We know that you desire a lush, green lawn and you’re the kind of person who is invested in doing what it takes to achieve good lawn health. While lawn care services and techniques such as proper mowing, fertilization, and weed control are obviously important parts of that effort, one of the best things you can do for your lawn is having it aerated.
While it is a very important service, we find that many of our clients don’t know much about lawn aeration or why they should aerate their lawns. This article will help clarify what lawn aeration is, why it should be performed, how often it should be done, and why it’s likely best left to the professionals.
What is Lawn Aeration and Why Do I Need It?
Simply put, lawn aeration is the process of making small holes by pulling out small soil plugs (or cores) throughout your lawn in order to allow more oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the soil, down to the root zone. Allowing that to happen helps ensure a favorable environment for the root system to develop and grow. Why is that important? Well, first and foremost, healthier roots mean a healthier lawn.
The Benefits of Using a Lawn Aeration Service Include:
Reduced Soil Compaction
In Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania, our clay soil can become easily compacted. Aeration reduces soil compaction and helps improve its overall structure. That’s important because compacted soil does not allow for proper circulation of oxygen, water, and nutrients and therefore does not allow your lawn to thrive.
Broken Up Thatch
Thatch—which is naturally-occurring, dead organic material that can build atop your soil—is a common problem in our region. Thatch build-up of over ½” can prevent oxygen, water, and nutrients from penetrating the soil to reach the root zone. Excessive thatch can even make your lawn more susceptible to problems such as disease or pests. But a lawn aerating service will help break up thatch by increasing the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose it.
Better Seed-to-Soil Contact
We advise that overseeding be performed at the same time as aeration when there will be better seed-to-soil contact as the result of the holes aeration creates. This helps ensure that your new grass has optimal growing conditions and helps to fill in small, thin areas in your lawn.
Improved Fertilization Treatments
A lawn aeration service provides looser soil which makes 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.
A well-aerated lawn is also less likely to be filled with weeds. That’s because the best natural defense against weeds is a thick lawn that chokes out unwanted weed growth. It could even mean less need for weed control product down the line as your thickened lawn begins to naturally keep weeds at bay.
How Often and When to Aerate your Lawn
Soil texture has a lot to do with how often aeration should be performed. All soil is composed of small particles which vary in size, shape, and composition. There are three categories for soil particles: sand, loam, and clay, which are divided by size. Of the three, clay particles are the smallest, which means the soil packs very easily. That makes it challenging for the soil to get what it needs to thrive.
Due to the clay soil that is prevalent in the Lehigh Valley, we advise that a lawn aerating service is performed every year. The fall is the best time to aerate as this is also the time that we would overseed. It is best for the seeds to fall into the holes we create through aeration in order to get them into the soil.
Overseeding is best done in the fall because weather conditions are ideal for growth. While the soil is still warm, the air is cool. This provides the best possible growing conditions for seed germination which, in turns, improves the chance of new grass survival.
DIY vs. Using a Professional Lawn Aeration Service
Some of our customers ask us about performing lawn aeration on their own. While this is certainly something that can be done, it’s not something that we advise for several reasons.
For one, we often find that people just don’t realize how tough doing it themselves will be. The equipment that is typically available for rent is often clunky and well-used, and also is fairly narrow so it takes paths across the lawn. That can make the job laborious. Oftentimes the equipment is very heavy—a lot heavier than most people realize—and the task of doing a full pass over the yard is exhausting. In fact, we’ve had clients who have gotten a third-way through the task of DIY lawn aeration when they call us to do it for them. They often tell us it was a lot more time consuming and labor-intensive than they ever could have imagined.
When you rent a piece of equipment, oftentimes you’re getting something subpar that has been used many times before you. It’s beat-up and probably not working all that well. That also means that you’re not going to get the best possible results. It certainly won’t compare to the highly professional equipment that a professional lawn care service will invest in.
One thing that we find is incredibly important is the plug depth that’s created by the equipment. In our experience, when clients try to do lawn aeration on their own, they’re not getting as deep a plug depth with rental equipment than what we can achieve with our commercial-grade aerator. That means you’re not going to have the best possible flow of oxygen, water, and nutrients to your lawn’s roots.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is some danger associated with operating heavy machinery such as an aerator. You could do damage to a vehicle, damage to your driveway or sidewalk, run into or over something, or even damage to your lawn. You could also put yourself at risk for personal injury if you don’t know what you’re doing.
But when you hire a professional lawn aeration service, you’re hiring trained technicians who know exactly what they’re doing. You’re protecting yourself, your lawn, and your property by using professionals who know how to operate the equipment. You’re also ensuring that you’re getting the best possible results.
Hiring Joshua Tree for Lawn Aeration in Pennsylvania
One thing that sets Joshua Tree apart when it comes to lawn aeration is the fact that we do 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, in order to give you the best possible results for your investment.
More often than not we find that clients can’t even complete one full pass of their lawn due to the fact that it’s exhausting and time consuming with a walk-behind aerator that you can rent. At Joshua Tree, we have invested in a highly professional, ride-on aerators so that our technicians don’t tire out and can do the best job possible.
Performing a double pass is something that also sets us apart from our local competition. We have heard that some other lawn aerating services in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA only perform a single pass. If you’re going to invest in a professional lawn care service, we advise that you ensure you’re getting the most (and the best) for your investment.
At Joshua Tree, we offer lawn aeration either as a stand-alone service or as part of a lawn care program. We can customize the approach that’s right for you and your lawn in order to ensure you’re getting the best possible results. We know that lawn aeration can make a tremendous difference in the overall health of your lawn. Because we care about you having the best results possible, we suggest you consider adding aeration to your lawn care regimen.