Choosing the Right Aerate Lawn Tools- How to Create a Beautiful Healthy Lawn

The difference between a lush green lawn and a "so-so" lawn is the health of the grass on the turf. While this health is determined by a number of factors, one of the most significant of those factors is soil compaction. Compacted soil hinders the deep growth of grassroots and, as such, their health.

Aerating your lawn might be a "once in a year" or so activity, but it is crucial to your efforts to create a beautiful, healthy lawn. Here is everything you need to know about that process as well as how to choose the right aerate lawn tools.

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Unless you have a perennial "DO NOT STEP ON THE GRASS" sign up on your lawn, there is a very good chance that it sees quite a bit of foot traffic. That compounded with regular maintenance activities such as mowing, the type of soil and poor drainage tends to lead to soil compaction.

When the soil on your lawn compacts, it gradually prevents oxygen, nutrients, and water from getting through and reaching the grassroots. This, in turn, results in a pale and unhealthy looking lawn with patchy grass at best.

To ensure this doesn't happen, you need to do something called "lawn aeration." This is where you use aerate lawn tools to break up the tough compacted soil to allow water and nutrients to easily pass through and get to the grassroots, thus giving you a healthy and lush lawn.

There are two main types of lawn aerator tools:

  • Spike aerators: These just poke holes into the turf
  • Plug aerators: These remove a clump of soil and grass

Both do a wonderful job of breaking up compacted soil and giving your lawn a new lease on life. However, a plug aerator seems to be more effective.

When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

The first thing you should know is that you should never aerate your lawn within a year of planting the grass or other lawn seeds/sod. That being said, the best time to aerate your lawn depends on the type of grass you have planted.

If you have cool-season grass such as bluegrass or ryegrass, then you want to aerate the lawn in early fall or early spring. If, however, you have warm-season grass such as Zoysia or Bermuda grass, then you want to do your lawn aerating in late spring.

How to Choose the Best Lawn Aerating Tools

Choosing the right aerate lawn tools for your garden is key to this entire operation. Here are some tips that will help you make that decision:

  • The size of your lawn: How big is your lawn? Many households can get away with using a manual aerator since they have a manageable-sized lawn. However, if you have a massive lawn, then you might need to consider getting a gas-powered or tow-along aerator.
  • Spikes or plugs: As already mentioned, spike and plug aerators tend to achieve the same results, but some think that plug aerators might achieve those results more effectively. They are, however, a bit more expensive, and when you use a manual plug aerator, there is an added element of extra work as you might struggle to release the plug with every pull, making your task even more tedious. 

There are two schools of thought here: manual aerators and powered aerator tools. Here are reviews on tools from both:

The Best Manual Lawn Aerator Tools

Punchau Lawn Aerator Shoes

Some of the best manual aerators are shoes such as the Punchau Lawn Aerator Shoes. This is a simple tool with spikes on it and a metal buckle. All you have to do is to strap them onto your regular shoes and walk around your lawn in any given direction while poking holes into the turf. This is a very affordable and comfortable option, albeit a little tiring.

Truly Holey Manual Lawn Aerator Tool

Manual aerators such as the Truly Holey Manual Lawn Aerator Tool are ideal for smaller gardens. They look like pitchforks and are either handheld or foot operated. They are simple enough to use as all you have to do is stab the spike end of the tool into your lawn, use your foot to drive it deeper into the tough, pull it out, and repeat, making sure to cover as much of the lawn as possible. Simple but tiring.

Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator

The Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator is a simple aerator that has a spike-covered drum that is pushed or pulled with a long handle. These are very easy to use as all you have to do is drag the device along the lawn, making sure to cover as much of the surface as possible.

Agri-Fab Tow Plug Aerator

The Agri-Fab Tow Plug Aerator looks just like its push counterpart with one big difference; this one is towed behind a riding lawnmower. This version is also much heavier, easier to use, and tends to be more effective. It is also going to be a pricier option.

VonHaus 12.5 Amp Corded 15" Electric 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier and Aerator

The VonHaus Electric 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier and Aerator looks a lot like a lawnmower and is just as easy to operate. Equipped with spinning spikes, this multi-function tool can aerate as well as provide you with added convenience by having a dethatcher drum.

The kind of aerator you choose will depend on a couple of factors: the size of your lawn as already mentioned as well as the type of aerator you prefer. Price also comes into play, and so does convenience. While shoe-spike aerators tend to be the most rudimentary and easiest to use, they are also very tiring if you have a huge lawn.

 Electric or gas-operated aerators are much more convenient to use even on smaller lawns but tend to cost a bit more and are somewhat more complicated to use and maintain. It all comes down to what kind of gardener you are in the end.

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