon State University advises that, in the northern United States, sunny lots that are irrigated should have "a seed blend with a high concen - tration of peren- nial ryegrass. Ir- rigated but shady lawns will do bet - ter with fine fes- cue. If you do not plan to irrigate, use tall fescue." Seed early to allow the grass plants to develop longer roots before the tempera - tures warm up. "The earlier in the year… the more time the turf will have for root development before summer," says Aar - on Patton, Ph.D., of Purdue University. A lawn with healthy roots will not only draw water from deeper in the soil but will also be better able to fend off summer annual weeds. When overseeding, the machine used can have a big impact on the results, so it's important to choose wisely. Be sure to take a look at the seed box. If it's posi - tioned too low, moisture on the grass may cause seed in the hopper to clog the open - ing, resulting in an uneven spread or no spread at all. A floating seed box ensures that no matter how uneven or bumpy the terrain, seeds are planted at a consistent and optimal depth, resulting in dependable results. When seeding on hills, consider an overseeder that can be locked in place at multiple depths for effective coverage. Select a model that has a clear lid on the seed box so operators can immediately detect if the seed is clumping or if the box

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