4

I live in North Carolina, USA and I never did aeration before. The size of the lawn is 0.37 acre. Recently I got a letter from a lawn-care company offering the following services about aeration:

  • Aeration only: $262.00, or $243.66 if paid before 9/15/2014
  • Aeration & Seeding: $462.00, or $429.66 if paid before 9/15/2014
  • Organic Soil Enhancement: $200.00, or $186.00 if paid before 9/15/2014

The significantly higher charge for aeration and seed is due to the cost of the seed plus the time spent preparing the seed bed. Problem areas are gone over to the point of "roto-tilling". Seed is applied in multiple applications to layer or to mix it into the top layer of soil.

I didn't call the company because I am not a rich man and I want to do it by myself. Perhaps it can save me some lovely US dollars.

Questions?

  1. What tools will I have to buy? I saw there is one which is very cheap and small. Not sure if it is suitable?
  2. After aeration, how do I seed the lawn? What are the steps? Do I need to cover the seeds with something?
  3. Is it a good time to begin with? The lawn-care company is still in the cycle of the services. It has done 5 services, there are two remaining for this year.
8

With only a 1/3 of an acre of land I personally would aerate it myself, many rental shops allow you to rent a machine for a day for less than $100.

Stay away from the "aeration shoes" though as they only poke a hole into the ground and then compact the soil more. The trick is to remove a plug of sod so that air and water can penetrate.

The machine you are showing is really a tiller, it will chew the hell out of your lawn. I use the "Mantis" as a mini rototiller in my smaller beds in the spring.

Try something like this as a rental: Big Box store rental page

As for the seeding... check out my answer to this other question:

  • 1
    +1 for renting. You may be able to rent by the hour, and pay even less. – J. Musser Sep 18 '14 at 20:33
  • Agreed. Some places will allow 1/2 day, even hourly rentals...but a thorough job on a 1/3 acre would run about 2-3 hours including the trucking of the equipment (assuming OP does not live next to a rental location). Add in the re-doing of trouble spots, a break here and there for some water, refueling and rest, and you are pushing a half day easy. – Phlume Sep 18 '14 at 20:34
  • Yeah, if the OP can't transport the equipment himself, delivery and pickup can be pretty expensive. The time/acre will vary greatly depending on the soil, grade, obstacles, and everything else in a lawn. Some take over twice as long as others, per acre. – J. Musser Sep 18 '14 at 20:37
  • We have several rental places within a 1/2 hour radius of us, but that might be a lot different for others. – J. Musser Sep 18 '14 at 20:39
  • A follow up question. I don't have a truck, delivering the equipment is a problem. I bought a tool on ebay.com/itm/like/291128796626?lpid=82. But it is tough and time consuming. I saw an ad on youtube.com/watch?v=LEQbEgt9MKA. Anybody has experience on it? It is produced in UK? – Love Sep 27 '14 at 13:06
5

First, that looks cheap, to me. I would expect at that price to be getting a half-job, not a high quality one. I think doing it yourself is far better.

As Phlume says (rightly), The machine you linked to is a tiller. it will kill the grass that is already there. I use a Plugr Aerator, which will cost over $4500 new. I'd recommend renting.

As for whether or not to seed, look at your lawn. Does the grass look healthy? Or is it spotty with bare areas in between plants? Because you don't want to waste seed (which is getting expensive) on a lawn that doesn't need it. If you do decide to seed, don't rototill. Rather, mow the law very short, and rake it to loosen up the top layer of soil. This is so the seed can be raked in better later.

I use an overseeder (a Ryan Mataway Overseeder, actually), which plants the seed without the need for the other prep. These are pricey too ($6500 new), so if you wanted to go that route, I'd rent.

Again, don't overseed unless you have to. Aerating sounds like a good idea though, and I think you definitely should do that. Renting one should be a lot cheaper than paying the lawn care folks, and you can also be as thorough as you want, and go over some paces again if you think it necessary.

  • I think those prices are HORRIBLE! Get together with neighbors and friends. Aeration is so very easy to do. The machine isn't scary and it is easy to use. Leave the plugs on your lawn...go over it as much as you are able with the time you've got it. Those prices are such a rip11 – stormy Sep 21 '14 at 22:47
  • I'm sure this is the sort of thing that varies widely by location, but we pay half as much for this service and the company does a very good job. In our case when we figured out how little we would save over the fee for renting the equipment and it only made sense to pay someone to do it! – michelle Sep 22 '14 at 23:59
  • @michelle you're right, it is location. Things are very tight around here, the competition is extremely high, and there are many landscapers/landscaping companies here. – J. Musser Sep 23 '14 at 0:39
  • Hello Love, I don't know if you are up to doing this yourself, only you will know that. It's not difficult, but can be strenuous as others have said the equipment is easy to use. If you have a friend or relative at a loss for something to do. Could you hire the equipment and pay them to do the job for you? To keep hire costs down, trying to do the job in the shortest time possible does add pressure to get it done. A couple of you could do this between you. Which ever route you choose to go down, aerate, Scarify or strip completely and re turf good luck. – user13638 Mar 28 '16 at 8:19
  • You don't need a company to do this for you, they will sell you a product that will make them money and a good profit – user13638 Mar 28 '16 at 8:20

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.