I'm going to buy a aerator, question is which is the best? Properties I mow are all commercial and the dirt is hard. Which would work better a spike or plug aerator, who makes the best, and how big of one can I pull with 20hp tractor? Thanks.
I have a 20 HP diesel and I pull the Lesco/Classen 48 with it. For hard dirt, the spike aeraters that I have used won't hold up. I'm talking the thin star type spike wheeled ones. Maybe the drum type with the welded on spikes might be OK, but you can't turn them very well without tearing up the turf.
The one I have has a split axle so turning isn't bad with this one. It will penitrate any hard turf I've been on with weight added. The frame is built out of solid bar steel and should last for many many years. It has a towing hitch or 3 point hitch hook up. There are pictures of it on my equipment page.
Lots of posts on this under Tow Aerater on my search page, middle link below.
If you use a spike aerator, it's possible that this can even work AGAINST your purpose. In the long run, this can loosen the soil up just enough to become compact again - even more so than it was to begin with.
"Equipment having solid tines or spikes should not be mistaken for aerating equipment. Aerators always remove a soil core whereas solid tine spikers do not. Spikers actually increase soil compaction as the movement of the soil to all sides by the penetration of the solid tine forces the soil into a denser mass."- from PA http://www.agronomy.psu.edu/Extension/Turf/Aeration.html