SPIKES, PLUGS OR GOPHERS?
Aerating is quite a simple concept but it does call for some tedious work. Releasing a family of gophers in your garden is probably not the best way to do it.
Instead, there are two basic methods how aerating is done:First is by using spikes. Spikes poke holes into the soil and offer an easier means to penetrate the hard earth.
However, they do not carve out a lot of space for the soil to breathe and may require you to repeat the process several times over the same area.
The second and more effective method is by using plugs. Plugs pull out chunks of earth and grass to create pockets in the turf. It does leave behind a clutter of plugged out soil and vegetation but they will eventually decompose and return the nutrients back to the soil.
PICK A LAWN POKER
There are different tools used for aerating may it be spike or plug-type. There is an assortment of gas-powered aeration tools that allows fast, light and efficient means of carrying out the task.
Of course, heavy-duty equipment is a costly investment considering you only need to aerate your lawn once a year on average. But you can find them available for renting at garden centers and home improvement stores.
If you have a relatively small patch of turf, you may want to consider using manual tools. Hand-held or foot-worn aerators would require a bit more brawns but they could work just as well as powered type tools.
Aerator shoes are the most popular type of tool used for aerating. They are basically spikes that you can strap on over your own shoes. They are cheap and simple to use.
Just walk across your lawn wearing the shoes, going over the same areas repeatedly from different directions and making sure that the spikes are buried well into the earth.
Hand-held aerators are commonly designed similar to pitchforks. But they usually have a cross bar that you can step on to sink the spikes into the soil the way you would do with a shovel.
There are some hand-held aerators that are plug type but these tools are actually tiring to use and are only recommended for smaller areas.
Manual drum aerators or Lawn spikers are an improvement from hand-held aerators especially if you have a wider turf surface to treat.
These are horizontal drums covered by spikes or blades attached to a handle that you can roll across the lawn.Pull-behind aerators are almost no different from the manual drum aerator.
But instead of rolling it manually, it is towed by a motorized lawn mower.
The advantage of this is that the drum can be made much heavier and able to go deeper into the soil and aerate it more effectively.Gas-powered aerators are practically lawnmowers with spinning spikes that aerate the soil instead of blades that cut the grass. These are ideal for large lawns with high foot traffic.