View Full Version : Do You Aerate Lawns and If So, How?

11-29-2010, 08:24 PM
Do you aerate lawns? If you do, do you use a rotary aerator or an up and down aerator? What size hole do you make? How many holes per sq ft do you make? How often do you break tines? How long do your tines last? Which brand/model aerator do you use? Which brand/model tines do you use?

11-30-2010, 04:52 AM
I see intelligent answers abound...I guess rather than golf courses and lawns you guys focus on mowing swimming pools. Have you figured out a way to get the mower to float?

Back on topic...All the golf course stuff-Deere, Toro, Jacobsen--is up and down, typically 2x2 to 2x3 (25-36 holes/sqft) on fairways and 1x1 or 1.4x1.4 (72-144 holes/sqft) on greens using mini/quad tines. The tine manufacturers offer machined tines and rolled tines, and offer the tips hardened and sometimes the whole tine hardened. The tines without hardened tips apparently can't last for 18-19 greens (120-140,000sqft); the hardened tips extend life 3-4x. Or so I've been told.

Some of the lower-end landscaper/rental units (e.g. Ryan Lawnaire 28) have up-and-down tines. However, it is around 12 holes/sq ft. The others have rotary drums with tines on them; these seem to have 6-9 holes/sqft. I'm not familiar enough to know the difference in hole quality although the rotary ones, whether spoons, hooks, or tubes, would seem by geometry to leave a coarser, more compacted openning.

I'm trying to find out what the actual practice is. The higher hole counts of the larger up and down units seem as if they would be better at accomplishing the desired result. However, these units seem to be virtually unrentable. The one I did find, a very nice Deere Aerator 800, has an 'issue' with its tine configuration that I'm trying to work out with the rental house. Otherwise, the up-and-down aerator availablity may only be solved by buying a used one, potentially quite expensive (new they are over $10k) and requiring the storage space of 48" walk behind mower.

11-30-2010, 05:09 AM
The up-and-down golf aerators leave a trail like this:


where the rotary aerators leave a trail that is milder:


11-30-2010, 09:40 AM
i dont know what you are using it for, golf or turf, but all i can say is get the best one you can afford. we like the cam style as you can get more cores per sqft which is important for more shallow cores, if you get really deeep cores you can go farther apart and get similar results.

11-30-2010, 09:54 AM
Most of us use the rental units. To get more cores we make several passes usually in different directions. The drum units are much more physically taxing than the cam style.

11-30-2010, 02:30 PM
you only have to make one pass with a cam style as speed determines howmany holes per sqft.

11-30-2010, 04:42 PM
Well we use this baby right here.
Its a JD 667 60" With a Gator Rator on it.
They dont make the Gator Rator anymore but its rotary aerator
works good when the ground isnt hard as a rock but other than that it does pretty good!


11-30-2010, 07:30 PM
Do you have something to drag the cores after aerating to break them up?

11-30-2010, 07:56 PM
I dont ,
Usually they fall deep in the grass so you can barely see them....
My lawns NEVER look like the ones in that picture Up a few post^^^
(the one where all the cores are everywhere.)
I suppose you could run your mower over them with the blades on.

Do you have something to drag the cores after aerating to break them up?

11-30-2010, 08:34 PM
I haven't determined if it will be necessary to break them up. If it was, I figured the mower would do it. Pictures like the Toro ProCore 648 above are usually shot on 1/8" tall greens or 1/2" tall fairways. I imagine on 3" tall fescue or 2" tall sport turf it is less noticeable, however it is not recommended to be done in season to the sports turf. In season I imagine it would be blade or a cross.