Verticutting & Irrigation Specialist York's School of Landscape Maintenance: opens Sept.28

Verticutting versus Aeration

  • This discussion is for St. Augustine grasses only, growing on sand.
  •  The average St. Augustine lawn is over watered and over fertilized, and never verticutt.
  • It produces thatch under high fertilization and irrigation regimes, which may become a health problem for the grass ( ).
  • Also because St. Augustine grows in runners, over time it creates layers, not only increasing thatch, but  it become much harder to mow, especially for the homeowner.
  • Then along comes a lawn spray company advertising aeration (plugging or coring). In other terms plugging holes in your lawn? So I have some questions?
  1. Why does sand need aeration?
  2. Why do lawns need fertilization every 2 months?
  3. If you plug a small hole or core with a aerator, what stops that sands from filling itself back in?  
  4. Also the aeration does not one thing to cut the runners, and thinning the top growth. 
  • If you look at the photos above you will see how some of that top growth and thatch is removed with Verticutting. 

Over thirty years of Vertcutting experience

Over 50 years of Irrigation Design & Repair

Verticutting benefits all grasses


The dominant grass in central and So. Florida is St. Augustine. The excessive top growth, along with the accumulation of thatch creates many problems.  Also creating mowing problems.

All grasses accumulate thatch, see thatch in different varieties below.


The accumulation of thatch reduces the ability of water, pesticides, and fertilizers to penetrate the root system. A strong healthy lawn needs deep root systems.  All types of grasses accumulate thatch. Thatch is not caused by grasses clippings.

 Other contributions to health problems?

  • Over-watering.
  • Overuse of reclaimed water, will also add additional nutrients.
  • Over fertilizing
  • Mowing to high
  • They all contribute to thatch, layering and unhealthy conditions.
 Why aeration or coring is a waste of money:

  •  Aeration will not solve one problem with St. Augustine grasses, discussed on this site. Reason, when you plug a hole in sand in will just fill back up with sand, making the process a total waste of money. The problem of layering will never be solved. Nor will it remove the thatch. 
  • As you move north of central Florida soils change, you find clay, lime rock and other mixtures that may need aeration, but not lawns grown on sand!  Even if you have sod that was grown on muck, as some sod farms do in south Florida, that is only 2" , the rest in most cases is sand.

Grasses such as bermuda  are most common for use on golf greens and fairways and now Zoysia is being sodded on Florida lawns. They are constructed differently and do require aeration and verticutting more that once a year.

Cutting Up

By Larry Jones, Jacobsen, A Textron Company

There is a missing link in many lawn care programs — an underutilized cultural practice that boosts turf health and, potentially, your bottom line. Vertical mowing is a healthy habit and a beneficial component of an annual turf care routine. Simply put, vertical mowing encourages turf to take its vitamins.

The practice turns up thatch and opens the turf canopy so it can drink up nutrients and water, and clear out room for fresh growth. Verticutting is an energy boost, setting the stage for green-up in spring and preparing turf for overseeding in fall ( northern lawns ). And most turf varieties appreciate verticutting — the vigorous mowing isn't limited to sports turf or commercial properties.

Verticutters, on the other hand, dig deeper into the turf canopy and penetrate the crown area of the plant, possibly below, severing stolons and stems. While groomers are designed to condition or stimulate new growth, verticutters are more rigorous and remove thatch. When a verticutter passes over a section of turf, results are visible.

Never waste your money on aeration of St. Augustine grasses. 

For a free estimate:  727 455 7337 or

We built this machine exclusively for Florida grasses.

Please see my garage sale blog for some cool stuff:

Our first Verticutter, so old the guy at Ryan who had worked there 30 years had never seen one!

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