A lawn care company which does work from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins is boasting about its new product.
Mile Hi Services says Liquid Lawn Aeration produces amazing results and everyone who's tried it, loves it. But with the help of hidden cameras and a testing lab we found it may not live up to its claims.
Mile Hi boasts their method is "the future of lawn aeration." Our KKTV hidden cameras caught a Mile Hi Services technician in action, performing what the company calls Liquid Lawn Aeration. Mile Hi says it's another way to aerate your lawn, but we talked to customers who disagree.
Jessica Muzzio says, "I wouldn't do the liquid aeration again."
Fawn Vancil adds, "I thought I had been ripped off."
Turf specialists say traditional aeration is the single most important thing you can do for your lawn every spring and fall, especially in Colorado.
The aeration machine pokes holes in your lawn, pulling out plugs or cores of soil. Experts say it helps your lawn breathe, reduces thatch, and allows available nutrients to reach the roots, all for a cost of about $35.
However, many residents don't like the leftovers; the plugs left on top of the lawn. That's why some responded to Mile Hi's recording or notice left on their doors.
Mile Hi touts its $79 treatment which comes with a free spring fertilizer. Their Web site says its spray product gives you the same benefits as traditional aeration without leaving messy plugs or forcing you to mark your sprinkler heads.
Here's the ad which appears on the Web site... "...Seeing the tightly compacted soil break apart. As the soil loosens, air, water and nutrients are able to penetrate more freely, giving roots room to grow."
Fawn Vancil and Jessica Muzzio both have homes in Colorado Springs and both say they tried Liquid Lawn Aeration, but never saw a difference.
Muzzio says, "We've not seen it green up. We've not seen it do what it normally does. I wouldn't use them again."
Vancil says, "I felt like I had been stolen from. Yes, it's definitely a waste of money."
Both women say they complained to Mile Hi, but no one offered to redo their lawns like the company's Web site promises.
That's why they hired another lawn care company to do the traditional aeration and finally got the results they were after - a greener, healthier lawn.
11 News called Mile Hi to find out what ingredients are in Liquid Lawn Aeration, and this is what one employee said over the phone "I don't know what's in it, but it's a secret formula that we use and if we told you what was in it then customers would tell other people and it's our secret ingredient.... so. But it's very, very good. It's a very good aeration formula that's in there."
To see the product in action ... KKTV 11 News made an appointment with Mile Hi.
Our hidden camera recorded the technician at work. First stopping at the front door where he picked up $79 under the mat.
Seventy-nine dollars for what turned out to be about five minutes of work.
Using a backpack sprayer the tech laid down the treatment in just minutes.
Before the technichician left, 11 News approached him; "We're trying to find out what it is they're using and we've called and they won't tell us what it is."
And the technician's response: "Well, that's the problem I've had, too."
Then the technician poured us a sample of the product, which 11 News sent to be tested by Chemir Analytical Services in Missouri. The lab is recognized for analyzing products and identifying their components.
We couldn't believe what Chemir's scientists found.
They say our Liquid Lawn Aeration sample is mostly water with some urea, which is a common form of nitrogen fertilizer.
The lab also said there could be trace amounts of other chemicals, too.
We asked Dr. Tony Koski, a turf specialist with Colorado State University, if Liquid Lawn Aeration could duplicate traditional aeration.
Koski told us, "I would call it a rip off because it can't do what they claim that the end result will be... and it's not going to aerate your lawn. It's really a worthless application and a waste of money."
11 New's calls to Mile Hi Services to get the company's side of the story weren't returned so we visited its office in Denver.
When no one opened the locked door we called the company and were told only the owner, Florian McCann could answer our questions.
11 News then visited McCann's Lakewood home and again, ran into a dead end.
The Better Business Bureau says Mile Hi uses more than a dozen different company names, for a wide range of services, in addition to lawn-care.
The B.B.B. also says it has received close to 500 complaints about the company in the last three years.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture tells 11 News it's investigating Mile Hi and encourages customers with complaints about companies applying fertilizer or soil conditioners to contact them by phone or e-mail to report the problem.
Most of all, do your homework before you hire a lawn care company.
And remember, lawn care experts agree, nothing aerates your lawn like the traditional method.
Learn more about Chemir Analytical Services
To report a complaint against a company that apply fertilizers and soil conditioners or question about a lawn care product that's being used, call the Colorado Department of Agriculture, (303) 477-0086 or click on the link below.
Colorado Department of Agriculture