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Frequently Asked Questions about Aeration

What is aerating or core aeration?
Aeration, which is also called core aeration, is the process of perforating the soil, as well as any thatch layer that may exist, removing a core or plug of soil and depositing that core on the surface to break down.

What are some of the benefits of aeration?
(1) Aerating will allow water, air and fertilizer to penetrate all the way down to the root zone. This in turn allows the roots to grow deeper, creating a healthier and thicker lawn. (2) It will also greatly reduce the chances of having thatch buildup. (3) Aeration will reduce soil compaction. (4) If you plan to overseed, it will create an optimal environment for direct seed to soil contact.

How do I know if my yard needs to be aerated?
Any lawn can benefit from at least an annual aeration. Any areas of high traffic that look worn, grass that doesn’t green up after fertilizing or browns easily in high heat conditions, yards with poor drainage that have standing water after it rains, and homes built on poor subsoil with clay are all excellent reasons to aerate your yard.

When should I aerate and how often?
We recommend aerating twice a year in both the spring (March through April) and fall (September through October) for most grass types. At a minimum, aeration should be done at least once a year.

What do I do after I aerate?
There are a few things you can do right after aerating such as fertilizing, overseeding and watering. What you decide depends on your personal preference and the condition of your yard. (Reference the next three Q & A’s)

What will I achieve by watering my lawn after aeration?
Just watering your lawn after aeration can be very beneficial at helping to break down the cores created by the aeration itself. It also allows water direct access to those newly exposed roots. If you are planning on fertilizing with your watering make sure to read all of the instructions on the fertilizer concerning when or if it should be watered in.

Should I fertilize after aeration?
Yes, now is the best time to fertilize while the holes created by the aeration are still open, allowing access to the root system and before the cores start to break down. Always make sure to use the correct fertilizer treatment for the appropriate season. Also, remember not to use a fertilizer with any sort of weed control or crabgrass preventer if you also plan on overseeding. If you ARE NOT overseeding, a fertilizer with weed control will be fine to use.

Is it a good idea to overseed after aerating?
If your lawn looks thin in places it never hurts to overseed after aeration. Keep in mind if you are going to overseed, plan on having your yard aerated early in the season, so as to give the seed the maximum amount of time to germinate. You should also try to overseed the same day or within a day or so after your aeration while the holes are still open and before the cores start to break down. If you are fertilizing along with overseeding, DO NOT use a fertilizer with weed control. If you do, your seed will not germinate properly. If you want to fertilize in conjunction with overseeding (which is a good idea), just use a starter fertilizer or one without any type of weed control.

How do I know whether or not to aerate or dethatch?
Unless you have a thatch layer that is greater than two inches, you would probably benefit more from just aerating because aeration can do two steps in one. It will break up moderate thatch buildup while also reducing soil compaction at the same time.

How long will it take for the cores in my yard to disappear?
It usually takes around two weeks for the cores to break down. It can however be longer or shorter depending on weather conditions. Mowing can also expedite core breakdown. You do not want to rake or pick up the cores because this will reduce the effectiveness of the aeration.

Can I aerate myself and how much will it cost?
Yes. Most rental chains will charge between $60 -$80 dollars to rent a machine for 4 hours. You will have to find a way to pick up and return the machine and it can be labor intensive. If overseeding, you will need seed and a spreader. This can really eat up time if you are not already properly tooled. The other option would be to hire Cut Rite Lawn & Landscape LLC for close to the same price, save yourself the time and hassle and we can do everything for you.

How deep do the aerators penetrate and what is the spacing between cores?
Our machines have the potential to penetrate up to 2.75” deep. We can do a little more or less than this depending on your type of soil and how compacted it is. The cores will be spaced approximately every 4”– 6”.

Can I aerate newly laid sod and/or seeded grass?
For newly laid sod you should NOT aerate until somewhere between 6–12 months after it has been laid and depending on the month or time of year the sod was laid. For a seeded lawn, aeration should not be done until the seedlings reach maturity.

While aerating can underground utility lines be struck?
In most cases underground utility lines are buried deep enough that aeration will not strike them. However, your cable and phone lines in particular are not always buried deep enough and can be struck. Unlike other companies that don’t take the time to mark underground utility’s, Cut Rite Lawn & Landscape LLC utilizes its underground line locating program to prevent these problems from occurring.

Can aeration damage my invisible dog fence or sprinkler system?
Yes it can. It is the customer’s responsibility to mark any dog fence or sprinkler head with marker flags that we can provide, if needed.

If I see improvement after my first aeration, should I still aerate in the future?
Yes. You should continue at the very least, an annual aeration program. Aeration should be a continual part of any lawn care program, just like fertilizing, overseeding, weed control, watering and mowing. Without it your lawn could easily begin regressing and all of your hard work will have been for nothing.