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Aerators and Fertilizer Spreaders

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by bigbob, Mar 11, 2001.

  1. bigbob

    bigbob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I've got several questions for the forum experts. First for a little background. My lawn is about 2 acres and the soil is heavy clay. I am located on the Texas Gulf Coast and the soil is known as Beaumont clay. The grass around the house is St. Augustine and the remaining grasses are natives. My lawn tractor is a Craftsman 20 hp with a hydo transmission. I want to loosen the soil and apply fertilizer.

    1. I have been looking at plug aerators and spike aerators. What are the pro and cons of these two styles? I have looked at the ones offered by Sears, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, and Northern Equipment. They all seem to be very similar.

    2. Likewise, I have been looking at broadcast and drop spreader. I am leaning towards the broadcast style. Any opinions?

    3. What do you think about the combo spike and spreaders?

    4. Do you think my lawnmower is up to the task? I do not want to overstress the tranny.

  2. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    Your mower should handle a Core aerator and this is what I would use. It does a better job of loosening the soil than a spike. I think the spike is good for overseeding though. I would get a broad cast spreader. You can do the job faster and I think a better coverage too. The core aerators you are looking at don`t have many spoons, so you will need to go over your lawn twice at least to get a good job. The aerator I use, Lesco/Classen has over twice as many spoons as the same size from the places you mentioned.
  3. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    Another option is to twist the tines on a spike
    around half turn.This will give a spooning affect.
    Ihave found this to allow good deep penetration.
    I use 4 concrete blocks but you may be able to use more according to the size aereator you get.I use quick clamps
    but a big c clamp will hold the block on also.
    I have seen the spike spreaders but never used one.
    If you aregoing to tryfor new grass you might consider a motorised machine as this sometimes produces higher germenation rate.Your mower should handle it alright
    as I have used a 141/2 hp with never any trouble.
    I suggest you wait until your clay is damp for best penetration.Good luck
  4. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    I've been using a core-aerator behind a 18hp weed-eater, if I can pull it than you shouldn't have any problems. I think the core aerator does the job right, if I remember right - the cost is about the same for both types.
    I use a home-made roller before and a broadcast spreader after. The broadcast will take some time off and I think it applies more evenly.
    Good luck
  5. MattG

    MattG LawnSite Member
    from STL, MO
    Messages: 13

    I have a Feldman Core Aerator. It is head and shoulders above the cheaper stuff at HD and Sears. It is built better, and has more core spikes. I have abused it and it never has any problems. I would recommend a good brand sold by a lawn equipment dealer rather than a Home Depot or similar place. They are actually not very expensive either. I think I paid around $300 for mine new. I pull it with a 14hp JD lawn tractor and it works fine. For seeding I seed right after I aerate. The seed falls into the holes and when it finally germinates will have a 3-4 inch deep root right off the bat. It does take a little longer to show green at the surface but the grass will not burn easily.

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