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If you have a severely damaged lawn or a lawn area that undergoes heavy and frequent use you might consider aerating these areas several times throughout year. Remember, aeration does damage grass, so aerate "lightly" by using a slightly wider tine spacing or only one pass.
An aerator that pulls plugs is more effective than one that simply pokes holes. An aerator that pokes holes can further compact soil. Soil compaction decrease available air to grass roots and causes excess irrigation run off. Either remove plugs or break them up (use a mulching lawn mower or close catcher chute on a standard mower). Always apply any amendment immediately to achieve maximum penetration of amendments into soil. The holes have a tendency to collapse especially if pedestrian traffic is difficult to keep off.
Contractor equipment varies from dedicated aerators that pull plugs to rototiller add-ons that simply poke holes. As discussed, pulling plugs is better. You will also find dedicated aerator to be easier and more efficient to use.
Aeration is also a way for many landscape maintenance contractors, gardeners, and garden centers to make more money. Most offer service to their customers as an additional service. Pricing and costs will vary. Some charge by square foot, others by job. The average price in Southern California is about $45.00 per 1,000 square feet for owner occupied single family residences. Other large landscape maintenance contractors offer aeration as part of contracted service, especially for large residential communities where single billing cost for aeration could be prohibitive. They calculate cost of aerating and divide result by term of contract (usually one year, 12 months) thus charging customer a portion (1/12th) of total cost each month. This makes service affordable to homeowner association or property management company and brings in more money to contractor. The same technique could also be used by smaller lawn maintenance and gardening companies.
Aeration should be part of your grounds maintenance and irrigation service. Its an inexpensive way to improve your customers lawns and make more money. It also makes it easier to get those yearly increases in fees and keep customers longer. Happy customers pay much better than dissatisfied customers. Aerating really can make a big difference in appearance of your customer's lawns! Competition in Green Industry is strong and added services like aeration will help to put you out in front of your competitors.
Henry Thompson is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com. __________________________________________
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Henry Thompson is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors.