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Core Aeration


Technically speaking, aeration is the naturally occurring process of air exchange between the soil and its surrounding atmosphere. Practically speaking, aeration is the process of mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn to improve natural soil aeration. Core aeration is always a recommended part of our service program and (unless you opt out) we complete this service every fall beginning in September and lasting through the end of the season. If you have an irrigation system or pet containment system, please let us know asap so we can note the account. These and other (private), underground wires/pipes/etc less than 4” deep will need to be flagged prior to the aeration service. Other, (public) utilities are not a concern when installed correctly, per code.

Core aeration is the best defense against fungal disease, and it will help make your lawn healthier and reduce maintenance requirements through these means:

  • Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
  • Enhanced soil water uptake.
  • Improved fertilizer uptake and use.
  • Reduced water runoff and puddling.
  • Stronger/deeper roots.
  • Reduced soil compaction.
  • Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.
  • Improved resiliency and cushioning.
  • Enhanced thatch breakdown.

Compacted soil prevents grass from establishing a healthy root system and keeps water and fertilizer from reaching the roots. In most home lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is compacted, higher in clay content and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn. Walking, playing, and mowing will compact soil and stress lawns. Raindrops and irrigation further compact the soil, reducing large air spaces where roots readily grow. Compaction is greater on heavy clay soils than on sandy soils, and it is greatest in the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inches of soil. Aeration can help relieve soil compaction, allowing your grass to grow deeper roots and make better use of water and fertilizer.


Most home lawns are subject to thatch accumulation. When left unchecked, thatch affects water uptake and fertilizer/pesticide effectiveness. Core aeration combines soil (plugs) with accumulated thatch where soil organisms (microbes) break down thatch and reduce its accumulation by transforming it to beneficial organic material that the plant can use (composting). Most new home sites are problematic because the soil is sterile. Core Aeration is the best way to build organic material into infertile soil.  Most home lawns benefit from annual aeration. Heavily used lawns, or those growing on heavy clay or sub-soils may need aeration twice a year. Golf fairways, sports turf and municipalities may need aeration three to five times per year depending on the amount of use. Turf responds
best when tine spacing is closer and penetration is deeper. If you have cool season turfgrass such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, both spring and fall are ideal times to aerate. In spring, aerate between Marchand May. Perform fall aeration between August and November.

Aeration before or at the time of late season fertilization enhances root growth and improves spring green-up and growth. It is important that we have all the information needed to service your property without issue. If your property (lawn area) has underground wires/pipes/fixtures that are buried less than 4” of the surface, please let us know asap so we can note the account. Core aeration is part of our normal service program and occurs from early September through October and into November. Additional planning/scheduling may be required, if you have an irrigation system and/or an underground (wired) pet containment system, these things will need to be flagged before we can provide the aeration service.  If these or other concerns exist, we will need to coordinate the aeration service with flagging/marking these obstructions. Irrigation systems will need to be flagged BEFORE they are winterized. If you plan to have the heads flagged with irrigation system winterization, you will need to order this with them in advance. Once the lines are blown out for the season it will be too late and we will not be able to provide the service. We suggest that homeowners cut the grass before they place flags so that we have some additional time to schedule/perform the work before the lawn needs cut again. Notify us when
the system is flagged, and we will be there soon after, usually before the grass needs to be cut again.

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Tompkins Lawn Care, Inc 
3956 – 120th St NE
Solon, IA 52333 

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OFFICE: (319) 331-9357

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