Aeration and New Year’s resolutions


NOTE: The writer is not suggesting taking up an unhealthy lifestyle. This column is merely a sarcastic treatment of the common do-it-yourselfer’s proposal to aerate their lawns on their own with golf shoes, rather than paying for a service that yields much greater results.

If you have trouble in the areas of eating or weight, budgetary control, smoking or drinking alcohol to excess, please consult a clergy member and/or any number of social services that can direct you to self-help groups located within our community.

I was privileged to work for a nationally renowned lawn care company back in the mid to late 1990s. If memory serves, we were number 1, 2 or 3 in the entire nation of 250 or so offices each of the three years I worked with them. That had as much or more to do with God’s grace than our sales prowess as significant as it was. The boss was first rate, exacting the best from us, making sure we spent an hour a day in role play before getting on the phones. We could have sold lawn care to cave dwellers.

One moneymaking service offered (that benefited the consumers we served, as well) was core aeration. We would aerate year-round, though spring and fall were thought to be the better times with fall being the best of the two.

Professionally, there was (and still is) difference of opinion as to when to aerate your lawn for maximal result. Just as five out of five dentists can’t completely agree on Trident sugarless gum for their patients that chew the sugarless variety, experts vary on aeration strategy and the rationale behind it.

Which time of year is more conducive to shock recovery? What types of grasses are being taken into consideration? Do you mow before or after the procedure? Do you seed, and if so, is it better to do so in spring or fall? What about fertilization? Do you want to apply it into the newer holes where the once compacted soil has been broken up or do you choose to apply it on top of the cores and then allow a mulched fertilizer to assist in the growth of new grass root structure?

And you thought chicken versus egg philosophers had it tough.

Of course, this begs the question: What does any of this have to do with New Year’s resolutions?


The purpose of a well-formed resolution is to help you improve your life, and what homeowner doesn’t want to do so by improving their curb appeal with an inexpensive quality aeration?

Enter the top 10 New Year’s resolutions.

1) Food-related 2) Exercise 3) Money savings 4) New learning 5) Quit smoking 6) Reading 7) Job-related 8) Drinking 9) Spending more time with family and friends 10) Getting organized.

When you commit to the aforementioned resolutions and apply them to do-it-yourself aeration, you should save tons of money while at the same time seeing a more beautiful, thick, emerald green lawn, whether you choose to do it when the flowers begin to bloom or when the leaf colors begin their change. All that’s required is a can-do attitude and a pair of well-worn golf shoes with recently sharpened cleats.

Let’s start with food.

A BMI (body mass index) of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 and above is considered obese. Want a good self-aeration? Be committed to overeating.

Some time ago, a garage sale aficionado came across the diary of a U.S. farming housewife from the early 1920s. Based on the daily meal intake description, the family members were consuming somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,500 calories a day, a bit more than what us nonfarmers of the 21st century consider to be a high-calorie diet (namely 2,500 to 3,000 calories per diem). With aeration in mind, shoot for the 3K. Go on that “see food” diet. See food? Eat it. Remember, in this case, more is better.

Another constructive suggestion? Stop exercising.

Don’t figure on how long it will take to lose those unwanted pounds, but rather, how quickly you can put on all of the wanted ones. Make your No. 1 goal to wear out the batteries powering the remote. Once achieved, deploy children to go to the battery drawer and secure new ones. Have them install their find so you can maintain pound-packing slothfulness. If children no longer roam the house, petition your spouse to fulfill the role. If neither children nor spouse are present, avail yourself of the family’s Golden Retriever.

Of course, saving money is a laudable goal, too. That’s why you are doing all of this to begin with, saving big bucks on pricey aeration. A decent aeration will easily cost $200 or more, depending on lawn size. Golf shoes? Anywhere from around $20 to $80, depending on the size of your feet. Priceless.

Put those feet to good use? Sure, but don’t just pluck soil out of the ground in light of your powerful extractions. Take up golf so you will have something to practice on that newer, greener, thicker lawn when it comes up later in the season.

Smoke more, and if you don’t smoke already, consider taking up the practice, though just for “preseason.” Smoking is bad on your heart, lungs and the rest of your circulatory system, and being compromised in those areas will make it easier on you to accomplish your ultimate goal: Stay heavy until those tender green shoots present themselves under your feet.

And if you’re like most people, you’ll make an additional resolution to read some things you didn’t read the previous year. In light of your expected lawn victory, explore manuscripts that educate you in taking good care of your soon-to-be good lawn. Learn how setting your mower at 3 inches achieves multiple advantages and that the best weed control is a thick lawn, where the deep roots of good grass choke out the weed scofflaws. Remember, the goal of getting heavier for the purposes of an inexpensive aeration will need to be reversed for almost a year at a time, allowing you to stay 6 feet above the ground, rather than 6 feet under.

In keeping in line with the seventh most popular resolution, determine to become unemployed and stay that way at least until the lawn care season is over. Work of nearly any kind burns calories, and when you need to be your heaviest for money-saving purposes, weight loss will simply not do. And thanks to rare agreement on the part of Congress, semi-regular stimulus checks help the process along.

If you don’t drink alcohol, contemplate temporarily taking it up. Like smoking, alcohol impedes your bodily systems and makes that heavier you easier to achieve. Stay away from the self-help groups.

Spend less time with family and friends. Isolation will inspire you to eat more, especially comfort food, which is loaded in calories and will make pulling out the deeper plugs less challenging. Don’t forget to thank all of the health officials for making this easier to do.

Finally, get organized.

One of the many things I learned when working for the lawn care company was that when you want to measure a lawn for square footage, do not look straight in front of you, as you will make for an odd measurement and plenty of wavy lines visible in the well-worn grass. As the one whose birth we recently celebrated said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

In like manner, looking straight ahead keeps you on the right path. The lawn care season will be over eventually, so start getting family involved in the aeration. Get a pair of golf shoes for both your spouse and kids and have them walk behind you, staggered to the right and left, as you strive to reach your goal. Then you will have more holes available with less effort, and that lawn will be looking better in no time.

Les Linz is a resident of Seymour who writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his author page. Send comments to [email protected].

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