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mroman59

pull behind aerators-opinions needed?

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mroman59
I am in the process of dethatching, aerating and reseeding some of my lawn this fall. There are three types of aerators that are sold that I know of. They are Spike, Plug and Blade. Do you guys have experience which ones produces the best results? I have pull-behind plug aerator made by Agri-Fab but have not used it much over the years. It seems like when you go over the ground, you are not aerating much sq. footage, unless you go over it a lot. Then you have the mess of the plugs all over your yard and just walking across the yard, results in mud on your shoes... not popular with the boss of the house, LOL. The spike aerator resembles more like the idea of gulf shoes on a gulf course, making smaller holes and covering more area. I dont know how the blade works, but seems like it could tear up the ground more and used for more serious lawn problems. Below are the links for photos of each item. Your experience is appreciated. Thanks, MR Plug: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100662570/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 Spike: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100082838/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 Curved Blade: http://www.speedwaysales.com/agri-curved-blade-aerator-behind-p-830.html?c=7

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Burntime
I agree, they are not as efficient as the walk behinds. Just use it a few times when you mow. Just make sure you do not use it after the crabgrass pre-emergent is applied. It creates a barrier for crabgrass.

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MadMike
You may want to check a website called the Lawn Care Forum. That site reminds me of this one, lots of great advice and several members are professionals in the field. Quite a few folks on there stick to organic lawn care. I switched to this and have been happy with the results. As far as aerators: Plug aerators are the best. When the plug is pulled from the ground, it allows for water and nutrients to get down to the root level much easier, and it reduces soil compaction. Spike aerators actually create compaction while punching into the soil. Lawn rollers are terrible for the lawn, unless you aerate after rolling. For reseeding, slit seeders are the best. Your local rental probably has a power seeder, which is much like the Simplicity Revitalizer. These cut a slot and drop the seed right in. The lawn looks a little beat up after using, but soil to seed contact is greatly increased. Fall time is the best time to do it. Just make sure you don't put down any crab grass preventer (should normally do this in the spring), as it will surpress seed germination. Good Luck, Mike

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TommyK
Honestly I'm not sure the spike or circular saw blade 'aerators' do much good. The plug aerators, by definition, pull out plugs like a cork from a wine bottle. The surrounding soil collapses, over time, into the hole, thereby loosening the soil. The others just slit the soil here and there. One could add more plugging 'stars' to the plugger, but you'd need more weight. You do know the pan on top the frame is for adding weights, right? They're sized for concrete blocks. Right about now is a good time to do it. Crabgrass and Fall Panicum are done for the year, and the ground isn't froze up yet. You need to explain to the missus that aeration is part of a healthy lawn and doing it right requires the plugs be left on top the soil. It's a part of doing business. Just coordinate your efforts with her to find out when works best for her schedule to not go in the yard for a few days. To minimize tracked in dirt do one or more of the following: 1. Water the lawn afterward to loosen up the dirt on the plugs 2. Mow the lawn, to further break up the plugs 3. Use your lawn sweeper to sweep up the plugs, then deposit the plugs in the garden. 4. Do this chore as late in the fall as possible. 5. When coming in the house, leave your shoes in the mud room. That's why God created mud rooms... for leaving mud. Or.. just take them off before coming indoors, leave shoes on a mat or rug near the door. To ensure domestic tranquility it's probably a good idea any time. Also, for safety's sake: 1. If you have a gas operated yard lamp, or gas powered grill which are plumbed into the household heating gas supply, KNOW WHERE THOSE LINES ARE AND HOW DEEP THEY ARE BURIED. Your gas company may be able to help here. A call to your local utility location service J.U.L.I.E. in my area, will help locate these. It is a FREE service. Use it. For future reference,take pictures of the painted lines and flags whey they are done. 1a. Know where your gas shut off valve is and have the tools handy to shut it off if necessary. We had a fella puncture a gas line to a back yard grill once while aerating. That was more excitement than a man needs in his day. 2. Know where your cable lines are buried. These are generally skived in just below grass root level. Why cable companies do this I do not know. Cost, I suspect. 3. Generally, water and underground electrical service cables are buried deep, but sometimes previous home owners may have buried a power line from the house to a garage or out building without obtaining proper permits. Know where these are and how deep they are. 4. Do you have underground, automatic sprinklers? Yeah, I don't think aerating is in your future.

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MadMike
One option which I've been wanting to do, but haven't had the time or energy. Plug aerate, then rake up the plugs and remove. After this, evenly spread about a 1/2" layer of compost on your entire yard. This is kind of a common plan for organic lawn care. Improving the soil is very beneficial to your lawn. Why haven't I done this? I mow a little over 2 acres and have kids playing Soccer.

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mroman59
quote:
Yes yes yes, make sure it is a plug areator. I used to have sparse grass and the plug areator actually planted plugs when I went across bare spots.
Are you saying you planted plugs of grass? I am confused. The aerator that I am taling about pulls out plugs of dirt and leaves them on the lawn. The holes eventually fill in, but the purpose is to allow loosening of the soil and to get air or oxygen back into the soil, I think. They make golfers where spikes on their shoes for the same purpose. Also, I was wondering if I just dethatch the lawn first with a pullbehind rake dethatcher (home depot type) and then aerate with a pull behing aerator(home depot type), If that would be good enough to prepare the ground for re-seeding.
quote:
For reseeding, slit seeders are the best. Your local rental probably has a power seeder, which is much like the Simplicity Revitalizer. These cut a slot and drop the seed right in. The lawn looks a little beat up after using, but soil to seed contact is greatly increased.
I will check into a power seeder, are you saying it cuts a slot and seeds the lawn at the same time? If you got any more tips on reviving your lawn, I'm listening. Thanks, MR

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MadMike
MR, Golfers wear spikes for traction, not to aerate turf. De-thatching and then core aerating will work, not quite as good as a slit seeder, but better than just broadcasting. Seed to soil contact is critical for effective germination. Slit seeders have blades and a hopper. The blades are mounted vertically and slit the soil, as the slit is made, the hopper drops seed into the slits. The first rain or watering will typically help to close up the slits, thus creating seed to soil contact. De-thatching, core aerating, broadcast seeding, and then covering with a thin layer of compost would work well also.

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mroman59
quote:
Golfers wear spikes for traction, not to aerate turf.
Sure, I am aware of that, but I was always told that a side benefit is that it aerates the lawn ... maybe it was a myth all these years. I just plug aerated my lawn. According to my soil sample, I need 65lbs lime/1000 sq. ft. So my next step is spread lime. I was told by the chemist who did the analysis to put half required on in the fall and the other half next spring. After that, I have to fertilize 3 applications of high phosphorus fertilizer, this fall, next spring and in the fall again. After that I can move to a routine maintenance fertilizer concentration. I may dethatch also before or after I put down the lime. Next spring I will have to put down a pre-emergent for weed control, so no dethatching or aerating during that time is allowed with a pre-emergent. As far as reseeding, I may wait until I see how well the grass comes in in the spring to see if my nutrient applications and weed preventer make a difference. I am only doing this to 1 acre (accept the pre-emergent, that I will do for the whole lawn). If I do see a difference in lawn appearance after all this I will do the 2 acre. If not, let the weeds grown like the neighbors or call TrueGreen, LOL.

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