How to use a lawn aerator. Lawn aerator pull behind

How to use a lawn aerator

If your lawn is healthy then there is no need to aerate, however if the soil is compacted due to high foot traffic, the grass is brittle, not a luscious green colour or feels extremely spongy then a lawn aerator should improve the health of the grass.

When is the best time to use lawn aerator?

Avoid hot and dry times of the year, so early Spring and Autumn are the best times to aerate – ideally before you plan to fertilise or apply fresh grass seed. The ground should be moist but aim for a time that is not too wet as the tines might break, with watering or light rain the day before to ensure the best conditions for the process. For new lawns wait between 12-18 months prior to aerating for the first time.

How often should you use a lawn aerator?

It is recommended to aerate a lawn at least once every year in early spring to loosen the soil enough for better circulation. For compacted soil caused by high foot traffic or in an area of high clay content then a second aeration in Autumn is also recommended.

How to use a lawn plug aerator

Using a lawn aerator is similar to using a mower, the process involves some preparation followed by running the aerator over the lawn.


Prepare the ground for aerating by ensuring the ground is moist from a watering or rain the day before. Remove any weeds present to prevent them potentially being chopped up and spread by the aerator during the process.


Depending on the type of lawn aerator you are using will depend on how to operate:

If you are using a manual lawn aerator then this involves pushing or pulling the aerator across your lawn to create the holes in the soil.

Aerator shoes will involve you walking across the areas that require aerating and can also be worn during normal gardening activities.

A powered aerator will be pushed or pulled similar to a lawnmower, however instructions will be different for each make and model therefore please refer to the instructions supplied with the aerator.

If you are using a tow behind aerator then you will need to hitch it to the rear of your lawn tractor or ATV and then drive this across the area of law that you wish to aerate.


You should only need to pass over the lawn once if the soil has been recently aerated or is soft, for harder clay based soil we suggest two passes at a 45 degree angle.


After the process is complete you should water the lawn thoroughly, this is also the ideal time to apply fertiliser or grass seed. You might be left with soil plugs, it should be fine to leave these on the lawn as they will quickly disintegrate into grass over time.

How long does it take to aerate a lawn?

This will depend on the size of your lawn and the type of aeration tool you use, it should typically take the same length of time to mow your lawn as it involves running a similar type of machine across the same area.

How to use a tow-behind plug aerator

A tow-behind plug aerator can be hitched to the rear of a lawn tractor or ATV using the standard pin attachment, the aerator spike depth and pressure exerted by the spikes can easily be adjusted by adding additional weight to trays then dragging the unit over the areas of lawn which require aeration.

Pros and cons of aerating your lawn

What are the benefits of aerating your lawn?

Allows air to reach to roots of the grass.

Breaks up the surface allowing water to be absorbed into the turf.

An increase in circulation ensures nutrients and fertilisers reach the roots.

Encourages healthier drought and heat resistant grass with stronger roots.

Helps remove an excess of thatch and debris underneath the surface of the grass.

All these factors result in a perfect luscious lawn no matter the climate and weather conditions.

Why shouldn’t you use a lawn aerator?

A lawn aerator is unnecessary if your lawn is already looking healthy all year round.

If you lack the space in the garage or shed for a larger heavy tool.

Cleaning a lawn aerator after every use can add time to the process.

Some lawn aerators might be expensive tools which could only be used once a year.


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The 8 Best Lawn Aerators of 2023

Mary Marlowe Leverette is one of the industry’s most highly-regarded housekeeping and fabric care experts, sharing her knowledge on efficient housekeeping, laundry, and textile conservation. She is also a Master Gardener with over 40 years of experience and 20 years of writing experience. Mary is also a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.

Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.

Rich Scherr is a seasoned technology and financial journalist who spent nearly two decades as the editor of Potomac and Bay Area Tech Wire. The Baltimore native also covered the technology scene for and has been a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.

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A top-quality lawn aerator creates soil-deep holes that allow air, water, and fertilizer to reach the roots of your grass, keeping your lawn healthy, nourished, and looking its best.

When and how to aerate your lawn depends upon the type of soil and grass you have (warm-season or cold-season grasses), the size of your lawn, and the amount of foot traffic the area receives. To help you find the best lawn aerator for your needs, we researched dozens of options, evaluating ease of use, functionality, features, and overall value.

Best Overall

Brinly-Hardy PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator

lawn, aerator, pull

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Large width and 24 plugs
  • “No flat” tires
  • Weight tray

The Brinly-Hardy Tow Behind Plug Aerator wins the top spot on this list for its durable, all-steel construction and ease of use. We love that it has a universal hitch that can attach to any lawn tractor, UTV, or ATV, so you don’t have to manually move it around your yard. We also think this is an excellent option for bigger yards—the 40-inch width and 24 3-inch plugs help cover large areas quickly. Since it is a plug aerator, it is perfect for clay soils and has “no-flat” tires to handle different terrain without issues.

Although you do need to add the weight yourself, we appreciate that the weight tray holds up to 150 pounds of concrete blocks to ensure adequate soil depth. We also appreciate the easy-to-use transport lever that allows you to disengage the plugs quickly when you want to avoid sidewalks or sprinkler components. Keep in mind that this aerator is more expensive than other options on this list, and if you do have a small yard, a manual option may be a better choice. However, we think if you already have the right equipment to attach it to, and have a larger yard with the right soil, this aerator will make quick work of getting your lawn into shape, with little effort.

Price at time of publish: 337

Aeration Method: Rolling tow-behind | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 3 inches | Width: 40 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 37 x 51 x 28 inches | Weight Capacity: 150 pounds | Plug Size: 16 gauge

Best Budget

Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator

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If you have a small yard, a handheld aerator is a great affordable option—this type of tool is generally much easier to store and can get into tight places where a tow-behind aerator cannot go. We like the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator because it is both lightweight and durable. Like many handheld aerators, it does require physical effort and only covers a small area at a time, but when used, it can loosen the compacted soil and dethatch your lawn, so vital nutrients can get through.

Aside from the plug (core) handheld aerator, Yard Butler offers a spike handheld aerator which is better for sandy or loamy soil. The plug type has two tines that will penetrate up to 3.5 inches. The spike aerator has four 3-inch spikes. Both aerators are made of rust-resistant powder-coated steel, measuring 37 inches high and weighing around 4 pounds. Each has rubber padded handles and a footrest for ease in pushing the aerator into the soil.

Price at time of publish: 44

Aeration Method: Handheld | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 3.5 inches | Width: 8.75 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 1.75 x 8.75 x 36.5 inches | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size:.50 x 3.50 inches

Best Tow-Behind Spike

Agri-Fab 40-in Spike Lawn Aerator

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  • Requires lawn tractor for use
  • Weights not included
  • Requires large storage space

If you are looking for a tow-behind aerator and have sandy or loamy soil, the Agri-Fab Spike Aerator is a great choice. We love that it has 10 star-shaped tines that help penetrate compacted soil. Plus, it includes a weight tray that can hold up to 100 pounds if needed. Thanks to its universal hitch, your lawn tractor or UTV can do most of the work for you. And when not in use, the hitch folds up for easier storage.

The galvanized spikes can penetrate to a depth of 2.5 inches, and it has a lever for height adjustment. The flat-free tires roll smoothly and will never need to be filled. With a three-year limited warranty, this solid steel aerator will last through many years of lawn care.

Price at time of publish: 210

Aeration Method: Rolling tow-behind | Type: Spike | Spike Length: 2.5 inches | Width: 40 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 31 x 48 x 18 inches | Weight Capacity: 100 pounds | Plug Size: Not listed

Best Shoes

Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes with Hook Loop Straps

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You can go for a walk and improve the quality of your lawn at the same time with the Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes. Each shoe has 13 solid spikes that can penetrate up to 2 inches deep. The adjustable velcro hook and loop straps keep the shoe attached to your existing boot or sturdy garden shoe. At 12 inches long and 5 inches wide, they can fit most adults’ shoes. We also like that they are also easy to store in a shed or outdoor storage bin and require no assembly (aside from attaching to your shoes!).

The shoes have anti-slip pads on the bottom to help prevent them from slipping off your boots on wet grass. Plus, the shoes come with a steel shovel you can use to clean out dirt from between the spikes when needed. Overall, we think this aerator might not be the best option for a large lawn, but we think it’s great for smaller lawns as long as you don’t mind the extra effort.

Price at time of publish: 30

Aeration Method: Spikes attach to shoes | Type: Spikes | Spike Length: 2 inches | Width: 5 inches | Power Source: Not applicable | Dimensions: 12.6 x 5.59 x 4.41 inches | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Plug Size: Not applicable

Best Tow Behind Plug

Agri-Fab 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator

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  • 48-inch width with 32 spikes
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Best for large lawns with clay soil
  • Requires lawn tractor for use
  • Weights not included
  • Requires large storage space

When you have heavy soil, you need a heavy-duty lawn aerator. The Agri-Fab plug aerator has 32 galvanized plugs that will penetrate to a depth of three inches. As with all tow-behind aerators, you will need a lawn tractor or UTVs to attach to the universal hitch.

Able to hold 140 pounds of weight (4 concrete blocks), the steel construction will withstand years of use. For best results, secure the blocks with bungee cords to prevent shifting during use. The cantilever transport handle makes raising and lowering the plugs an easy task. The ten-inch tires will not deflate and roll smoothly over even rutted terrain.

Price at time of publish: 379

Aeration Method: Rolling tow-behind | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 3 inches | Width: 48 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 35 x 60 x 36 inches | Weight Capacity: 140 pounds | Plug Size: 3 inches

Best Liquid

Simple Lawn Solutions Liquid Aerating Soil Loosener

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  • Easy to use
  • Can be used for clay or sandy soil
  • Aids in mechanical or manual aeration

Large aerators aren’t practical if you have a small lawn or strip of grass that needs help. Fortunately, you can still loosen the soil by using a liquid aerator like Simple Lawn Solutions. The proprietary mixture of surfactants and other ingredients breaks apart soil colloids to improve water and nutrient absorption.

The product mixes with water and is used at a rate of one ounce per 1,000 square feet of grass. This soil loosener works well before seeding a lawn or manual aeration to make the task easier.

Price at time of publish: 45

Aeration Method: Liquid | Type: Not applicable | Spike Length: Not applicable | Width: Not applicable | Power Source: Not applicable | Dimensions: 5 x 2.25 x 8 inches | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size: Not applicable

Best Push

Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator

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  • Less expensive than larger models
  • Small storage footprint
  • Works in small spaces

If you want to benefits of a tow-behind aerator but don’t have a lawn tractor, we recommend the Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator. This push aerator is outfitted with spikes and works best on small lawns with loamy soils. You can also pull this aerator when needed. It does require manual effort, but since you are pushing or pulling it, it’s easier to use than a manual tool that you have to push into the ground.

Just 16 inches wide, it can accommodate one concrete block to help push the five spiked discs into the ground to a depth of 2.5 inches. At 27 pounds and 38 inches high, it has a small footprint and is relatively easy to store.

Price at time of publish: 100

Aeration Method: Handheld | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 2.5 inches | Width: 16 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 17 x 8 x 38 inches (assembled) | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size: Not applicable

Best Electric

Sun Joe AJ801E 12-Amp 13-Inch Electric Dethatcher and Scarifier

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  • Adjustable depth control
  • Included detachable bag
  • Small footprint
  • Single-button start

Aerating may allow your lawn better access to the water and air it needs to grow. But it also doesn’t address the issue of piled-up and compressed growth, which can prevent all that from happening. For this, many lawn care experts recommend “scarifying” or de-thatching—removing the built-up thatch. It is physically difficult to do this with a rake, both for the energy it takes and for the amount of distance needing to be covered. We found that the electrically powered Sun Joe AJ801E, which uses a rotating bladed cylinder to scrape up the detritus, accomplishes the task effectively and in far less time. We like the product for its 12-amp electric motor, and for its 12.6-inch path, which strikes us as just the right size for most lawns.

The 27-pound, ETL-approved de-thatcher features a single-handle, five-position depth control, from less than half an inch below the soil to just under half an inch above. This way you can be sure you set the machine to remove what you want removed and not an entire swath of sod. The scarifying blade is pre-attached, but you also can swap out a rake attachment (included, but you need an adjustable wrench). The handles require minimal assembly, with included hardware.

We recommend using the Sun Joe without the included collection bag, as it is fairly small and fills up fast, requiring interminable emptying. Also, this is not a machine for large lawns, as the manufacturer strongly advises using an extension cord no longer than 100 feet.

Price at time of publish: 189

Aeration Method: Scarifying/raking | Type: Scarifier/rake | Spike Length: Not listed | Width: 13 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Dimensions: 24 x 20 x 12.5 inches | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size: Not applicable

Our top pick is the Brinly-Hardy 40-inch Tow Behind Plug Aerator, which works well on clay and sandy soils, and has a heavy-duty steel construction that will last for years. If you’re specifically looking for a tow-behind spike aerator, the Agri-Fab Spike Aerator is a great choice. It has galvanized spikes that can penetrate to a depth of 2.5 inches and will last through many years of use.

What to Look For in a Lawn Aerator

Type of Soil

If you have hard, clay soil or water puddles in the grass after rain, then you should choose a plug aerator like our best overall, the Brinly-Hardy 40-inch Tow Behind Plug Aerator. By removing larger pieces or plugs of dirt, plug aerators can help nutrients penetrate more easily into the roots of the grass. If the soil is sandy or loamy, then the more narrow puncture of a spike aerator will give you the aeration needed. For example, the Agri-Fab Spike Aerator is a great tow-behind spike option.

Not sure what type of soil you have? Grab a handful of the soil and squeeze. If it forms a hard lump in your hand, you have clay. If the soil does not stick together and falls away easily, you have sandy or loamy soil.

Size of Your Lawn

Tow-behind aerators are rather large pieces of garden equipment and won’t perform well on small lots or narrow spaces. Tow-behind aerators are best for lawns larger than one-half acre and regular in shape. Consider the width of the aerator and your turn radius as you shop.

For smaller lawns and irregularly-shaped grass spaces, choose a push aerator, handheld model, or aerator shoes. We think the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator is a great manual option for small yards with clay soil.

Additional Equipment and Storage Space

A tow-behind aerator is going to require something to pull it along. You must have a lawn tractor, ATV, or small utility vehicle. Tow-behind models and push models also need weights (usually several concrete blocks) to help them penetrate the soil. Consider the storage space required for all of these items.

The best type of aerator depends on your lawn, storage space, and budget. Spike aerators use long spikes to make holes in your grass to allow water and nutrients to reach the roots and soil. Spike aeration is a temporary solution that works best on small lawns with loose loam or sandy soils. You can get small spike aerators that are handheld or attach to your shoes, or larger push or tow models. For large areas with hard, compacted clay soils, plug aerators work best. When pushed down into the soil, a plug aerator removes plugs of dirt. This method provides larger holes that allow more nutrients to enter the soil and lasts for a longer period of time. Plug aerators can also be handheld or towed behind a lawn tractor.

Ideally, you should aerate your lawn one to six inches deep. If you have sandy soil, look for a spike aerator that has at least a 2.5-inch spike, like the Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator. For more compact soils, your best choice is a plug aerator with hollow tines that can create three-inch plugs, like our top pick, the Brinly-Hardy Tow Behind Plug Aerator.

The best time to aerate the lawn is dependent on the type of lawn grass. Cool-season grasses (Kentucky bluegrass) should be aerated in the fall. The growing season is still active, but weeds are under control, and temperatures are cooler. Warm-season grasses (Bermuda, centipede) should be aerated in the spring. Most lawns only need to be aerated once per year. Of course, there are exceptions. If the lawn is part of new construction and the ground has been compacted by all of the equipment used during building, you may need aeration to ensure water reaches the roots of freshly laid sod. While it is acceptable to aerate when damp, don’t do it after heavy rains; you’ll end up with a muddy mess that makes it hard for the lawn to recover.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Mary Marlowe Leverette researched and wrote this roundup. She is a Master Gardener and has extensive personal and professional experience testing, reviewing, and writing about home and garden products. You can find more of her work on The Spruce. Jenica Currie, Commerce Editor for The Spruce updated this article with additional reporting.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  • Aerating Your Lawn. Virginia Tech. Virginia Cooperative Extension.
  • “When is the Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn?” Toro Yard Care Blog. 2021. When is the Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn? [online] Available at:

To find the best lawn aerator for your lawn-care needs and budget, start with our top tips and recommendations.

By Tom Scalisi and Heather Blackmore and Mark Wolfe | Updated Sep 2, 2022 11:51 AM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

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Maintaining a lawn is demanding—there’s no question about it. Grass requires regular watering, mowing, and weeding to stay verdant and lush. If bare patches persist despite your best efforts, compacted soil is the likely culprit. Compaction is when the space between soil particles becomes so tight that air, water, and nutrients can no longer circulate around the roots.

Soil compaction often occurs in lawns with heavy clay soil that receive a lot of foot or wheeled traffic. Drainage suffers, and a thick thatch layer—a mix of dead stems, leaves, and roots—may develop between the soil and the grass. A yearly pass with a lawn aerator opens space for air and water to reach your lawn’s roots. This could be the key that unlocks the gate to greener pastures.

We scoured the market to present a list of top picks in a variety of categories. After reviewing the specifications, features, and customer reviews for each of the products below, we tested them in our own backyard. Read on to learn more about our shopping considerations, how each aerator performed, and why we believe these are some of the best lawn aerators available.

  • BEST OVERALL:Brinly-Hardy 40-Inch Tow-Behind Plug Aerator
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Corona YardBreather Aerator
  • UPGRADE PICK:John Deere 48-Inch Tow-Behind Plug Aerator
  • BEST MANUAL:Yard Butler Manual Lawn Coring Aerator
  • BEST HEAVY-DUTY:Agri-Fab 48-Inch Plug Aerator
  • BEST WALK-BEHIND:Ryan Lawnaire IV Aerator
  • BEST LIQUID:Covington Liquid Aerator


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Who Should Aerate Their Lawn

Before you run out and poke holes in your lawn, understand that not all lawns require aeration. But if one of the following scenarios applies to your lawn, you should consider it. Otherwise, let the green be.

  • For newly constructed homes, aeration is almost always a good idea. Between the work crew’s trucks and heavy equipment passing over the soil, there’s a good chance you need to aerate your lawn.
  • Is your lawn the neighborhood ball field? When a yard sees a lot of use, such as children, parties, pets, and other foot traffic, you should think about lawn aeration.
  • For lawns built up from sod, a yard aerator can be a necessity. Until the sod can take root and make a connection to the rough soil underneath, it’s just a grass carpet sitting on top of the soil. Lawn aeration promotes that connection.

Your soil may not be breathing because there’s a thick layer of thatch on top. Thatch is made up of living and dead grass stems and roots that form at the soil surface, usually in response to poor drainage. In that case, a lawn dethatcher will help to remove the thatch layer. These tools simply scrape and remove the thatch without digging into the surface. After removing the thatch, aerate the lawn to repair the soil structure.

Should You Buy or Rent a Lawn Aerator?

It doesn’t always make good financial sense to purchase lawn equipment that you will rarely need. In fact, many homeowners grow gorgeous lawns without aerating. If you are new to your home and not sure whether aerating will be a one-time task or a recurring chore, your best bet might be to borrow or rent a lawn aerator. Most tool rental companies offer both walk-behind and towable lawn aerators for rent by the hour, half day, full day, or week.

On the other hand, some homeowners have problem areas that need yearly aerating. For them, dealing with the hassle of coordinating a rental pickup and return every year, and paying the fee over and over, makes owning an aerator much more cost-effective.

Aeration Methods

Depending on the method of aeration that’s best for your lawn, you may use one of two types of tools: a spike or a plug (also called a “core”).

Plug Aerators

A lawn plug aerator penetrates the lawn with hollow tines that remove plugs of soil. Home landscapers can either leave these plugs in place to decompose or collect them with a rake or lawn mower.

Candidates for plug aeration include lawns where:

  • Water pools in the grass or runs off onto sidewalks after a rainfall.
  • Soil is difficult to dig into.
  • Frequent foot traffic has hardened the soil.

Whether your lawn has all or just one of these indicators, it will benefit from a plug aerator. The holes create spaces in the soil that allow roots to expand, water to soak in deeper, and air to circulate. The result is a healthy root system below and a lush lawn above.

Spike Aerators

Spike aerators don’t remove soil from the yard. Instead, they puncture the soil with long spikes and allow air and water to reach the roots. They typically work well on less compacted soil and sod. They might not do the trick for dense soil.

Spike aerators tend to work best with looser soil, especially if the goal is to increase root exposure to fertilizer or create spaces for grass seed to settle without running off the soil’s surface. We do not recommend using a spike aerator to repair compacted soil. Although they may appear to reduce lawn stress in the short term, repeated use of a spike aerator for a few successive seasons can actually exacerbate soil compaction.

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Types of Lawn Aerators

The size of your lawn and the amount of physical labor you can handle will determine which type of aerator works best for you.

Push Aerators

Push aerators work best in small areas, especially those with obstacles like playsets and trees that require a little finesse to navigate. These aerators most often have spikes, not hollow tines, which make them better suited to lawns without compaction.

A bit harder to find, push aerators require more effort to force the tines into the soil. If the goal is to break down compacted soil, opt for a handheld or tow-behind plug aerator.

Handheld Aerators

Handheld aerator models typically work best on small lawns. They come in both plug and spike varieties. A dual-handle grip (placed high on the tool to prevent back pain) and a strong foot platform allow landscapers to step onto the tool to drive the hollow tines or spikes into the soil repeatedly across the entire lawn. Aeration with handheld tools takes a little more time and physical effort, but it works.

Tow-Behind Aerators

If you have a riding lawn mower, you probably have a large lawn. In this case, a tow-behind aerator might make sense. Connect the lawn aerator to the tow hitch on the mower and quickly cover a lot of ground. To dig deeper, tow-behind aerators come with a tray above the tines for adding extra weight.

Walk-Behind Aerators

Professional landscapers offer aeration services, and most of them use walk-behind plug aerators. These self-propelled machines operate at variable speeds of up to 4 miles per hour to aerate lawns quickly and thoroughly in a single pass. They are extremely heavy, more maneuverable than tow-behind models, and feature densely spaced coring spikes that penetrate about twice the depth of most tow-behind models. While the cost of buying one may be prohibitive for most individuals, this is the rental tool of choice for professional-quality results.

Aerator Shoes

Lawn aerator shoes let you aerate the lawn while you walk. But they’re a good idea only for mildly compacted soil and light maintenance. The sandal-like device fits over shoes with adjustable straps and solid spikes on the soles. As with other spike aerators, regular use may make compacted soil worse.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Lawn Aerator

A nicely aerated lawn can be thick, vibrant, and the envy of the neighborhood. But there’s a lot that goes into choosing the best lawn aerator. The following sections break down the most important factors to consider.


Durability is always a factor when shopping for yard equipment. Aerators see particularly rough use as landscapers drive them deep into the ground. Therefore, the aerator’s construction materials are an essential consideration.

In general, the best lawn aerator uses stainless, galvanized, or heat-treated steel for the spikes or knives that dig into the ground. These tough materials resist rust and stand up to rocks and other rough terrain. The same goes for shoe-style aerators: Stainless steel spikes are best.

Also consider the framework of tow-behind aerators. Powder-coated frames, trays, and other components will help resist rust and aerate your lawn for years to come.

Yard Size

When choosing the best lawn aerator, shoppers need to consider whether they’d like to power the aerator themselves or tow it behind a lawn tractor.

Manual lawn aerators, such as the shoe style and the step-on design, require users to repeatedly drive the spikes or knives into the ground and pull them out again. The manual labor may be tolerable for small yards, but large lawns likely need a tow-behind model.

Tow-behind models are by far the most convenient for large lawns, but they do take some time to set up. Users have to attach the aerator to the tractor and place the appropriate amount of weight on top to ensure the spikes penetrate the soil. The right weight varies considerably between lawns, so there are no rules of thumb to follow.

Weight and Mobility

Weight and mobility can be tricky to balance when it comes to lawn aeration. On the one hand, an aerator needs to be heavy enough to get into the soil. On the other hand, a bulky, hard-to-maneuver aerator might not be of much use.

Large tow-behind aerators can weigh more than 90 pounds. It’s important that they’re heavy so they can really dig down into the soil. However, they’re hard to maneuver around garden beds, and the setup time might not be worth it.

For smaller yards, a lighter manual option might be a better fit. These models often weigh less than 5 pounds, which makes them easier to lift out of the soil. They’re incredibly mobile, so they’ll work in the tiniest plots of grass.

Additional Features

Some of the best lawn aerators have additional features that may make them more desirable in certain scenarios.

  • Knife or spike length: The farther the spikes drive into the soil, the more air and water make it to the roots. But tines that are too long make the aerator difficult to operate. The optimal length is around 3 inches.
  • Aerator/spreader combs: These models have hoppers that carry seeds and spreaders that distribute the grass seeds while the knives are aerating the soil.
  • Handle shape: On manual models, look for an ergonomic handle design.

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Our Top Picks

Whether you’re looking for a handheld aerator to work a few square feet beneath the kids’ playset or a large tow-behind model to aerate several acres, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out more about these tools, how they performed in our tests, and which one may be the best lawn aerator to care for your property.

Brinly-Hardy 40-Inch Tow-Behind Plug Aerator

DIYers who take lawn care seriously should consider Brinly-Hardy’s 40-inch tow-behind plug aerator. It features 24 individual 3-inch heat-treated plugs, all-steel construction, and a weight tray that can handle up to 150 pounds. All of these factors add up to a durable tool that provides optimal aeration.

This model features a universal hitch that can attach to ATVs, UTVs, and lawn tractors. The transport lever allows landscapers to disengage the knives to pull the aerator across sidewalks and driveways. “No-flat” tires enhance the unit’s overall durability.

In our tests, the Brinly-Hardy lawn aerator proved to be a top contender for routine maintenance applications. It was also the lowest-priced tow-behind plug aerator we tested. In average conditions with 120 pounds of weight added, it penetrated to an average of 2.75 inches deep. The steel coring spikes are strong but not sharpened, and they are rolled to a “C” shape instead of a complete circular plug shape, which helps with cleanout but might hinder penetration somewhat. Because this aerator punches only 2.5 plugs per square foot, we had to make two or three passes with it for the best results.

Product Specs

  • All-steel design
  • Weight tray can support up to 150 pounds
  • Universal hitch
  • Durable flat-free wheels
  • Assembly required (about 1.5 hours)
  • Low number of spikes per square foot
  • Cannot operate the transport lever from the driver’s seat

Get the Brinly-Hardy lawn aerator at The Home Depot or Walmart.

Corona YardBreather Aerator

Those with only a small patch of yard to aerate might want to consider an inexpensive, easy-to-store handheld aerator like the Corona YardBreather. The YardBreather measures 40 inches high, with plugging spikes spaced 8 inches apart, and it weighs a little more than 3.5 pounds.

This rugged tool removes two 3.5-inch soil plugs at a time with a simple stepping motion. The tool ejects soil plugs from the top of the hollow spikes with each step. The footplate and plugging spikes are made of heat-treated steel for a long working life. Thick padded handles and a wide nonslip footplate eliminate stress points and reduce user fatigue.

With a little practice, we were able to remove an average of 100 plugs per minute with the YardBreather. It worked more effectively in heavily compacted and dry soils than any of the tow-behind aerators we tested because the user’s entire weight bears down on just two spikes instead of six or eight spikes at a time. In average soil conditions, the spikes consistently penetrated to the full depth of 3.5 inches. Although it is not an ideal solution for even the smallest whole-yard treatment, this tool would make an excellent purchase for those who regularly deal with pet paths around the property border or a worn pathway from the house to the toolshed.

Product Specs

  • Comfortable grip
  • Broad, slip-resistant step
  • Sharp edges for easy plugging
  • Easy to store

Get the Corona lawn aerator at Lowe’s or Tractor Supply Co.

John Deere 48-Inch Tow-Behind Plug Aerator

John Deere’s 48-inch aerator makes quick work of aerating the lawn. It boasts 12 four-way plug assemblies on the spool for a total of 48 spikes pulling 4.24 plugs per square foot. The heavy-duty body weighs in at 101 pounds and holds up to 250 pounds of additional weight for a total of about 350 pounds of downward pressure. The heat-treated plugging spoons penetrate up to 3 inches. The universal drop-pin towing hitch is compatible with most lawn tractors and riding mowers. Unlike the other towable aerators in our lineup, this one rolls gently on pneumatic tires while in transport mode.

The John Deere tow-behind plug aerator may be priced a bit higher than the other models we tested, but as they say, you get what you pay for. This one is a major upgrade. In a side-by-side comparison with the similarly sized Agri-Fab 48-inch tow-behind plug aerator, John Deere stood out immediately in terms of both material quality and overall design. The John Deere weighs 9 pounds more than the Agri-Fab model (101 vs. 92 pounds), and it can hold 250 pounds of added weight compared to 140 pounds for Agri-Fab. Not only that, but with 4.24 plugs per square foot, the John Deere works about 50 percent more efficiently.

With 120 pounds of added weight, this aerator penetrated the soil an average of 2.5 inches. It continued to penetrate well even while making 180-degree end turns. We especially liked that this model rides on inflated tires that distribute the weight better on soft ground instead of causing ruts as hard wheels do. If we could have operated the transport lever from the driver’s seat, this would have been a nearly perfect implement. This aerator’s size and heavy-duty build make it an ideal choice for larger properties with lots of open lawn space.

Product Specs

  • Closely spaced coring spikes
  • Penetrates up to 3 inches
  • Pneumatic tires
  • Top-quality construction
  • Cannot operate the travel lever from the driver’s seat
  • May be too large for some lawn tractors

Get the John Deere lawn aerator at The Home Depot, Green Part Store, or The Build Club.

Yard Butler Manual Lawn Coring Aerator

DIY lawn-care experts know the value of a quality manual aerator. Whether it’s for a small yard or tight grass pathways, the Yard Butler manual lawn coring aerator is up to the task. With a durable all-steel one-piece construction, it’s strong enough to sink the 3.5-inch tines into tough, compacted soil while the wide footplate provides plenty of leverage.

The Yard Butler measures 37 inches high, so users can maintain a comfortable posture while they work. At just over 3.5 pounds, it’s also easy to lift with the padded T-shaped handles.

While both are capable tools with nearly identical designs that easily remove two 3.5-inch soil plugs at a time, Yard Butler surpassed the YardBreather in a couple of key testing metrics. Their weights are nearly identical, at just over 3.5 pounds, but the Yard Butler is more compact: It is 0.25 inch thinner, 3.5 inches shorter, and the spikes are spaced 0.5 inch closer together.

The shorter height made the Yard Butler easier to pull out of the soil when we were working with it, while the narrow spike spacing increased overall plug density for more thorough aeration. Interestingly, even with the 0.5-inch reduction in spike spacing, Yard Butler’s footplate is just 0.25 inch narrower than the competition (4.75 inches vs. 5 inches), so those of us with big feet could still use it. Although the competition offered a more comfortable handle and nonslip footplate, we preferred the sleek dimensions of the Yard Butler for both working comfort and storage.

Product Specs

Get the Yard Butler lawn aerator on Amazon or at Walmart.

Agri-Fab 48-Inch Plug Aerator

For large yards or those with extremely compacted soil, a heavy-duty aerator like this model from Agri-Fab might be the best bet. The 48-inch-wide path on this tow-behind plug aerator makes quicker work of expansive lawns. Heavy-gauge galvanized steel knives with 32 spikes get the job done.

A 175-pound weight tray pulls enough weight for some of the most stubborn soil. A pair of 9.75-inch flat-free tires supports travel over rough terrain, and a transportation lever lifts the knives clear of sidewalks and driveways. The universal hitch fits ATVs, UTVs, and lawn tractors as well.

In our tests, the Agri-Fab 48-inch tow-behind plug aerator delivered stronger, more efficient penetration than the smaller Brinly-Hardy model, thanks to its heavier build and relatively low density of sharpened plugging spikes. Fewer spikes meant that each one bore more downward pressure, and the heavier frame produced more pressure than the lighter model. The spikes penetrated to an average depth of about 2.5 inches.

However, punching only 2.67 plugs per square foot, we had to make two passes for thorough results. Like the other tow-behind aerators we tested, the rolled steel spikes were “C” shaped, not completely round, which meant that most soil plugs were not fully extracted from the ground. But cleanup was easy since very few plugs stuck inside the coring spikes. The Agri-Fab lawn aerator makes an affordable choice for maintaining larger properties.

Product Specs

  • Control the travel lever from the driver’s seat
  • Ideal for large yards
  • 9.75-inch flat-free tires
  • Universal hitch

Get the Agri-Fab lawn aerator at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Ryan Lawnaire IV Aerator

When professional groundskeepers and landscapers perform lawn aeration services, Ryan aerators are commonly the machines of choice. The self-propelled Lawnaire IV walk-behind aerator covers a 19-inch-wide path with 5.63 coring spikes per square foot. A single pass with this machine is equivalent to two or more passes with most tow-behind units.

Traveling at speeds of up to 4 miles per hour, it aerates up to 0.67 acres (29,000 square feet) per hour. With two removable 25-pound weight cylinders and a fillable water drum, this aerator provides a maximum of 304 pounds of downward pressure to penetrate up to 3.5 inches despite the 2.75-inch spike length.

In our tests, the Ryan Lawnaire IV easily outperformed the rest of our lineup in terms of pure results, with the possible exception of the John Deere on flat straightaways. John Deere covered ground faster, but Lawnaire IV penetrated deeper with greater spike density. The Honda engine started with a single pull. The controls were well-placed and easy to operate. The machine moved quickly, aerated thoroughly, and was surprisingly easy to maneuver around curves and across moderate slopes.

We were easily able to maneuver the machine along a narrow grass corridor between two landscape beds where the lawn tractor could not drive, and this self-propelled machine had no difficulty moving up one short but particularly steep slope where the lawn tractor bogged down pulling the heavily weighted tow-behind models.

The coring spikes consistently penetrated 2.75 inches into the soil with only the cylinder weights installed. Although most homeowners won’t spend this much to buy a professional-grade machine, renting one could be a great option. It is amazingly effective at fast, thorough aeration and may be one of the best tools to prepare a lawn for overseeding.

Product Specs

  • Spike length: 2.75 inches
  • Spikes per square foot: 5.63
  • Weight tray included: Removable weights and a water weight included
  • Self-propelled up to 4 mph
  • Closely spaced coring spikes
  • Easily navigates curves, slopes, and narrow corridors
  • Fast, professional results

Get the Ryan lawn aerator on Mowers at Jack’s.

Covington Liquid Aerator

Before we dive into this one, it is important to note that we could find no scientific data on the efficacy of liquid lawn aerators. Internet search volume indicates increasing consumer interest in these products, so we decided to test the Covington Liquid Aerator because of its strong customer reviews and our own curiosity.

The concentrated product contains low levels of manganese, sulfur, iron, and amino acid complexes to support plant growth along with microorganisms (20 percent), molasses (10 percent), humate (10 percent), and kelp (5 percent). Users are instructed to apply 2, 4, or 8 ounces of the product, depending on the severity of soil compaction, for every 1,000 square feet of lawn, every 45 to 60 days. The company recommends deep watering every 3 to 4 days following application. Presumably, the microorganisms (the “active ingredient”) include soil-building bacteria, but the label provides no further details.

We applied Covington Liquid Aerator on a 500-square-foot compacted pathway area as directed for moderate compaction. We also left an adjacent area untreated and watered both areas according to the prescribed follow-up schedule. After a 30-day testing period, our results were inconclusive. The area looked great, but then it didn’t look horrible before. It was difficult to parse the effects of the plant food versus any actual improvement in soil compaction, which would likely require significantly more time to develop anyway.

We found no noticeable difference in the physical appearance of either area beyond the lush green grass, which we would have anticipated from the added water. The good news is that it didn’t harm the lawn, and we did see improvement to grass health.

Product Specs

  • Contains plant food supplements
  • Contains beneficial soil microbes
  • Ingredients support healthy soil

Get the Covington liquid lawn aerator on Amazon or Covington Naturals.


We also tested the following products, but they did not meet our criteria.

The positive effects of spike aerating are short-lived—a month or so at best—but frequent spike aerating actually compresses the soil over time. So we are generally opposed to spike aerating on the principle that this equipment often causes more harm than good. The argument in favor of spike aerators is that they do not leave unsightly soil plugs lying on the grass.

For those who prefer spike aerating, this may not be the best tool for the job. While the frame is adequately constructed to carry 100 pounds of added weight, we found the 7-pointed star-shaped spike rollers lacking. They are made of thin galvanized steel, approximately 0.06-inch thick, and only penetrate to a maximum depth of 2 inches at the apex of each point. Because of the triangular blade shape, very little soil is disturbed below a typical 0.5-inch thatch layer. A better spike aerator design would use nail-shaped spikes that penetrate at least 3 inches.

To reiterate, spike aerating is less than ideal because the benefits are short-term and because they can exacerbate soil compaction. But some gardeners prefer to use spike aerators to avoid leaving unsightly soil plugs on the yard from plug aeration.

These aerator shoes seemed like a handy design, but the effect was negligible at best. They fit size 10 (men’s shoes, not work boots) or smaller, and even then the strap system was not secure on our tester’s feet. The spikes sometimes grabbed chunks of grass and tore them out of the lawn. It was difficult at times to stay balanced while wearing them. Also, the nail-shaped spikes are only 2 inches long. Even if the soil is soft enough for them to penetrate to the maximum depth, they hardly reach to the base of the root zone. If these work on a particular lawn, then it probably doesn’t need to be aerated.

Our Verdict

For pulling behind a lawn mower or tractor, the Brinly-Hardy lawn aerator is the best overall. Although it requires two passes for thorough aeration, it is lightweight, maneuverable, and does not require much weight for deep penetration. Those looking for a manual solution for small yards should consider the Yard Butler lawn aerator. It’s compact, easy to use, and tucks away in minimal space when not in use.

How We Tested the Best Lawn Aerators

Our lawn aerator tests consisted of 2 days of product assembly, application, measurement, and observation. We marked out 5,000 square feet of lawn for each of the tow-behind and walk-behind models. For the shoes and handheld models, we marked out 100-square-foot test plots. The liquid lawn aerator required an A/B test of two identical 500-square-foot plots to compare the treated area with a nontreated area, with a monthlong care and observation period.

After assembly, we calculated the number of spikes per square foot for every model by dividing the area covered with one full turn of the reel assembly (width times circumference in inches, divided by 144) by the total number of aerating spikes. Aerators with fewer spikes per square foot penetrated deeper with less weight but required more passes for equal effect. Conversely, models with a higher number of spikes per square foot required more weight for equal penetration, but aerated thoroughly in a single pass.

We prepared the lawn for the aerator tests by mowing a notch lower than the normal maintenance height, then watered deeply to promote deep spike penetration. After 24 hours, we tested each aerator, adding a moderate amount of weight to the tow-behind models. After aerating, we randomly collected 50 extracted plugs from each plug aerator to calculate their average penetration depths. Our favorite models were plug aerators that penetrated at least 2.5 inches on average, and pulled at least 2.25 plugs per square foot.

The Benefits of Aerating Your Lawn

Aeration can bring big benefits to lawns where:

  • Pets tend to relieve themselves in the same spot.
  • Thatch is thick and keeps water from absorbing into the soil.
  • Soil can’t soak up water after heavy rains.

By loosening the dirt around pets’ go-to spots, the grass will get the nutrients, air, and water it needs to fight back against pet urine. The tines or spikes on an aerator dig through thatch and help it break down more quickly.

Plug aerators create air s and loosen the dirt around the hole. This allows water to drain quickly and efficiently instead of forming puddles after heavy rains.


The following section aims to answer any remaining questions you may have about the best lawn aerator. Look for the answers to your questions below.

Q. Which is better: spike or plug aerators?

Ultimately, plug aeration is better than spike lawn aeration as it physically removes mass from the yard instead of merely poking into it. Repeated spike aeration may lead to more soil compaction over time.

Q. What is the best month to aerate my lawn?

The best month to aerate your lawn depends on the climate and grass type. The first month of spring weather is best for warm-season grasses and for lawns in cool climates. It’s also helpful to aerate in the fall before overseeding a cool-season lawn.

Q. Is it best to aerate the lawn before seeding?

Yes, aerating allows seeds to penetrate the surface for the best possible germination.

Q. How deep should I aerate the lawn?

For the best results, it is important to aerate deeply into the grass root zone. A depth of 3 to 3.5 inches is more than sufficient in most cases.

Q. Should I mow before or after aeration?

Mowing a notch lower than normal a day or so before aerating helps to ensure the best spike penetration. Mowing after using a plug aerator can help bust up the clumps left behind.

Q. How often should I re-aerate my lawn?

Once a year is usually sufficient, but any time the lawn is more compact than usual is a good time to poke a few holes.

Tow Behind Aerator: Advantages Options

lawn, aerator, pull

As aerating turf becomes more and more recognized as a necessary part of turf or grass maintenance, every grounds crew and landscaping company is going to be looking for a piece of equipment to invest in. There are two primary options right now: a tow behind aerator and a walk behind aerator. Similar names, similar uses — but VERY different ways of getting the job done. A tow behind unit (also called a pull behind aerator) must be towed by a lawn tractor but offers an unbeatable range of benefits. However, a self-propelled, walk behind unit has the engine included with the aerator and is more like a snow blower.

At TurfTime Equipment, we build a wide range of ground maintenance equipment that professionals trust to work hard and efficiently. See what makes our tow behind aerators the smartest choice for almost all professionals. If you’re ready to start pricing our units, please send us a message or call today!

Pull Behind Aerators vs Walk Behind Aerators

lawn, aerator, pull

Aerating gives a lawn added water, nutrients, and air — all of which make it more resilient and look extra lush. Experts agree that without aerating at least twice a year, you can’t achieve these results. For any serious crew that needs to cover a large amount of space, a powered aerator is a necessity. While there are pros and cons of each, pull behind aerators are the right choice for most professionals — see the advantages right here:

You’re comparing the engine on your trusty lawn tractor against the built-in gas or electric engine of a walk behind aerator. Your tractor will be faster by a long shot, and that will pay you back in the time it takes to perform this essential turf maintenance task. It’s like comparing a top of the line zero turn mower with a self-propelled push mower — there’s no comparison!

Not only do we know that a pull behind aerator is backed by the engine on your tractor, but the efficiency doesn’t stop there. One of our tow behind units tends to be at least twice as wide with twice as many spoons or tines as your average walk behind unit. This means that our pull behind aerator makes the job go twice as fast as the competition (walk behind aerators). Because you’re letting the tractor do all the work, you reap the rewards when it comes to efficiency.

This question is more complicated than you might think. Our entry-level aerator costs around 1,155 — and costs far less than a basic self-propelled aerator. Even our more expensive options meant for huge fields are comparable in price, if not slightly less than most other commercial aerators. However, the difference is that you need a lawn tractor in order to be able to use a pull behind aerator. For most professionals that’s not an issue, though, as they already have at least one in their equipment fleet.

Not only does the tow behind aerator save you about half the time, but it makes the minutes and hours using it easier, too. All you need to do is drive the tractor up and down your field or grounds and our machine handles most of the work. While a professional walk behind aerator is self-propelled, you’re still expending a lot of effort and breaking a serious sweat.

It’s only fair to include the primary advantage of a walk behind aerator — it is a fully self-sufficient machine. This actually makes it more popular with homeowners than most commercial landscapers or groundskeepers, though, since a quality tractor is almost always on hand.

Ready to invest in a tow behind unit? start around 1,155!

The TurfTime Difference

While our equipment may be used on some of the largest professional sports fields, we’re a fairly small company that still believes in doing things the right way. For example, if you want to ask questions or place an order, simply call our headquarters. You won’t have to wait on hold, and you won’t have to navigate through a call center — you’ll talk to someone knowledgeable.

Plus, all of our units are built in the United States, which means a higher-durability product. This is why we confidently say that the frames of our aerators will last a lifetime, while other brand name options may fall apart after a few years.

Get on a Tow Behind Aerator

If you’re looking to make aerating a part of your turf maintenance services, this is the key to making it efficient. The first step is to reach out to our team to get answers and on the tow behind aerator you want.

We encourage you to reach out to ask questions and to get your price quotes!

Why, When and How to Aerate Your Lawn

lawn, aerator, pull

Simple, regular maintenance tasks go a long way in creating a thicker, healthier lawn. But jobs typically reserved for once a year can play a significant role in supporting smaller steps taken across the months. For many homeowners, aerating lawns to relieve soil compaction and enhance grass growth is a regular annual task. Almost any lawn can benefit from aeration when it’s timed well and done properly.

Why Aerating Helps Lawns

Grass roots need air, water and nutrients to grow thick, deep and strong. When soil becomes compacted, even slightly, it inhibit the flow of the essentials that support thicker, healthier turf growth. A layer of compacted soil just 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick can make a significant difference in the health and beauty of your lawn.1 Aeration creates holes down into the soil to alleviate compaction so air, water and nutrients can reach grass roots.

Deprived of their basic needs by compacted soil, lawn grasses struggle in stressful situations, such as heat and low rainfall, and lose their healthy, rich color. Grasses gradually thin and eventually die out completely, for lack of the oxygen, water and nutrients available just inches away. Even a single aeration session can open the avenue for these essentials to reach their mark and put your lawn back on an upward trend.

lawn, aerator, pull

Core aerators pull small plugs of soil to the surface.

When Lawns Need Aeration

It may not seem your lawn could get compacted, but it happens easier than you may think. Vehicles or small equipment driven on lawns are more obvious offenders, but even outdoor entertaining or yard play by kids and pets can leave all or part of your lawn compacted. If you live where heavy clay soil is the norm, annual aeration is probably needed to keep your lawn from becoming thin and weak.

Dethatching and aerating are two different tasks, but they often go hand in hand. Thatch is the layer of decomposing organic matter that forms right at the lawn surface, between soil and grass. When thatch gets more than 1/2 inch thick, it works like compaction to prevent the flow of air, water and nutrients grasses need. Aggressive spreading grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass in northern lawns and Bermudagrass down south, form more thatch than many other grass types. Aeration helps penetrate and reduce thatch buildup or prep it for removal through dethatching.

If your grass often looks stressed and your soil is hard to the touch or rainwater puddles up where it used to be absorbed, you may have compaction problems. Confirm your suspicions with a simple “screwdriver test.” Take a regular screwdriver and stick it into your lawn’s soil by hand. It should slide in fairly easily. If you meet resistance, your soil is compacted, and aeration can help.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

As with most larger lawn projects, such as planting grass seed, it’s best to aerate during or right before the time your grasses reach their peak time for natural growth. Aeration is good for lawns, but it can stress grass if timed improperly. Never aerate dormant lawns.

For cool-season grasses common in northern lawns, early fall or early spring are the best times for aerating. For warm-season grasses common to southern lawns, the best time for aerating is late spring or very early summer. When aeration coincides with active growth, grasses recover quickly and fill in areas where aerator equipment exposes soil.

Aerating is easiest on you (or your equipment operator) and your lawn when your soil is moist from irrigation or rainfall the day before. Overly dry soil can be tough to aerate, so moisture eases the process. Never aerate overly wet lawns; wait a few days instead.

lawn, aerator, pull

Slicing aerators slice through lawns and leave soil in place.

How to Aerate Your Lawn

Aerating equipment comes in three main types, from small manual versions to larger tractor-like or pull-behind machinery:

  • Spike aerators simply poke a hole down into the soil with a solid, spike-like tine. Some homeowners wear spiked aerator “sandals” strapped to their shoes to aerate as they do yard work. While these can help on a small scale, spike machines can make compaction worse by pressing soil together around the holes. 1
  • Slicing aerators have rotating blades that cut or slice through grass and thatch and down into soil. Like spike aerators, slicing aerators leave soil in the ground, but they create pathways for air, water and nutrients without causing more compaction.
  • Core or plug aerators, typically preferred by lawn professionals, use rows of hollow tines that remove plugs of soil from your lawn and deposit them on top, where they break down. The size of the plugs and the holes they create vary in width and depth, depending on the machine used.

You can hire a lawn service to aerate for you or do it yourself like a pro. Equipment rental companies and lawn and garden stores often rent aerator machines and provide basic operating instructions for the model you choose. Aerating is a lot like mowing as you work back and forth across your lawn. Concentrate on any known problem areas, like pet runs or backyard baseball diamonds. Make several passes in different directions to help ensure optimal coverage and benefits.

lawn, aerator, pull

What to Do After Aeration

After you finish aerating your lawn, let soil plugs or extra soil dry where they fall. They’ll break down in rain or crumble the next time you mow, adding beneficial soil and organic matter to your lawn surface.

Right after aeration is a perfect time to overseed with premium Pennington Smart Seed and fertilize your lawn or do simple lawn repairs. Seeds and nutrients have direct contact with soil through the openings your aerator created and roots have fresh pathways for the things they need. The combination can help put your lawn on the fast track for quick seed establishment and thicker, lusher growth.

By adding aeration to your annual task list or doing regular compaction tests to check for need, you help ensure your lawn can reach its full potential for thickness, health and beauty. Pennington is committed to providing you with the finest in grass seed and lawn care products to help you achieve your lawn goals.

Pennington and Smart Seed are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.

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