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Pull Behind Aerators

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by michigan mulcher, May 1, 2006.

  1. michigan mulcher

    michigan mulcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I have a 14hspwr small lawn tractor with no 3 pt hitch. Can I pull a 42 to 48" aerator with my small husky tractor. Also, will the tine wheels turn without tearing up the turf.
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Core aerator? No. Spike aerator? yes. But IMO, spike aerators are useless. Your choice...
  3. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Spike aerators actually cause more compaction than relieving compaction. Pulling a core aerator with a lawn tractor can be done but you will be shortening the life of your transaxel if you do alot of aerating with it.

    Also my aerator turns without tearing up the turf. Hope this helps.
  4. chriscraft

    chriscraft LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Ya 14 hp is a little small but we use a 17 hp laser and its does great, We aerate hundreds of homes per year with a 42" Turfco and a 44" laser
  5. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,707

    i pulled a 46" core aerator with my little 12hp murray gear driven tractor. this is all it gets used for anymore, but the thing is a tank, so i won't be getting a walkbehind model until the murray finaly dies. i wouldn't dare pull that with my new simplicity, even though it is 1000 times more powerfull, i can't afford to damage a hydro.
  6. aclassic

    aclassic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    i dont know what kind of transmission that is, but i would imagine any newer lower hp lawn tractor will probably have a crappy tranny. i think a lot of new lawn tractors have a belt tensioner transmission not gear drive. the older mowers had gear drive, which is why mike can pull w/ a 12 hp. i have a 16 hp MTD that my grandpa gave me to pull my aerator w/ and it does the job, but after pulling the thing for a while the belts get quite hot and slip. i am definately in the market to upgrade asap, as i dont know how long the tranny or the rear end will hold up. as a standard, i would say be very weary of pulling an aerator w/ anything but a gear driven tranny, and beyond that a bullet proof hydro system. i would say go try to rent a pull behind aerator. it is probably hard to find one (a good one), but i found one and bought it, but rent it and see how your tractor pulls it. if it strains at all i would look into upgrading to a john deere, or an old toro wheel horse.
  7. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    Don't forget about the old IH Cub Cadets.
    Bulletproof transaxle is thier middle name.:weightlifter:
    Take your pick of hydro or gear drive; both good choices.
  8. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    The Turfco 42 inch tow unit will turn without tearing even around small trees and tight turns. It is designed that way.
    You may have a couple problems with a 14 hp tractor. The HP is there as the 42 inch tow unit can go as small as 12 hp. If it is a belt drive transmission you may have burning of the belt and therefore a short belt life. It it is a hydro transaxle you need to keep and eye on the heat that will build in the transaxle. The extra constant pull will cause the smaller units to heat as they have no external oil cooler or capacity. The high heat can cause the seals to go and then the transaxle. If you do this keep a close eye on the belts and heat. Homeowner tractors were not designed for long term continuous use like a commercial unit.
  9. michigan mulcher

    michigan mulcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks, for all your'e replies. I went ahead and bought the 48" pull behind by Turfvent because the price was right and I've read some favorable reviews. My tractor is belt drive, with a gear transmission and its pretty solid and I won't be pulling it up any hills. I think it will be ok, but I will go out and buy a backup belt to be on the safe side. I assembled it and weighted it with about 100 lbs. of bricks. It pulled easily but core penetration was only a half an inch and by the looks of the spacing pattern, I probably will have to go over each area 3 or 4 times to get adequate spacing. That was a week ago and here in southwest MI, we had a real dry April and the ground was hard and dry. At any rate, I dropped the aerator off to an old timer down the road who is going to weld a steel box on the top so I can load some serious weight.

    Also, on a side note, I welded a ball hitch to my brand new 23hs. Lazer a few yrs. ago and I pulled a small cement roller (300lbs.) and at other times,a small wooden trailor with the grandkids around some country trails. Well, within a year I blew all the seals in the hydro. and both hydro's had to be replaced($1200). But I really abused my lazer. The manual said that the Lazer Z is not meant for pulling and voids all warranties on the tranny if damage occurs due to towing. I wish I never would have sold my old Cub Cadet. It was built like a tank and would be well suited for pulling an aerator, but I sold it when I bought my Lazer Z.

    Today, (sat 5/13) I demoed the PLUGR 800 on my yard and here are my thoughts about it. The conditions for plugging were perfect. We are stuck in a huge low pressure system and have had almost 3"s of rain so far. In fact I aerated in the light rain. My yard is mostly sandy loam and drains well so the conditions were excellent. As suspected the PLUGR had no problem pulling out good 2.5 to 3 inch plugs. There was a good tight spacing pattern and the machine laid more plugs per foot than any other machine I have used previously (Lawnaire, Classan, Bluebird). I could easily make 90 degree turns with the tines in the ground and most of the time I would make a 180 degree turn with relative ease although I did turf the yard a few times. As far as speed goes, I was disappointed as both the big Lawnaire and the Classan definitely go faster. The speed was slower than my Toro 21" walk behind mower. It took one hour to do my front and side yard (10,000 sq. ft.) I went around 4 small trees and their is a slight hill but I aerated it efficient making 90 degree turns without stopping. Now the back yard sits on about an acre but has two small ponds and and about 15 evergreen trees and two gardens which leaves about 27,000 sq. ft of turf. There are a few obstacles but also I can make long straight runs. It took a little over 2hrs and I averaged around 13500 sq. ft/ hr. The manual says the machine can do 27000 sq. ft. / hr. I find myself doing about one half that amount. Now having a sandy soil might have slowed the machine down because the push of the tines propels the machine and they did not get a good grip in the sand and also my turf is rather thin and this could also be a factor. I did notice when I went over some heavier soil (clay loam) the machine sped up and where the turf was thick the machine went faster. Where I did run into problems is where there was thin turf because of grub damage and mole runs. When I hit these relatively sandy bare areas the machine would slow down and would start digging in like a rototiller. I got stuck a few times and could not even pull the tines out with the release lever because they were buried in the soil. After awhile I learned to push my way through these areas but I was down to a tee shirt and it was 43 degrees outside. Did I mention that I weigh 145 and am 55 yrs. old. But really that was just a few areas and I don't have any customers with conditions like that. All in all, I liked the machine, but I still don't know if I would like to use that machine every day, 10 hours a day for 2 weeks in a row. I see they make a hydro drive but I don't know if you use the hydro for strickly loading and getting to the spot you need to aerate or actually use the hdro while you are aerating. This would save a lot of manual labor going through the tough spots that you find yourself pushing the machine. Any input would be welcome.

    Overall, here are my ideas on aerators in general. I think, but don't know, that in most yards that are 10,000sq. ft. or smaller, a good walk behind would be quite sufficient to do a good job and still make you good money (at least 2x's more per hour than mowing). So far, for ease of use and quality of job I was impressed by PLUGR. If I was to do maybe 30 lawns a season with this and could load the machine in with my mowers and do some jobs while I working my mowing route this would be suffiecient. However, if I was to really advertise and build a big business of 100 or more in a season of small yards I would gladly pay more for a walk behind aerator that pulls you along with absolutely no effort on the operator except to operate the handles or walk behind it. Both the split drum aerator by Classen and the TurnAire by Turfco sound promising. I would love the idea of riding a sulky behind an aerator. It sounds to good to be true. Turfcobob, is there any way of demoing the Turnaire 26. I demoed the PLUGR through Extreme Power Equip. in Kalamazoo, MI. Call Pete at 269-341-9334. Also the Z-Plugger by L.T. Rich sounds like just what I am looking for but how long has it been making aerators. Also, I haven't read any feed back on anybody that has used one. I really will pay up for quality and ease of operation but I don't know if I could spring for over 4 grand on a walk behind.

    As far a pull behinds, I hope my gamble on Turfvent pays off. I got it for under 600 and the features and quality appear to be there. Maybe not as good as the Turfco but at that price, if I do 6($100) jobs by it, and it hasn't fallen apart, at least I will have my investment back minus labor. I personally don't buy into the argument that the walk behinds that are currently used by most lawn care professionals do a better job than a pull behind. If the goal is to pull deep plugs, than with the proper amount of weight a pull behind can pull deep plugs. Sure the spacing is tighter with a walk behind and you get more plugs per sq. ft. But, with a pull behind you can go a lot faster and cover a wider swath and by going over the same areas at different angles you can get 12 plugs/sq.ft. or more. The goal of aeration is aerate the soil with the least amount of damage to the turf. I feel that the pull behinds dont damage the turf any more than a walk behind. Sure hills can be done better with a good walk behind and there probably are some other pro's to the walk behind.But if I can do a job in half the time with comparable quality and no fatigue, that is what I am after. The only thing that stops me from aerating towards the end of the day is fatigue. Chriscraft, it sounds like you have the operation I dream of. With your 44" Lazer pulling the 42"Turfco, it seems like the perfect operation for even getting into small yards. That with a small walk behind to do the corners, tight spots and borders you have the perfect efficient operation. As I mentioned before I blew my hydro on my 23 Lazer but I was pulling a 300lb roller up many hilly yards, also I used to load up a small trailer with topsoil (1yrd) and pull it with my lazer. So I really abused it. So far your'e Lazer seems to be working out good for the Turfco 42.

    So thats my thoughts on Aerators, I am still looking for the Stander Style aerator that is completly hydralic like the Z-Plugger and has the reliablility of a Classen and has good tight spacing and is priced under 5 grand. Lets hear some more input. Tom Olson
  10. aclassic

    aclassic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    classen does have a stander that i think is hydro. but its probly just as much as the lt rich products (z-plug)
    i live in Grand Rapids, and i went to school at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, but i've never heard of that place carrying plugrs. i may have to come down there sometime and check it out.
    good luck w/ your aerations

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