Regular aeration is essential for maintaining healthy, vigorous turf growth. Improved surface drainage, an increase in desirable grasses and the breakdown of thatch are just some of the benefits.
Aeration is carried out using a powered machines or hand tools, known as a lawn aerators. Aerators range from a basic garden fork to specialist machinery.
There are also a variety of different tines that can be used for lawn aeration. The most common are solid (spiking), slit (slitting) and hollow tines (coring). Although they are all used to aerate, they each have their own benefits.
Basic lawn aerators will carry out just a single type of aeration, e.g. spiking or slitting, however on some of the more advanced aerators, the tines are interchangeable.
Types of lawn aerators
- Garden fork: The simplest and one of the most effective forms of lawn aerator is the humble garden fork. The only down side is, it is extremely time consuming to aerate all but the smallest areas. The great thing about a garden fork is you can choose what depth to aerate, concentrate on compacted areas and of course they are very cheap.
- Hollow tine fork: Used the same way as the previous method, but this implement physically removes cores or plugs from the lawn. Again it is very effective and does a great job when used properly, but is extremely time consuming. Luckily is is not done on a regular basis.
- Rolling lawn aerator: A hand pushed spiker that consists of a series of spikes fixed to a drum. It is simply pushed up and down the lawn. As the spikes are well spaced out, two or three passes can be done for maximum effect. These aerators are lightly constructed and for that reason care must be taken, or damage may occur. Avoid using them if the lawn is very dry.
- Sarrel roller: These are similar to rolling aerators, however they are quite heavy and well built for durability. Although the spikes are only about 13mm long, there are many of them. Sarrel rollers are very useful in the summer, as they just open the surface enough to aid irrigation. The main drawback is they can be quite costly, however they can quickly cover a large area, making it suitable for larger areas. They can be hand pushed or alternatively, pulled with a suitable machine.
- Star slitters: Very similar to sarrel rollers, except these implements have shallow pointed slit tines instead of spikes. Again very useful in the summer to open up the surface for moisture. The can either be hand pushed or pulled across the lawn using a ride on mower or similar machine. Pulled machines can be quite expensive.
- Petrol powered aerators: These lawn aerators are designed to cover large areas in a minimal amount of time. There are two main types, drum (the tines are fixed or mounted on the drum) and punch action (the tines are punched into the turf). Both types are expensive, punch action more so. In most cases hiring is the best option. Powered aerators are available with a wide range of different tines.