Should I Kill My Lawn & Start Over? Exploring Renovation vs. Aerating & Seeding

If you have grass that’s in really bad shape, you might be wondering should I kill my lawn and start over?

Perhaps your lawn has a lot of brown or bare spots or seems to be full of weeds. Whatever the case may be, it might seem like the best option is to restart the lawn from scratch. Trying to work with what’s already there might seem like an impossible feat.

After all, if it’s that far gone, how is it ever going to bounce back?

While there are certainly cases where starting over might make sense, it’s actually somewhat of a rarity. The vast majority of the time, homeowners’ lawns are not in as bad shape as they think they are and can be fixed.

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Let’s dig deeper into the issue and explore the idea of killing a lawn and starting over vs. performing a service called lawn aeration and overseeding. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to be a bit skeptical about how much aeration and overseeding can achieve but that usually leads to them being pleasantly surprised.

Do I Really Need a Lawn Renovation?

There are some reasons why someone might want to go through the process of killing a lawn and starting over. If you have a lawn with really poor drainage or awful soil structure, plus it’s overtaken by weeds and has more bare spots than healthy grass, then you might want to just restart the lawn from scratch.

lawn filled with weeds

That’s what’s called a lawn renovation and it means killing everything that’s growing and then literally starting from the ground up (sometimes with sod, sometimes with new grass seed).

From time to time, we have clients who want to do this.

Usually, it’s a matter of not wanting to wait the time that might be involved in restoring what they already have. If a lawn is in really bad shape, we might need to spend a season killing weeds and remedying issues and then another season growing new grass. And sometimes homeowners are more eager than that.

lawn technician killing weeds in lawn

When that’s the case, we do have landscape contractors that we work with and can recommend. Oftentimes, we’ll work together with these professionals. We’ll handle killing the growth and they’ll handle the restoration. Sometimes, we then come back in to take over ongoing maintenance once the lawn is established so that it doesn’t get into bad shape again.

But that’s truly a small fraction of our clients because the vast majority of the time, we can restore what’s already there. With just a little bit of patience and some trust in the process, aeration and overseeding can make a tremendous difference.

That’s important because a lawn renovation is an incredibly involved process. Killing a lawn and starting over does mean a period of having dirt for a yard. Plus, it can be a lot more costly to go this route.

Trusting the Process to Aeration and Overseeding

We understand that homeowners are sometimes skeptical about what aeration and overseeding can accomplish. That’s why they would even think to restart lawn from scratch. It just seems like poking a bunch of holes in the soil isn’t going to do that much.

walk behind aeration to restore lawn

But when homeowners understand what’s really involved, it starts to make sense.

The process of pulling those plugs (called soil “cores”) allows the lawn to breathe. But it’s not just the holes that are made, it’s also the process of leaving the soil cores on the ground to naturally decompose and as they do so, improve the overall soil structure. As all of this happens, the soil becomes less compacted and more water, oxygen, and nutrients are able to penetrate down to the root zone where they’re needed.

By performing overseeding at the same time, you are also providing the best possible growing conditions for the new seedlings. They’ll have optimal seed-to-soil contact as they fall into the holes (rather than sit atop the soil not doing much).

Before and after dead lawn and green lawn from aeration and overseeding

All of this does add up to successful new growth and can be transformational. When homeowners ask us does aeration and overseeding really work? We often refer to the lawn that we transformed after Musikfest. If aeration and overseeding can restore a lawn that was completely trampled (and nearly destroyed), then it can absolutely transform a residential lawn like yours.

It comes back to how bad your lawn really is.

As we’ve said, the vast majority of the time it’s not as bad as people think. While it’s easy to fixate on those bare spots or the weeds that popped up, we suspect there’s likely also a decent amount of healthy turf. Aeration and overseeding can do wonders for those bare spots and we can couple that service with a lawn care program that will address your weeds and start getting your lawn back on track.

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Getting the Most out of a Lawn Aeration Service

To sum it all up, we are not claiming that aeration is a magic bullet. It’s not a cure-all solution to all of your lawn problems and it also won’t transform your lawn overnight. You do need to be patient and see the process through.

But when you’re able to do that, you can get great results.

That means that instead of going through a total overhaul like a lawn renovation, you can get those amazing results.

We believe that aeration is truly one of the best things that you can do for your lawn. It will make a tremendous difference in your lawn’s health. And in time, you’ll have a property that you can truly be proud to show off.

If you’d like to know more about how Joshua Tree can help meet your lawn needs at your home in the Allentown or Lansdale, PA area, or you have more questions, we’re here to help! Get in touch with us to get some free expert advice and learn more about our lawn care program options.

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