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Lawn Aerator | Type Of Aerator

what is lawn aerator

What is lawn aerator

A lawn aerator is a garden tool designed to create holes in the soil in order to help lawn grasses grow. In compacted lawns, aeration improves soil drainage and encourages worms, microfauna, and microflora which require oxygen.

Types of aerators

There are two types of lawn aerators. Spike aerators use wedge-shaped solid spikes to punch holes in the soil, and core aerators have hollow tines that pull out plugs (or "cores") from the soil.

Core/plug aerator vs. spike aerator

A spike aerator creates holes in the ground by pushing the soil sideways as wedge-shaped spikes penetrate the soil. Since there is no soil removed from the ground, watering will cause the compacted soil around the holes to expand and close. A core/plug aerator removes soil from the ground and leaves the core on the turf. This reduces compaction in the soil, and the holes can stay open for a long time allowing air, fertilizers, and water to reach the roots. Core aeration is suitable for heavy clay soils, and spike aeration is more suited to sandy or loamy soils.

Powered aerator vs. manual aerator

Powered aerators employ the power from ground propulsion to drive multiple tines into the ground. The machines can aerate a large lawn in a relatively short time (similar to mowing speed).

Manual aerators usually have two to five hollow tines mounted on a step bar. The operator puts one foot on the step bar and pushes it downward, forcing the tines to penetrate into the soil. Then he pulls the handle on the step bar upward to remove the soil cores out of the ground. By repeating the same operation, the cores left in the tines will be pushed out by the next ones. Manual aerators are much cheaper than powered ones. The trade-off is the speed. For a typical residential lawn (1/4 acre lot), it will take hours to finish. Some products also have issues with the tines becoming clogged with soil, which can slow down the operation even more. However, a well-made manual aerator offers advantages such as ease of use, selective aeration, and economy.

Other Types of Lawn Aerators

1. Hand Aerator

If you have a small lawn, a hand aerator can be quite effective. Basic models resemble a rake. They loosen up the surface soil which enhances access to water and air by the roots. Hand aerators can be quite strenuous to use. This is due to the fact that a lot of effort is required of the hands to disturb the soil with the aerator. If you need to work on a large lawn, these aerators are likely to cause fatigue and strain. Several models of hand aerators are available on the market.

2. Aerator Shoes

These shoes have spikes at the bottom with spikes a couple of inches long. The shoes are worn over your normal shoes when you need to mow or fertilize your lawn. Universal straps help to secure the shoes in place. The spikes create holes in the lawn surface which allows air, water, and nutrients to flow through better. For best efficacy, you need to use aeration shoes often. It is one of the more inexpensive ways to aerate the lawn. The shoes retail for just about $20.

3. Spike Aerators

These tools have long spikes at the end which you push into the soil. The spikes cause small holes when worked into the soil surface. Like the hand aerators, several types of spike aerators are available. Whatever the model of the tool, the spikes are a prevalent feature. Spike aerators are simple to use and don’t require much space for storage. The price range is also wide which gives consumers more flexibility in choice. Prices range from $10 to around $600.

4. Rolling Aerators

These make some of the most efficient aeration tools on the market. The tool resembles a wheel with spikes which you roll over the lawn surface. As the wheel rotates, the spikes dig into the soil. This creates holes quickly and effectively which improves the distribution of water, air, and nutrients to the root system. Rolling aerators are less strenuous to use than some of the other models. Several models are also available on the market.

5. Plug Aerators

These aerators use hollow tines to plunge into the ground and pull out plugs from the soil. This creates a direct and more effective link between surface air and the subsurface soil. More water is also able to penetrate into the soil beneath which enhances soil health. Plug aerators are considered one of the most effective aeration tools. This is because they break down the heavily compacted soil, unlike some aerators which compact the soil. However, plug aerators cannot be used if the ground is too hard as the plugs will be unable to penetrate the soil. It becomes necessary to wet the soil a day or so before you need to aerate.

Read Our Aerator Review