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Many “green thumbs” believe that aerating your lawn (by compacting the soil poking lots of little holes in it) helps to channel nutrients deeper into the ground where grass roots benefit from it most.  You can pay a service for this, but it’s pretty easy to do yourself with a drum spike aerator, especially if you have a riding lawn mower.  And it looks sweet parked in your garage — like some kind of barbarian siege gear.

This aerator from Swisher features 78 steel-tined spikes that penetrate about 2-1/2” down in into soil.  It’s 40″ wide, too, so it aerates a pretty wide swath at once, meaning fewer trips ’round the yard for you.  It’s made to hook on to your riding lawn mower as a trailer, and it’s not that heavy in its natural state.  However, you can also fill the drum with water to further compact your dirt and extract full benefit of the aeration.  Beware, though: with the extra water weight Swisher says you’ll need at least a 12 hp tractor to haul it.

One note: aerators like this work pretty well in most cases, but aeration alone won’t guarantee that air, water, and grass roots will meet and be fruitful.  To assure good results, look at your soil and root conditions and do a little research before you drag one of these around your yard.

The Swisher’s $250 price tag might deter some yard laymen, but it’s actually not a bad deal if you aerate somewhat regularly or have a large yard.  And how many lawn care tools that look cooler than this?

Drum Spike Aerator [Swisher]
Street Pricing [Froogle]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


9 Responses to Aerate Your Lawn Yourself: Save Bux, Release Your Inner Gladiator

  1. m4ff3w says:

    Compacting the soil is the exact opposite of aerating it.

  2. Zach says:

    Exactly m4ff3w… One would be much better off renting a core aerator…

  3. kdp says:

    While spike aeration is good, I think core aeration is better. Rather than compacting the soil around the hole, a plug is pulled out and deposited on the lawn. Amendments can be applied in a second pass.

    The new thing though is DryJect, where pressurized air is forced into the soil, fracturing the compaction and, optionally, injecting amendment or seed. It’s kind of expensive right now, but I’m hoping the price comes down as more people learn about it. Until it does, I’ll keep renting a core aerator a couple times a year.

  4. Erik Hovland says:

    Second what kdp said. Coring is better at improving lawns then using spikes.

    As far as the price tag, I rented an aerator for $46 and $2 in gas to fill the tank after I finished. That was for a 3 hour period and I spent 40 minutes of that time driving it home and driving it back. That goes a long way towards spending $250 for the wrong tool. Since you shouldn’t core more often then twice a year, it will be a while before you get up to that single upfront cost.

    Here is a suggestion if the price is too steep still. Go rent it for a day, get your neighbors to pay you $10 a yard and make money.

  5. Roscoe says:

    I’m fortunate enough to need to rent a core aerator at work on occasion, and then get to take it back to the at the end of the day after swinging by my house.

  6. A Johnson says:

    I purchased one of these Swisher aerators from outsideshopper.com and was very happy with it. It was a great value!

  7. eschoendorff says:

    We had one of these when we owned a lawn service back in the 90s. We would use this one people’s lawns, but IMHO, it really didn’t do much. I’d be hard pressed to tell a lawn that received the spiked treatment from one that didn’t. Unless you’re into medieval masochism, skip this piece of hardware.

  8. Eric Corson says:

    I agree with all above and allthough I love this site, it should know better than to advertise for a spike aerator-they dont work.

  9. rick says:

    I think spike aerating it easier on the lawn than core. With core you kill that piece of earth you pulled out and end up with alot if clumps in your lawn. My lawn is perfect with a spike aerator.

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