What you need to know before you aerate a lawn.

Spring and fall are great times to make extra money from your lawn care customers by offering them aeration, seeding, and fertilization. But where should you begin? A great and affordable way to do this is to book a bunch of jobs within a day or two. Rent an aeration machine and then get as many done in a minimal time frame to maximize your profits. Before you do any of that, follow these tips from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum first.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I had a customer ask today about aerating their lawn, seeding and fertilizing the lawn. What is the best way to do all of this. I want to start offering this service in the fall at the end of September and then again in the spring.”

A second law care business owner shared “I use mechanical aeration to aerate a lawn. Mechanical (Core) aeration penetrates about 3″ into the ground about one every 6″. The results for core aeration take up to 6 weeks to become visible.

As far as over seeding and fertilization goes, it depends on the turf type (warm season or cool season), your location, and soil conditions. I am familiar with the warm season grasses (Centipede, St Augustine, Bermuda, Bahia, and Zoysia) and two transitional cool season grass (Tall Fescue, and Bluegrass). The methods are slightly different for the various turfs (example: Centipede requires no nitrogen) so you really need to know what turf you are dealing with before you go further.

Before aerating or fertilizing you need to perform a couple soil tests. First, you need to take representative samples from several areas of the yard. Mix the soil together and send a sample of that mixture to a lab for analysis. Many garden centers will do the test for free or a small charge. There are also self tests.

A second test, which I find very helpful if you have the potential on selling your customer landscaping work, is a drainage (percolation) test. This test tells you the rate of drainage which helps you determine types of grasses and landscape plants to use for your customer.

Use the information garnered from these tests to guide your customer in the right direction.”

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