We all know that lawns need watering and mowing every now and then to keep them looking green and healthy. However, many people don’t know that aeration is also a very important part of lawn maintenance. Aeration comes with plenty of benefits hence you need to slot it in along with the other lawn maintenance activities.
Just like most things in life, if you want to be in full control of the process and subsequently the results, you will have to do it yourself. Besides, lawn care is a great way to get yourself into a calm state of mind. Repetitive, non-demanding tasks like mowing your lawn will also give you a good time to brainstorm some ideas or to do some soul-searching. To do this, you will need your own equipment and a tow-behind plug aerator is a good place to start after you get your lawnmower.
Why Should You Buy a Lawn Aerator?
Lawn aerators play an important role in ensuring that you have a healthy lawn. In addition to watering and mowing it regularly, there is a need to ensure that there is enough space in the soil for air. Over time, the soil on your lawn gets compacted, making it more and more difficult for air and water to make way into the soil where they are needed the most.
Just like most other lawn care tasks, there are professional companies that will be happy to aerate your lawn at a fee. For most people, this service works just fine. However, if you do the math, you will find that this option is way more expensive in the long run.
The cost of buying the equipment may look high, but if you consider the alternative, you will realize that doing the work yourself is the affordable option. Lawn aeration for an average sized lawn with an area of about 5,000 square feet will cost around $100. This means that if you decide to buy an aerator, the first two or three uses will already have paid for the equipment. After that, all you will need to do is free up some time from your schedule for lawn aeration.
Lawn aerators help you fix your lawn by enabling you to add air spaces into the soil, thus making it easier for water to sip through. They are easy machines to use and you won’t need any special training to use them on your lawn. If you can operate a lawnmower, then you can also operate a lawn aerator.
When Should You Buy a Lawn Aerator?
Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that there is no lawn problem that can’t be solved by fertilizer and a little grass seed. If your problem is soil compaction, there is no amount of fertilizer or grass seed that will make it go away. Which brings the important question: how do you know that your lawn needs aeration?
For best results, you should make it a regular activity that you do periodically. This will ensure that you are not forced by thinning grass, bald patches or other undesirable effects. Regular aeration will ensure that your lawn doesn’t get to the point where you have to aerate as a desperate effort to bring back the former glory.
However, if you find yourself here, here are some signs that your lawn needs aeration:
Thinning Grass: This is one of the early signs that your soil needs aeration. If the roots are not able to absorb water and nutrients, the grass will suffer and this will be seen in the density of the grass.
Bald Patches: Another sign that you need aeration is bald patches on the lawn. It will begin as slow grass growth in these areas which will go on until it becomes complete bald patches.
Discoloration: Has your lawn changed from being nice and green to yellow or even a shade of brown that looks very close to rustThis could be an indication that the grass isn’t getting enough nutrients. If you have added fertilizer and the problem still persists, then you need to aerate because the fertilizer isn’t getting to the roots.
Puddles: What happens when you irrigate your lawnDo puddles form on the grass and stay there for long periodsIdeally, water should soak into the soil quickly. If it takes longer than usual, then you need to consider aeration.
Quick-Drying Ground: You have irrigated your lawn but it still looks dry a few hours later. This could mean that instead of soaking into the soil, most of the water ran off to lower parts of your yard. This is another indication that the soil is compact and needs aeration.
Types of Lawn Aerators
There are two main types of lawn aerators and each one of them works in a unique way to ensure that your lawn stays aerated. Let’s look at each of them and how they work.
This is the simpler version of the lawn aerator and it works by forcing wedge-shaped spikes into the soil. Once the spikes are removed, the lawn is left with uniform spaces for air and water. Arguments have been made about the effectiveness of spike aerators given that the holes you leave behind will easily expand and close in a short time because no soil is removed.
This means that the spike aerator works best in soils that are not too compacted.
The second type of lawn aerator is the plug aerator. This one works by forcing hollow tines into the soil, thus pulling out cores from the soil. The process is more effective because removing the soil ensures that the holes stay open for longer, allowing time for air and nutrients to reach the roots.
For this reason, the plug aerator will be effective even when used in heavily compacted soils. It is more superior and more versatile, hence it is the better option. Tow-behind plug aerators make the work easier for you because they can be hitched to your lawn mower, allowing you to kill two birds with a single stone by aerating as you mow.
The Top 5 Tow-Behind Aerators 2018
To ensure that you have an easy time choosing the tow-behind plug aerator to buy, we have identified five of the best performing models that give the best value for money.
5 Brinly PA-48BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator
Don’t let the simple design fool you. This Brinly plug aerator will do a spectacular job of aerating your yard. With a 48 inch working width, it will help you quickly cover the entire span of your lawn in no time.
To ensure that you do a proper job even when you are working on uneven terrain, this plug aerator has 4 independently rotating spoon sections with 32 spoons that will adjust themselves according to the terrain. The steel tray can comfortably hold up to 150 pounds of extra weight to ensure maximum penetration.
4 Agri-Fab 45-0518 Tow Behind Plug Aerator
This plug aerator from Agri-Fab comes with 24 heavy duty knives that are sharpened for maximum penetration. They are also galvanized to ensure that they serve you for a long time. The tray can hold up to 140 pounds if you want to increase the penetration of the knives when working on harder soils.
With a 40 inch working width, this aerator will enable you to get the entire lawn aerated in fewer passes. The towing handle also folds to occupy the least space in storage.
3 Brinly AS-40BH Tow Behind Combination Aerator Spreader
For maximum efficiency, this Brinly machine will enable you to aerate your lawn or garden as you drop the seeds. It has a large steel hopper that can hold up to 120 pounds of seeds, thus ensuring that you have fewer refills during the process.
The seed will also serve as an extra weight to improve penetration of the tines even when working on heavily compacted soils. These tines are also galvanized to prevent rust. They will penetrate up to a depth of 2 inches.
2 Brinly PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator
With 24 strong steel spoons, this plug aerator from Brinly is able to penetrate up to 3 inches in compacted soil with a width of up to 40 inches wide. To ensure more effective penetration, this plug aerator comes with a durable steel tray that is capable of holding up to 150 pounds of extra weight.
1 Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator
With a massive 48-inch coverage width, this Agri-Fab plug aerator will ensure that you aerate your lawn in the least number of passes. It has 24 galvanized spoons that will ensure that you never have to worry about rust.
These spoons are able to comfortably penetrate up to 3 inches under the surface. You also get a weight tray that can hold up to 175 pounds of extra weight to ensure improved penetration even when the ground seems too compacted.
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Tow-Behind Plug Aerator
Having mentioned some of the top models in the market, you probably have an idea of what a good plug aerator should look like. Here are some factors that you should give some thought when choosing the model to buy.
The Size of Your Lawn
Larger lawns will take longer to aerate if you have narrow machines. With this in mind, you will be best advised to go for a wider plug aerator if you have a large area to cover. It will also help to have a machine with more spoons.
Level of Compaction/Soil Type
The soil type in your lawn will determine to a great degree how much compaction you will have to deal with. Lawns with clay soils will have to deal with higher degrees of compaction because of the fine particles that the soil has. It is also a good idea to consider the amount of traffic that your lawn gets. The more traffic there is, the more compacted the soil will be.
For more compact soils, you will need more extra weight so make sure that you check to see if the tray will handle all this extra weight.
Build Quality and Materials
You want to go for a product built with durable materials. Galvanization is also a good thing to look out for to ensure that the different components do not rust after a few years of use.