Core aerating with new sprinkler system

mooch91(central NJ - zone 6)September 6, 2005


Just had an in-ground sprinkler system installed. I have been very happy, finally being able to give my lawn the water it needs without spending hours a day setting up portable sprinklers.

In preparation for the fall recovery season, I was planning to core aearate and overseed with a better variety of seed to ensure that I get the best possible lawn results next year. Between the lack of watering this year and the sprinkler install, the lawn took a bit of a beating lately.

I am deathly afraid of running a core aerator over the lawn, however, for fear of puncturing the sprinkler lines. I know where the heads are and can easily flag them out, but I also know that there are a few areas of shallow lines in the yard. Much of the pipe was pulled using a trenchless puller, but there are areas where the pipe was hand dug to shallow depths to cross over drainage lines and other obstacles. Of course, there's the possiblilty there are other shallow areas I'm not aware of.

Should I take the chance with the aerator? Try to get the sprinkler contractor to accept accountability for any damage that might occur? Slit seed instead (tried this last year and was unhappy with the results)? Hand rake the yard and then drop seed? Looking for any recommendations you might have.


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Not sure what the laws are in NJ, but in Texas irrigation contractors are required to have a minimum of 6" coverage between irrigation piping and top of grade. UNLESS... (there's always an unless), you are are in areas where there are obstructions such as roots, piping, etc. Then you are required to have at least 2" inches of coverage.

I'm not sure what core aerator you are using nor the depth. Probably somewhere in the 4" range or shallower. For a normal installation I would probably say you would be OK, but considering you said that there were areas where the contractor had to go shallow to avoid piping, you may run into some problems. Aerating the yard but avoiding these shallow areas is always an option, although it will probably not provide the look and results I think you are after.

I would suggest contacting the contractor who installed your irrigation system and explain to them what you are wanting to do and see if they forsee any problems. They would know better than anyone how deep the pipes were laid. But I wouldn't expect them to take responsibility for any damages incurred by you aerating your lawn. Like I said, laws differ from state to state, but I'm sure that they have exceptions to minimum depths similar to Texas. As long as his minimum depths are within the states requirement, then any damages incurred from the homeowners actions would make repairs the owners responsibility to correct.

Good Luck

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 5:55AM
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Mark your heads and avoid. Lines should be down 7 - 9 inches, way below the depth of a core aerator plug.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 8:10AM
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