Core Aeration in Fairfax – A Lawn Care Staple

You may or may not have heard of core aeration before, but you’ve probably seen it at some point in time.

Looking back to elementary school, I remember one day all of these little plugs of dirt being scattered about the soccer field.  Naturally, these were useful for chucking at each other, but little did we know the significance of these dirt pellets.

soccer field green natural grass

What’s the purpose of core aeration?

The purpose of core aeration is to relieve compaction in your lawn.

You see, over time soil becomes compacted, making it difficult for water, air, and nutrients to penetrate into the soil.  Therefore, it is necessary to relieve this compaction.  Aeration is the process of pulling lots of little dirt plugs out of your lawn to relieve this pressure.

Aeration is typically done with an aerator (go figure!).  Some homeowners try and do it with spikes, but this doesn’t actually pull the plugs out as much as it just makes holes in the soil.  You need to pull out these plugs to really relieve that pressure in your lawn.

How often should you aerate? It’s best to do it once every year, especially if your lawn has foot traffic.  Typically the best time of year to do it is Fall.

It’s also common for newly constructed houses to need aeration.  There was one customer in Burke, VA who was thoroughly shocked when we told her that her brand new Burke lawn needed aerating.  Many builders simply throw grass seed down without prepping the soil, and you’re left with a yard that previously had heavy machinery pushing it down.  Talk about compacted.

Another customer in McLean hadn’t aerated in 10 years.  Was that a problem?  Yes, absolutely.  He had tried all sorts of fertilizers, seed blends, and “miracle formulas” that didn’t work and his lawn looked patchy and terrible.  After we aerated, all it took was a heavy seeding along with watering and fertilizer to get his lawn looking great again.  It’s not always this easy, but the morale of the story is, if your lawn is compacted, nothing will grow.

Your typical price for aeration from a Fairfax County lawn care company is $100-$150.  In my opinion, it’s well worth it.  It’s a small price to pay for such a lawn care staple, and to do it yourself you need to go through the hassle of renting one.  It’s best to let the lawn care professionals take care of aeration while you sit back and enjoy your beautiful lawn.


Scott Johnson

Scott is a research analyst and writer for the LawnStarter blog. He's a lawn care expert, avid gardener, and dog lover.