Wes Ory is owner and founder of Heritage Lawns & Irrigation in Kansas City, in business since 1995. Heritage Lawns prides themselves on being an earth-friendly lawn and irrigation company. Their focus is trying to do the right thing, whether it’s saving water with their irrigation services, or using organic fertilization practices.
According to Wes, Kansas City has a real heavy clay soil that bakes down into brick every summer. Heritage Lawns had been doing core aerations as part of their lawncare program for 20+ years. It worked, but there were some problems associated with it.
Problems with Core Aeration
Originally it wasn’t a big deal for them to do mechanical aerations with only a few lawns, but as business grew, core aeration became an issue and a burden in terms of labor, equipment, and coordination. And then there were the damages--most damages occurred during core aeration, e.g., bumping into a fence, running over valve boxes, or hitting sprinkler lines.
During the summer of 2015, Wes went to visit Alec McClennan with Good Nature Lawns in Cleveland, Ohio. Alec had been using Soil Tech’s Oasys Ultra and Thatch Relief with good results. Together these products form Soil Tech's Liquid Aeration Spray Program and they offer an eco-friendly alternative to running the aerating machine around the customer lawns. But would it work in Kansas City?
Promising Early Tests with Liquid Aeration
Wes tested Oasys Ultra and Thatch Relief on about a dozen lawns. The lawns bounced back after the long hard summer and continued to look good that fall.
The following spring, he picked a couple more lawns that were not greening up and had thicker thatch layers. After applying Oasys Ultra and Thatch Relief these lawns bounced back and looked good for the rest of the season.
After seeing those results, Wes decided to roll out Soil Tech’s products into their full lawncare program. Fortunately, the applicators did not have to learn any new techniques or any new skill sets. It was just like what they were going to do if they were treating a lawn with a regular fertilizer/weed control.
Liquid Aeration Benefits
The wetting agent in the formula helped loosen the soil up and open it up in the fall. The lawn quality came back fast after the treatment. The customers were very happy with the way the lawns looked, both in terms of color and the quality. Since switching to Soil Tech’s Liquid Aeration Spray Program, Wes has found that these products cut costs in both labor and damages.
“It has been a huge labor savings for us,” Wes said.
Heritage now offers liquid aeration at the same price as they did for a typical core aeration and Wes says that works out well.
“You have your offset of your labor vs. your product. Whatever you’re charging for your normal core aeration, I think you’re going to find it works,” he tells other LCO’s (lawn care operators).
Heritage Lawns & Irrigation now uses Soil Techs’ Oasys Ultra and Thatch Relief as part of their standard offerings to their customers. They still offer core aeration as an additional service, if somebody wants it.
Direct Access to Soil Tech Experts
And although moving from core aeration to liquid aeration has been pretty easy, Wes says he appreciates knowing that he can always reach Soil Tech directly.
“Soil Tech has been really great to work with. If I’ve got some questions about the products, they get right back to me right away and, if I need something, they’ve been there to help me out, so I really appreciate that.”
And now that he’s been using Liquid Aeration for several seasons, Wes has some tips of his own for other lawn care operators.
Liquid Aeration Tips for LCO’s from Heritage Lawns
Mixing: Because it is an organic product, you want to keep the mixing to smaller batches. Mix it individually with each truck as it comes through.
Being an organic product, if you leave it sit in the tank over a Labor Day weekend, for example, it’s going to get a little “whiffy” on you after 3 days. So, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using it each night as you go.
Mixing it in small batches it is not difficult at all. A couple hundred gallons at a time and it works very well.
Application: As far as application, it’s just a typical hose-end sprayer, 2-4 gallons a minute or 2-4 gallons per 1000 sq ft works nicely.
Wes sums things up by saying, “We’re seeing some real solid results and know you will too.”