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Aeration over-rated?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by naturescape, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. naturescape

    naturescape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    I've been in this business and performing aerations regularly for about a third of my customers since 1984.

    It seems to me, when honestly looking at these lawns, that aeration is over-rated. I have a LOT of lawns that have never been aerated that look better than the ones that do get it done.

    I am considering dropping this service next year. It is HARD work too, although certainly pays well (I can make 500 - 600/day doing that and fert, easy).

    I DO think aerating is a good idea for renovating lawns, dropping seed into the aerifier holes works great -- but I honestly think that's all that the hard work of aerating is good for.

    Any comments? Not just what is SUPPOSED to be good for the lawn, but in your own opinion if aeration honestly is WORTH the effort?
  2. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 686

    I agree with you. I have been in my house for 20 years now. The lawn is bermuda. It has never been bagged only mulched (leaf mulching also). I have never dethatched or aerated. It is one of the best looking lawns in the neighborhood.
  3. cybervision

    cybervision LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 342

    Whether or not Aeration is good for the lawn will be debated forever. One thing that most people will agree on is that is is not bad for the lawn(Unless it is over done).

    With that said if you need the work or want the extra money then go for it. As long as your customers think it is good and want there lawn aerated than everyone is happy.

    If you do enough aerating you can get a tractor with a 3 point aerator. They do a great job and much faster than chasing a walk behind.
  4. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,732

    i definitely think it's worth it... i've managed to take out mower ruts that appeared over time by doing it. (couldn't change mowing pattern due to the shape of the yard).
  5. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    If your soil is predominately clay, aeration is important. If you maintain sportsfields, it is essential.
  6. verant

    verant LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 484

    i totally agree, its overrated. i've only had a few customers ask for it in a few years now. so i never bothered w/ getting equip. for it. all lawns need are spring thatching, mowing, and fall cleanups. and of course water and feed.
  7. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Messages: 2,572

    I will do it if they ask for it.......but I don't push it....
  8. naturescape

    naturescape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    I do maintain a commercial property that takes a LOT of wear during summer. I may continue aerating that in fall.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh I fully agree, if you're not going to do anything besides aerating then you might as well do nothing, that's about as sick as changing the oil but not the filter. Also it certainly depends on the lawn and what school you go to, there's a thing called de-thatching but it's been my experience most aerators never de-thatch, and vice-versa, but in and of itself aerating does little if anything, might as well not even bother.

    But it's just like anything else, most of the time I can take one look and I can tell you if the customer gives a rat or not. And sure they call and think whatever, but to this day and until I figure out how to run enough advertising to ONLY target the perfect lawns, I turn the worst of these things down left and right but to a point I have to accept whatever comes along too...

    So sure I get my share of customers who just get me to aerate and they do nothing else, that to me is the biggest waste...
    I HATE it, it eats me alive to watch folks spend money for nothing... But, some they call every year, you know, I explain it once or twice but eventually I just keep my mouth shut because so long they pay I'm dumb enough to do it, after I done explained it so many times, what else can you do?

    As for the money, that machine is one of my cheapest, if I spend 1-200 a year in parts, the cost of this thing runs me 2-300 a year max, it generates great money and I love working on it because it's so simple, most of the time it's a tine or a belt that breaks, that's about it... I've had less problems with this thing in 6 years than anything else, it is the only machine I bought used that is still with me and really in not much worse a shape than the day I bought it.

    I just can't beat it, I paid a grand for this solid axle buffalo and it will ride you, but it's good for me.
  10. avnorm

    avnorm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    Yikey, mates. I just bought an aerator based on reading these threads in Aug - Sept time frame.

    I was hoping to address the burnout areas in the yard.

    Over the years, I have spot treated those areas by raking, scarifying and spreading seed when possible in the spr & fall times. Otherwise, weeds and crabgrass fill in. If I was late to seed, then, I sprayed and re-seeded later. Always a battle against decaying conditions.

    Well, we'll see. I hope de-thatching, aerating and over seeding is the better course.

    I have thought of installing a well and irrigation system as the more expensive option. Using house water is $$$ as we pay double the water rate for 15 years to pay back the county for the sewage system; thus, nobody here uses county water for sprinkling system.

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