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Lawn Aerators: From Foot-powered to Horsepower

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

Soil compaction is the number one killer of lush, healthy lawns. Compact soil keeps nutrients and air from circulating underground. To keep your soil loose, you should purchase a lawn aerator from your local home and garden center.

If you're like most homeowners, you probably seed your lawn at least twice a year, but even if you throw out ten bags of the best grass seed you can find, heavily compacted soil will keep it from germinating. Make seed time count by using a lawn aerator. Spike and core lawn aerators offset compaction by punching holes in your lawn. These holes allow nutrients, air, and water to better circulate in the soil.
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Lawn Aerator Options

  • Spike Aerator. Spike aerators drive a two- to three-inch hole into the ground at regular intervals. Spike aerators are first-generation machines that are excellent in helping irrigation reach the lowest depths of the grass root system.
  • Core Aerator. Working in a similar way to spikes, core aerators use a tine to remove the core of the hole in one pass. Core aerators one-up their predecessors by better increasing soil breatheability.

Points to Consider

Top lawn aerator brands include Bluebird, Classen, Ryan, and Turfco and are valued at around $2,000 or higher. Care for them just as you would a lawn mower or other powered lawn machine.

Aerators come in manual and gas-powered models. While the manual type are often less expensive, they're impractical for large lawns. If money is an issue, consider renting an automatic aerator during the seeding season.

About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.

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