Zeller Property Services
Zeller Property Services



What is lawn aeration?

Lawn aeration is the process of opening the soil up to allow air, nutrients, and water to penetrate deep into the soil.


Why should I aerate my lawn?

It is important to aerate your lawn in order to allow nutrients, such as fertilizer, to be absorbed deeper into the soil than if simply applied to the surface. When the yard is used on a regular basis, the soil will begin to compact, which in turn, begins to crush the air pockets that are found throughout the soil. The soil being compact will mean that air, nutrients, and water are not absorbed as readily. If you have picnics or heavy traffic on your yard, it may be wise to aerate your lawn simply to reduce compaction of the soil. Aeration is also a good way to promote root growth in the lawn which keeps it healthy.


How is aeration performed?

Core aeration is performed by using a machine called an aerator that travels across your lawn and pulls small plugs of grass and soil out the yard and deposits them on top of the ground for further decomposition.

When should aeration be done?

Aeration should be perfomed while the lawn is actively growing. The best time to do this is in the Spring or Fall of the year. For best results, aerate before applying fertilizer because this will allow the nutrients to penetrate deep into soil to stimulate root growth, making for a healthier lawn.



Additional Information


Aeration can be performed in conjunction with overseeding. If done just before the new seed is spread, the newly planted grass seed has a better chance to form solid roots down inside the holes that the aerator has left in the soil.


Cemetery Plot Maintenance


What is included in a cemetery plot maintenance program?


We all want our loved one's gravesite to be well maintained and beautiful, but not everyone has the time or energy for the upkeep throughout the year. Our services incude cleanup, weeding, planting, initial watering, mulching, washing of the grave stone if need be, and emailing before and after photos upon request. We can also set up a monthly weeding and watering program. Prices depend on types and amounts of plants, etc., chosen.


What about decorations?

We only perform the landscaping aspect of caring for cemetery plots. All non-living decorations and flags are to be placed and taken down by the family or friends of the deceased.




What is dethatching?

Dethatching is the removal of thatch, or dead grass material, that has built up between the blades of living grass in your lawn. 


Why should I dethatch my lawn?


Having some thatch on your lawn isn't harmful, due to it being naturally broken down by microbes in the soil. However, when too much thatch builds up, it can start to block moisture, nutrients, and air from getting to the living grass, eventually producing brown spots in your lawn.


How is dethatching performed?


A thatching rake can be utilized to remove the thatch by hand, or a machine called a dethatcher can remove it mechanically by means of rotating tines. After the dead debris is brought to the surface, it is then raked off and disposed of.



When should dethatching be done?

Like with aeration, the Spring or Fall are good times to dethatch your lawn, as long as the grass is actively growing.




What is edging?

Edging is the action of creating a defined edge between two parts of your property, either by hand with edging tools or with a mechanical edger.


Why edge my property?

Edging can drastically clean up the look of a property. If over time the grass has crept out over the sidewalks or driveway, it can give the property an unkempt appearance that is easily remedied by edging.


When should edging be done?

Generally when doing your Spring cleanup you should check your edging for Winter damage. That's a good time to redefine the edges of the driveway and sidewalk. When you install fresh mulch in your flower beds, you should strike a crisp, new edge between the lawn and the beds. As the Summer progresses, you can ordinarily maintain those clean edges when you mow your lawn. This is done by tilting a string trimmer head at a 90 degree angle to the ground and simply following the line you created in the Spring. Please note, that whereas string trimmers can be utilized to simply keep the edges clean, they are not edgers in themselves. If desired, the edges can be cleaned out once more in the Fall by means of tools or a mechanical edger.




What is lime?

Lime is an alkaline, calcium-containing mineral derived from limestone and is used to adjust the pH of the soil.


Why use lime on a lawn?

Grass prefers a pH of 7. When the pH level is off, the grass suffers, whereas the weeds thrive. Adjusting the pH of the soil with lime will help restore the health of the lawn as well as revitalize the green color it should naturally have.


When should lime be applied?

Lime can be applied to the lawn at any point when there is no immediate threat of frost, but is generally put down in Spring or Fall. It can be applied alone or in conjunction with fertilizer.




What is mulch?

This may seem to be a simple question but mulch can actually be made from a variety of natural or man made substances. Here, however, we will focus on the type that is most commonly used for flower beds in Northwestern Pennsylvania - bark mulch, which comes from ground up wood particles from trees. This type of mulch comes in a choice of colors, with brown, of course, being its natural color. For black and red bark mulch, a dye is used to reach the desired color. Generally the air needs to reach a consistent temperature in order for the dye to give the desired results. Therefore, on ocassion, black and red mulch is not available as early in the year as their natural counterpart is.


Why is mulching my flower beds important?

Mulch of course can greatly improve the look of a property almost immediately. If the proper work has been done to prepare the beds in advance, then mulching can significantly reduce the amount of weeding that needs to be done throughout the year. Having mulch around your plants also helps to keep them moist during hot, dry spells in the Summer.


How much mulch do I need?

Suppliers sell mulch in bags for people who only need a small amount, as well as by the cubic yard for ones tasked with larger projects. If you are unsure how much product you need, you can take measurements of your flower beds and do some simple math based on how deep you want the mulch to be, or you can use an online mulch calculator.

When should mulch be installed?

Generally mulch is installed in the Spring of the year, but depending on your circumstances it can be done at any point Spring, Summer, or Fall.



Do I need landscaping fabric?

Many homeowners choose to lay landscaping fabric down under the mulch, but this is not necessary for every property. If you have no plans of weeding your flower beds and aren't anticipating redesigning your landscape layout in the foreseeable future, you may want to consider landscape fabric for your property. Keep in mind that if you do commit to installing fabric and then subsequently decide to change some aspect of your landscaping, it can be very aggravating to remove the fabric later on when it is partly decomposed.

When purchasing fabric, be sure to also buy enough pins to keep it in place while the mulch is being installed.

Please note that landscape fabric is not a "cure-all" for weeding. Weeds can still germinate in the mulch when seeds blow in throughout the year. Another way to help eleviate weeds from taking root in your flower beds is placing a pre-emergent herbicide when you mulch.



Additional Information


If your mulching was done early in the Spring and you start to notice later in the year that it's getting compact or even faded in color, simply take a hard rake and rough up the top of it. This will allow air to get to the plants, freshen up the look of the mulch, and also break up any clumps of mold that might have formed in the mulch due to too much moisture being locked in.

Care should be taken when using dyed mulch, as it can stain your hands, clothes, concrete, and even the siding of your home if it is touching.


Slit Seeding


What is slit seeding?

Slit seeding is done by means of a machine called a slit seeder that creates slices in the ground which then allow seed to drop below the surface.


Why is slit seeding a good idea?

Often times when new seed is lying on top of the ground, it can be susceptible to wash out from rain or be eaten by birds looking for an easy meal! Using a slit seeder instead of simply spreading grass seed on the ground helps the seed to have a better chance at taking root.



When is slit seeding necessary?

A slit seeder isn't needed for every lawn repair job. This technique is used in instances where the lawn is scanty or patchy, could use some revitalizing, or in conjunction with organic lawn care where the goal is to build up the turf to choke out the weeds. It can also be used to install a new lawn if appropriate to the circumstances.


Spring & Fall Cleanups


Why bother doing a cleanup when there will always be more leaves?

Let's face it, there is always another stick falling from a tree or leaves blowing in from the neighbor's yard. But if that debris starts to pile up, it can get out of hand fast! When leaves and natural debris are left on a lawn, the grass soon begins to get smothered and starts to die back. You may be left with large brown spots in the yard as a result. Leaves piled up around the house can be dangerous as well. They may block drains, exhaust pipes, AC units, and can attract rodents seeking a place to hide. Wet leaves hold moisture which, in turn, can breed mosquitoes. Your township may also have certain ordinances for outside maintenance and sanitation.


How soon should cleanups be done in the season?

Spring cleanups can begin as soon as the snow is gone for the season. As for Fall cleanups, it's generally best to get them done between the time the trees lose the last of their leaves and just before the hard-hitting snow starts for the season.