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Aeration and Dethatching Questions

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by xtremelawn, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. xtremelawn

    xtremelawn LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Posts: 109

    I have offered aeration or dethatching before, but i think i want to this year.
    I have a few questions

    1. When is is the best time to do these?
    2. What do you charge?
    3. What is the best equipment to use?

  2. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,505

    1. In New England, I offer dethatching in the spring, and aeration in the fall.
    2. I typically charge $125 to $200 for dethatching, and $175 to $250 for aeration.
    3. I use a JRCO dethatcher on a ZTR mower for dethatching, and a tow-behind aerator for aerating.
  3. xtremelawn

    xtremelawn LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Posts: 109

    Most of my yards are less than 5000 sq ft. I don't think i can use a pull behind
    on yards that small.
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362


    I've spent a fair amount of time searching the archives on this very issue. And most, but not all, of my question have been answered that route.

    I'm not nearly as eager to offer de-thatching in fact I have no plans on offering it at all unless someone specifically asks for it. I have the de-thatch attachment for my Mantis and I'm looking for a new or nearly new one for my Honda FG110 since the tine speed is faster than the Mantis. They are hardly as productive as a Powerrake. I will bid very high on dethatching. In my area this is primarily a spring thing since lawns look dead and dry. I will not touch a dethatch job unless I do an estimate and at that time and I will show up with my Mantis do do a spot check or 2 on the potential customers lawn to see what level of de-thatch is acceptable to them. Some clowns barely pull up any thatch. My customer satisfaction level is 99.9% the .01% people are impossible to please. That will also help me determine how much thatch I will have to haul off and charge accordingly. Unless a lawn is super small I will not touch it for less than $100. If someone wants to sign up for weekly mowing etc. I might consdier pulling back the price somewhat to clinch the deal.

    Anyhow this spring service competes with Rototilling which was very good for me last spring which I belive is more profitable per hour.

    As for aeration It looks like I will going with the Plugr model probably the 850HD. I've been searching unseuccessfully for decent used one. I was considering the Ryan 28 but I'm thinking the Plugrs are better in many ways. If not someone chime in please.

    For aeration I'm planning on charging x2 to x3+ what I would mow the same yard for. If they have a sprinkler system it will be on the higher end since I need mark sprinklers and potentially hit a head or shallow water line.

    I don't have a riding mower and all my equipment for 2008 season will be WB :walking:
  5. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 788

    Both of these should be done when the grass is actively growing. We have both warm and cool season grasses here so we aerate the bermuda and zoysia in the spring or summer and the fescue in the early fall. We don't do a lot of dethatching.
  6. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    i have a pull behind tine dethacher pulls behind exmark mower we blow all thatch into pile and bag- $80+

    use a bluebird aerator charge $50 for first 5,000 sq ft $5 for each 1,000 sq ft after

    charge $99 aerate fertilize and lime for 5,000 sq ft $10 each additional 1,000 sq ft
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    Found this site http://www.lawnaeration.com/ and they advertise $35.99 for an average lawn. Also group discount for 10 or more lawns in the same neighborhood. They seem like mass market low ballers to me. :nono:

    So much for the x2 - x3 what mowing would be for aeration here. These guys would mow a lawn for $11.99 at this rate. :hammerhead:
  8. PaproskiLandscaping

    PaproskiLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39


    In CT it has always seemed to me that you would get little benefit out of aerating right before winter as (see link) winter freezing and thawing naturally does this (however I have seen some articles that recomend this practice as they claim the holes created help the ground to frost deeper and give you better aeration). Just after aerating is great time to apply lime as it can take lime a year to move .5 or an inch through the soil (aeration can help it along).

    I agree that it makes the most sense to bill this as an amount per square foot with some type of minimum square footage. I would recommend using a core aerator not just a spike aerator. If the customer objects to the appearance of the plugs sitting on top of the grass you can first assure them of all the benefits of aeration, but secondly you can get yourself one of the wire screens they use to groom the clay on baseball diamonds (looks like a piece of chain link fence). Dragging this over it will break the plugs up faster than nature.
    Aeration isn't a huge money maker but it is very important in the big picture, and it is easy to do when you are already on someones lawn to cut it anyways. Also for you, advertising for aeration might be a way to bring in new customers. I sell it as part of my annual contract (some of you may have read my other posts about how much i love my annual contracts). I am hesitant to offer it as a one time job, but often a quote for aeration can turn into a full lawn restoration, so often it is worth the effort to go out and quote it.

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