Do I Need Aeration and Overseeding, Slice Seeding, Sodding, Grading, or Hydroseeding?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

aerating-seeding-ugly-lawnIf your lawn has dead, bare, or thin spots, then you’re already aware that you need seeding. While you know that your end goal is a healthy green lawn, you might be wondering about the best way to achieve it. After all, there are quite a few lawn seeding methods out there and you likely want to know which one is best for your Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA property.

We understand that lawn maintenance can be confusing. There are so many options and the last thing you want to do is spend money on a method that’s not going to work or might be more than you really need for success.

In order to guide you toward the best choice for your lawn, we’ll explain what 5 different popular lawn seeding methods are all about to help you determine which one is the best fit.

What is Slice Seeding?

You may have heard of slice seeding, sometimes referred to as “slit seeding,” as a possible method for seeding your lawn. The process utilizes a piece of machinery called a slice seeder to make ½ inch to 1-inch deep slices in the ground with its vertical blades. Grass seed is then dropped into these slices. By creating these deep slices, the seed ends up in contact with the soil, where it will germinate best.

slice-seeding

While it’s effective, slice seeding is also one of the most intense lawn seeding methods for established lawns. If your lawn is in half decent shape, there’s really no need for something so intensive. In fact, a slice seeder will rip out existing plants and till up a lot of your existing healthy lawn. For that reason, it is generally only considered as a method for lawns that need a complete renovation where you’re starting from scratch.

In terms of cost, slice seeding is expensive. Due to the fact that it is such a time-consuming process, most companies which offer slice seeding charge a lot for this service.

What is Grading and Seeding?

Grading and seeding is another intensive lawn seeding method. It is performed using excavation equipment that pushes around the existing soil to create the proper grade.

grading

Once the new grade is established, grass seed is spread over the surface with a coating of straw or erosion matting. These materials help the new seed to retain moisture while germinating.

This lawn seeding method is extreme and typically only used for new construction or where lawns have drainage or grading problems. On most existing lawns, grading and seeding is not only overkill but is going to be an expensive endeavor.

What is Sodding?

Of the lawn seeding methods, sodding is the quickest way to get a new lawn. Sodding is the process of laying down sod, which is grass that has been grown at a sod farm for 9 months or more. After being grown, the already established turf is then harvested in rolls which are laid atop freshly graded soil on your property.

And just like that—you have an instant lawn. Of course, there is still the maintenance involved in keeping your new lawn thriving. New sod requires a lot of watering and it’s important that you keep up with it so that you don’t let your investment go to waste.

sod

Sodding is also an expensive option, about 10 times more costly than seed. Plus, on top of paying for the sod, you also have to invest in costly grading work (as explained above) which needs to be performed in advance. The labor-intensive grading required for sodding is the same involved for a grading and seeding service—the only difference being that sod is laid at the end, giving you an instant lawn.  

In most cases, sodding is probably unnecessary. Sodding might be something to consider if you have a lawn that is continually being torn up by your pet. A dog that is rough on the lawn might make it impossible to establish new seed. Sodding might also be considered if you truly desire an “overnight lawn” and are unwilling to wait for the results of another method.

What is Hydroseeding?

This lawn seeding method uses a combination of seed, mulch, fertilizer, and soil amendments which are mixed with water and then sprayed on the lawn. Hydroseeding is typically used on slopes, where it would be difficult to drive equipment and establish seed as a result of runoff. The idea is that the seed would “stick” to the hilly areas.

Unfortunately, this seeding method is largely ineffective unless you’ve also taken steps to improve your soil quality and loosened the ground so that the new seeds can root more easily.

hydroseeding

If you have clay-like soil, as most homes in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA do, then hydroseeding is essentially just tossing grass seed and some fertilizer atop of a rock hard ground where it’s not going to be able to establish roots.

Cost-wise, hydroseeding is in the same vicinity (or can sometimes be slightly cheaper) than the cost of grading and seeding.

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What is Aeration and Overseeding?

Aeration and overseeding is the best lawn seeding method for the vast majority of lawns in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA. Lawn aeration is the process of pulling soil plugs or cores throughout the lawn with a machine called an aerator.

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Doing so allows more oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the soil and down to the root zone where they’re needed most. This ensures a favorable environment for the root system to develop and grow which is important since healthier roots equate to a healthier lawn.

lawn-aerator-walk-behind

We often have people ask does lawn aeration really work? There’s no doubt the answer is, yes. Just check out this Bethlehem, PA lawn aeration project in which we brought a dead lawn back to life.

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Overseeding is a service best performed at the same time as aeration. When completed this way, the seeds will fall into the holes created by the aerator, providing seed-to-soil contact. This allows for the best possible conditions for seeds to germinate and establish roots.

aeration-before-after-2

Still, some homeowners ask us if they can just toss some seed down. They see those thinned out or bare areas and toss a handful of seed there. But seeding by itself is simply not going to be as effective. Overseeding without aeration makes it likely that a large percentage of the seed will never germinate. It’s important that the soil is loosened first in order to provide that critical seed-to-soil contact, vital to germination.

In terms of expense, aeration and overseeding are also very cost effective. In fact, this is the least expensive of all of the options discussed. That means for a minimal investment, you can have fantastic results.

Exploring Additional Benefits of Aeration and Overseeding in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA

lawn-aeration-after-2We already mentioned that aeration provides better seed-to-soil contact, which makes seeding most effective. But there are other important benefits as well. If you’re considering an aeration and overseeding service then you might be wondering what you can expect. Here are some of the additional benefits.

  • Reduced Weeds: A well-aerated lawn is less likely to have tons of weed growth. That’s because a healthy, thick lawn will naturally choke out weeds and prevent them from growing in the first place.
  • Reduced Soil Compaction: A lawn aeration service also helps to loosen up the soil which is an important benefit given the fact that the Lehigh Valley’s clay soil can become very easily compacted. Aeration helps improve the overall structure of soil allowing for better circulation of oxygen, water, and nutrients. Your new grass seed will grow better and your existing grass will thrive.
  • Improved Fertilization Treatments: The looser soil following an aeration service also has the added benefit of making fertilization treatments more effective. A well-aerated lawn benefits more from a lawn care fertilization service than a lawn that is not aerated since the product is able to penetrate deeper into the soil and have more impact.
  • Broken Up Thatch: If you’ve seen thatch (a naturally occurring, dead organic material common in our region) building atop of your soil, then an aeration treatment can help break that up. Thatch build-up of more than a half inch can prevent oxygen, water, and nutrients from penetrating the soil and reaching the root zone. Plus, excessive thatch can even make your lawn more susceptible to problems such as disease or pests. But performing lawn aeration will help break up the thatch by increasing the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose it.

When to Perform Aeration and Overseeding?

leaves in autumn forestNow that you understand more about aeration and overseeding and what makes them the best lawn seeding method, you might be wondering when to have them done.

Aeration and overseeding are best done in the fall because weather conditions are ideal for new grass growth. While the soil is still warm, the air is cooling. This provides the best possible growing conditions for seed germination which, in turns, improves the chance of new grass survival.

In terms of how of how often you should aerate and overseed, due to the clay soil that is common in the Lehigh Valley, we advise having this service performed annually. This will help ensure that your lawn continues to thrive—both looking and performing its best.

Choosing a Company for Your Aeration and Overseeding Needs

lawn-aeratingThere’s no doubt that aeration and overseeding is the best lawn seeding method for your Lehigh Valley home. But it does mean choosing a trustworthy and professional lawn aerating and seeding service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA.

You want to be sure you’re going to get the desired results with a company that uses top-of-the-line equipment and high-quality grass seed.

While a lot of companies in our region do perform aeration and overseeding, one thing that sets Joshua Tree apart is the fact that we perform a double pass. That means that we go over the lawn two complete times to ensure that we’re making as many lawn plugs as possible. This will give you the best possible results for your investment.

If you’re tired of being embarrassed or stressed out over your thin, bare, or dead lawn spots, then it’s time to take action. By having your lawn aerated and overseeded you can finally have the lush, green lawn that you truly desire.

Are you embarrassed about thinned out or bare patches in your Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA lawn? Get in touch with us to get some free expert advice and a free consultation and quote for aeration and overseeding. It’s our hope that you can soon have the thick, green lawn you deserve!

7 tips to transform an ugly lawn in Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton, PA

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Image Sources:  grading, sod, hydroseeding

Joshua Malik

Written by Joshua Malik

With an intense passion for arboriculture and lawn care, founder Joshua Malik brings to Joshua Tree over 20 years of experience in the tree and lawn care industry. And he expects the same passion in his team by employing representatives and field personnel who have achieved and maintained proper industry credentials to ensure clients benefit through best practices.