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Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to aerate, dethatch, overseed, and fertilize my lawn?

These lawn services should be done during the grass's growing season to provide the maximum benefit. April and May in spring and September and October in the fall are the ideal times for these services. Lawns with sprinklers can moderately extend the window of opportunity. Lawns without sprinklers generally respond better when serviced in April and October when consistently cooler wetter weather is expected. An aeration machine will operate in a consistent manner but soil moisture and soil composition (clay, loam, sand) an are rarely the same. The results are best when soil moisture levels are within a suitable range. A lawn that is too dry will likely be hard and therefore produce shallow aeration holes. Soil that's too wet will not provide enough resistance to push the cores out of the tines. Soil should be moist to a depth of at least 3 inches however, it shouldn't be squishy or move when it's walked upon. Proper soil moisture will improve seed germination and rooting.

Are your services safe for children and pets?

Dog playing on grass Yes!

When will you notify me of your arrival?

Customers who have already reserved their lawn will be notified at least 2 days prior to the day of service. You may choose to be notified with a phone call, email or text.

How do I prepare my lawn for services?

Mow the lawn to a height of 2"-4".

Water your lawn so that it is moist to a depth of at least 3 inches so we can pull ideal plugs. When walking on the lawn it should not move or feel squishy under foot due to over saturation.

Make your backyard accessible by unlocking a side gate and making sure the pathway to the backyard is free of obstacles such as trash bins.

What if I have sprinkler heads in or near my grass?

Mark your sprinklers so that the sprinkler heads are clearly visible. Lawn flags are ideal for marking sprinklers.

Marking Sprinklers with Flags

What happens if I cannot be home during service?

We can complete our services without you being there and will leave an invoice with our billing information on your door. There's no need to rearrange your day to be home for us.

How do I pay my bill?

You may pay your bill using cash or check when we complete services or send us a check in the mail.

If you would like to pay with Bitcoin send us an email to let us know. We'll reply with an invoice that can be paid for with Bitcoin.

Does aeration help with moss?​

Moss often occurs on soil that's too compacted for grass roots. That is why we can see moss growing on rocks, sidewalks and bricks. Fall aeration loosens the soil before moss begins its growing season.

After aeration service pumice (a small airy volcanic rock) may be worked into to the core holes, this helps to keep the holes open in areas that require better drainage. Compost or topsoil can be raked into the lawn to loosen clay soils.​

Organic Fertilizer

Do you dispose of the plugs after aerating?​​

The aeration plugs are your lawn's topsoil which is essential for a healthy lawn. Our pricing does not include the disposal of the cores as we recommend against the practice.

If you choose to remove the plugs we recommend replacing them with topsoil or compost to avoid a soil deficit and compaction.

What is power raking or dethatching?

A power rake is a machine that removes thatch, moss and pine debris from the lawn's surface, makes shallow furrows for improved seed germination and helps to level the soil surface. We use a Classen TR-20 like the one below.

As the vertically oriented blades on the underside of the dethatcher rotate, dead and unrooted material within the lawn is dislodged. The dislodged debris exits the rear of the machine as it goes over the lawn. After dethatching, the loose debris should then be collected and removed from the lawn's surface so no damage from smothering occurs. In the picture below the lawn has been dethatched but the debris has not yet been removed.

What is thatch and why is it a problem?

Thatch is an excessive accumulation of non-decomposing dried grasses in the canopy of the lawn or on the soil's surface.

Excessive accumulation of dead grass becomes habitat for pests including crane fly grubs. Thatch keeps soil dry just like a thatched roof keeps homes dry (especially if the lawn is sloped). Grass can more easily tolerate hot summer days without a thick blanket of thatch. Thatch can also extend the amount of time it takes for soil to dry. This can be especially problematic for lawns that have already have poor drainage.


What causes thatch?

Thatch is primarily caused by the use of ammonium nitrate or urea fertilizers. Synthetic lawn fertilizers and products can reduce soil ecology to a point where dead grass can no longer decompose. Thach accumulation will likely rise or fall in tandem with the amount ammonium nitrate or urea fertilizer that's used. A program using these products will require regular power raking to manage thatch buildup. Alternative fertilizers are listed below.​

When should a lawn be dethatched?

Dethatching is a service that should be done when the conditions of the lawn warrant action. It's time to dethatch when there's an accumulation of moss, thatch, or tree debris in the lawn that's occupying a significant amount of space that could otherwise be healthy grass. Some lawns are relatively clean of debris and do not need to be dethatched. On our reservation form you may request that we offer our professional opinion about whether or not power raking will benefit your lawn.

Cultivating soil with a power rake prior to seeding can improve germination. The power rake creates shallow furrows from which the seed can sprout. Overseeding is recommended for lawns thinned by power raking of thatch and moss.​

Dethatching Moss Removal

What is overseeding?

It is a method of broadcasting fresh seed over an existing lawn.

How does overseeding improve my lawn?

New grass seed fills in sparse areas, competes with weed seeds, maintains thickness and lushness, and replenishes annual grasses.

What can I do to enhance seed germination?​

Grass seeds will sprout from aeration holes, power rake rows and the soil surface. Topsoil or compost can be spread throughout the lawn after overseeding to enhance seed germination rates and soil composition. Topdressing is helpful but not necessary for successful germination.

Should I rake leaves from the lawn after overseeding?

Yes. Carefully rake leaves that have fallen after overseeding. If left on the lawn they'll smother the sprouting grass. Removing tree leaves is one of the best things that can be done for a lawn in the Fall.

How long should I wait to mow after overseeding?

If possible wait 2-3 weeks before mowing again.

Raise the mower blades to their highest setting and mow without the bag.

When seedlings are established lower the mower deck to encourage lateral spreading.

How much and how often should I water the seeds?

Do not allow your seeds to dry or they will die.

Water your seeds and seedlings 2-3 times daily for 5-15 minutes, adjusting for weather conditions. Try to avoid puddling, runoff, and seed movement. The general strategy is to water more frequently but with less water.

What watering practices do you recommend during the watering season?

If possible deeply saturate the lawn to a depth of 4-6 inches in the morning once every 3-4 days to encourage root growth and more resilient grass.

Lawns with heavy clay soil, compaction, or slopes benefit from a quick primer watering a half hour before the main watering period.

How do I determine the amount of time my sprinklers should be on?

After watering, use a spade shovel to test areas throughout the lawn to identify the depth to which the water penetrated for that amount of time. This is a great way to identify what specific zones need.

Why test the lawn's pH​?

Soil pH Lawn Care

Soil pH powerfully impacts the health of lawns. The Willamette Valley tends to have acidic soils and benefits from occasional liming (adding calcium) to boost the pH and replenish what is lost with heavy winter rains. When the soil pH is in the proper range fertilizer remains within the soil longer making it more efficiently.

Our organic fertilizer has calcium in it to maintain a healthy pH and efficient uptake. If your lawn is very acidic additional lime may be needed to bring it into the proper range.

What kind of fertilizer do you recommend?

Leave your grass clippings on the lawn for a free pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft annually. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn maintains soil depth and encourages beneficial life in the soil. This practice feeds the lawn at regular intervals while saving time money and effort. Using a mulching mower reduces clumping and debris size.

We recommend using natural fertilizers.

Natural and organic fertilizers support the soil's ecosystem and build healthy topsoil, this in turn provides habitat for grasses to be successful within.

Naturally amended topsoil with compost has great slow release fertilizers, minerals and micro nutrients to feed the lawn. We recommend Lane Forest Products Nature's Best Soil. http://laneforest.com/

In the long run natural and organic fertilizer programs

will yield superior results at lower cost.

Where do you get your grass seed and fertilizer?

Oregon! Our customers have expressed their desire to support local Oregon businesses. We feel similarly so our seed and organic fertilizer are from family farms in Oregon.

Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

Also known as a "surety bond," a bond is a third-party guarantee promising to pay if a vendor does not fulfill its obligations under a valid contract. Ex: a contractor is payed $2,000 for materials to remodel a bathroom before starting the project. A third party promises repayment of the $2000 for materials if the contractor bails on the project. We ask for payment after services are completed therefore a surety bond would be of no benefit. The state of Oregon does not require lawn care companies to be bonded and licensed or insured because it is a very low risk business. Theses regulations are required of landscapers because installations like irrigation systems, drainage, and retaining walls carry significantly more risk. To avoid any problems our customers are responsible for marking their sprinklers and any shallow underground wires prior to our arrival.

Do you own your equipment?

Yes, we'll arrive with a Ryan Lawn Aire IV EST and or a Ryan Lawn Aire IV. https://www.ryanturf.com/products/ryan-aerators-walk-behind/ryan-lawnaire-iv-v-aerator/ For dethatching we'll use a Classen TR-20. Although we have the model with the debris collection bag shown in the video, we have removed the bag because the debris enters from the bottom of the bag rather than the top causing it to clog easily. The turf rake is able to spin more consistently without this clogging plus, the debris still needs to be removed from the lawn even if the bag is used. Despite a poorly designed collection bag Classen Turf Rakes are the best machines available.