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All lawn services are important. Everything from lawn fertilization to weed control to proper mowing all goes into creating a thick, healthy, and thriving lawn. But people tend to underestimate just how important one particular lawn service is for the health of their lawn—and that’s lawn aeration and overseeding.

Lawn aeration and seeding is a combined service that can honestly do wonders for a lawn. So much so, that we tend to call it the “cornerstone of our lawn care program.”

In this guide, we’ll talk more about this service and how it contributes to a thick and healthy lawn.

Table of Contents
The Basics of Thick Grass and Healthy Soil
All About Lawn Aeration
Overseeding Your Lawn
Don’t Forget Topdressing
How to Prepare for Lawn Aeration, Seeding, and Topdressing
What to Do After Lawn Aeration, Seeding, and Topdressing
Hiring Lawn Aeration and Overseeding Services in Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA

The Basics of Thick Grass and Healthy Soil

Achieving a truly great-looking lawn is a multi-step process that goes beyond a typical lawn care regimen.

healthy thick green grass

When you’re investing in professional lawn care, you want to have great results but, unfortunately, some homeowners skip over some of the steps that would take their lawn to the next level.

Part of the problem is that homeowners don’t always think about the fact that a healthy lawn starts at the soil level. When it comes to how to get green thick grass, people should be thinking about how to promote healthy soil, since that’s what supports healthy grass.

How to Improve Lawn Soil

Healthy lawn care is all about healthy soil. Factors like lawn soil pH and also the nutrient makeup of your soil absolutely contribute to your lawn’s overall health and how well your grass can grow.

Incorrect soil pH can cause several problems that need to be addressed. As the pH falls or rises too far from neutral it alters soil chemistry and prevents the grass from taking up nutrients as it should.

lawn maintenance team shovels soil

In addition, the overall condition of your soil, such as compaction issues, will also need to be fixed if you want to get great lawn results. One of the best ways to do this is with lawn aeration. We’ll explain in a bit more depth why lawn aeration is so important and why you shouldn’t be skipping it.

All About Lawn Aeration

You might be wondering exactly what is lawn aeration and why is it so important?

Let’s dive more into this service and what you can expect with answers to the most common questions.

What is Lawn Aeration?

Lawn aeration involves using a piece of equipment called an aerator to make holes throughout your lawn. These holes are made by pulling cores or “plugs” of soil. These are left laying atop of the lawn as they decompose and add nutrients back into the soil.

core aeration machine aerating lawn

How to Aerate Your Lawn

Sometimes homeowners want to know if they can just aerate themselves. After all, you could just rent the equipment and handle lawn aeration on your own. But DIY aeration is a bit more complex than homeowners tend to realize.

Plus, it’s unlikely you’ll get as good results as you could have with a pro. Using a clunky old piece of equipment that everyone else in the area has also rented is simply not going to yield the amazing results you desire.

What Does Lawn Aeration do for Your Lawn?

Through this process of making small holes across your lawn by pulling cores of soil and leaving them to break down (and filter back into the earth), you allow your lawn to “breathe.” As a result, it ensures that more water, oxygen, and nutrients penetrate down to the lawn’s root zone, where these elements are needed most.

This process also helps to address compacted lawn soil, which is important to soil health.

lawn care expert aerates lawn

This will also help you get the most out of other lawn care services you might be implementing.

If you’re having fertilizer and other lawn care products applied to your lawn but your soil is compacted, a lot of that material may never make its way to the root zone. That’s why homeowners who participate in a complete lawn care program, including lawn aeration, see the best results. These work hand-in-hand.

When to Aerate Your Lawn?

If you are wondering the best time to aerate a lawn in Virginia, the answer is the fall.

This is so that overseeding can be performed at the same time, allowing the seeds to fall into the holes made by the aerator. This provides the optimal seed-to-soil contact that seeds need for germination.

core aeration plugs and fall leaves on grass

Seeding is best done in the fall because the soil temperature is still warm but the air is cooler. These are the best conditions for new grass growth.

How Often to Perform Lawn Aeration?

Because of the clay soils in Northern Virginia, and the likelihood that your lawn will become compacted, we recommend annual aeration. To put it into perspective, golf courses and athletic turf fields are being aerated at least twice a year. If you’re looking to achieve really great results, you should aerate at least once a year.

Overseeding Your Lawn

We’ve already alluded a bit to what’s involved with lawn seeding, which should be performed at the same time as aeration. But there’s a bit more to this service than you might realize.

Let’s talk about some of the key considerations when seeding a lawn.

The Importance of Fall Lawn Seeding

We already talked about the fact that fall lawn seeding is best because of the weather. The soil is warm but the air is cooling down, which makes for optimal germination conditions.

But homeowners still sometimes ask if they can seed their lawn in the spring.

This really isn’t a good idea not only because of the fact that it’s often too hot to grow grass but also because you then cannot put down weed control products.

lawn care expert pours grass seed into spreader

More specifically, if you’ve seeded in the spring, then you can’t put down crabgrass preventer for approximately 3 months afterward, and at that time, it will be too late to prevent crabgrass.

Sometimes people ask us about just skipping crabgrass control but in our opinion, this is risky. Skipping crabgrass control can become a potentially serious concern because of how quickly the pesky weeds can spread. Crabgrass also grows most freely in the thinner areas of your lawn, such as the ones you may have seeded, which makes seeding a bad idea.

Overseeding a Lawn is Best Done by a Pro

We know that seeding a lawn seems about as simple as it gets. But there are a couple of reasons why it’s best done by a pro.

For one, since we recommend seeding at the time of lawn aeration (and aerating is best performed by a pro), it just makes sense to let them handle this service, too.

lawn care expert overseeds lawn

But when you hire a reputable professional to perform your seeding (the key term there being reputable) then you can feel confident that they’re using a high-quality grass seed without filler. That adds up to you getting the best results.

This brings up a common seeding myth, which is that all grass seed is basically the same.

You should know that some seed blends contain filler and this can lead to introducing weeds into your lawn. Sometimes, filler is just paper, meaning that you’re paying for a big bag of grass seed but getting a lot less seed than you realize.

Finding Lawn Seeding Companies

Ultimately, getting the best results will come down to choosing the right lawn care company to work with.

lawn care team unloads equipment from truck in front of home

While you might assume that you’ll automatically get the best grass seed when you work with a professional, this simply isn’t the case, either. Unfortunately, some lawn and landscape “pros” contribute to the problem by purchasing poor-quality seed so they can pay less for the product but make more money from their customers.

At the end of the day, even professionals get what they pay for with grass seed so you have to choose a company that cares about delivering top-quality. It really boils down to choosing a company that truly cares about its clients.

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Don’t Forget Topdressing

You’ve aerated and you’ve overseeded, but you aren’t quite done yet! Another important finishing touch to consider is topdressing. When it comes to achieving healthy soil, topdressing is really important.

What is Topdressing a Lawn?

Topdressing is another important but often overlooked service that can help produce a lush, green lawn.

soil over grass

After lawn aeration and seeding are performed, the lawn should be topdressed with compost, allowing it to fall into the holes that were made. As the compost mixes with the clay, it helps create a better layer of topsoil by improving soil structure and microbial life.

When to Perform Topdressing?

Topdressing with compost should definitely be done immediately following aeration in order to allow the mixture to fall into the holes. The timing of this service is key when it comes to getting the most benefit out of it.

We have found that topdressing can be the difference between a lawn that looks great and one that looks spectacular.

How to Prepare for Lawn Aeration, Seeding, and Topdressing

As far as how to prepare for lawn aeration, seeding, and topdressing, there are a couple of helpful things that you can do.

For one, you can let your lawn care professional know about any hidden objects in your lawn (like sprinkler heads, invisible fencing, and landscape lighting). These are likely objects that they might already be aware of if you’ve been working with them for lawn care, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it up as you prepare for lawn aeration.

landscape maintenance team cleans up leaves

If there are leaves on the ground, it would also be helpful to get these cleaned up as they can interfere with aeration. The same goes for lots of sticks or other debris you might have lying around.

Finally, it can help to mow the lawn ahead of aeration as well. Mowing can make both aeration and seeding more effective.

What to Do After Lawn Aeration, Seeding, and Topdressing

One of the most important things to remember after aerating and overseeding is that your new grass needs water.

Your lawn’s watering needs immediately after aeration and overseeding are going to be a bit different than what you might be used to. Your lawn is going to require less water but more frequently. You need to keep the soil moist but you don’t want to water for too long. This generally means watering twice a day but for a short period of time (maybe 15 to 20 minutes).

Those watering needs will change as the grass germinates and continues to grow.

grass germination in soil

While it’s going to vary depending upon the weather, it usually takes about two to four weeks for your new grass to start to germinate. Following germination, you can begin to water less frequently but using more water (the opposite of what you were doing pre-germination).

As a general rule to follow, lawns in Northern Virginia require around one inch of water per week.

Hiring Lawn Aeration and Overseeding Services in Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA

As with any lawn care service, getting the best results ultimately boils down to choosing the best lawn care companies. While you might assume that all lawn aeration and overseeding services in Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA must be basically the same, this isn’t the case.

Some companies are going to cut corners by rushing through the work or maybe using low-quality grass seed. Some lawn aeration and overseeding services might also fail to follow through on best practices. We’ve even heard that some companies will seed in the spring and there are plenty of companies that fail to offer topdressing.

lawn care team aerates and overseeds lawn

In general, if you hire a good lawn care company in Northern Virginia, then you can feel confident that they’re going to do everything in their power to help provide you the best service and get you the best results. That includes performing lawn aeration, overseeding, and topdressing properly.

Unfortunately, the industry is plagued with complaints about lawn care companies like:

  • They are unresponsive
  • They lack professionalism
  • They don’t care about customers
  • There is a ton of turnover
  • They can’t answer questions
  • They overpromise

That’s why it’s so important to take care in choosing a lawn care company.

The right company should be able to answer all of your questions about not only aeration and overseeding, but any other lawn care services that you’re having performed. At the end of the day, it is all of these different services working together that ultimately get you the best results and a healthy lawn.

Are you ready to have a healthy and thriving lawn? Request your quote, choose from our 3 lawn care package options (all of which include aeration and overseeding) and relax as you get the royal treatment.

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Image Souce: Soil

Krisjan Berzins - Owner, CEO

Since 1997, Krisjan has led the Kingstowne team with one simple philosophy, treat every customer like the “only” customer. His passionate pursuit of impeccable customer service has resulted in 24 successful years and a thriving company with over 85 employees, helping thousands of homeowners in the Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA area get what they want -- a worry-free property they can be proud of.