does anyone have any cheap ideas for aerating a lawn.... some home made solutions rather than buying some device to poke holes in the soil??? Thanks in advance
I've heard of people using hand aerators and even golf shoes to poke holes in the lawn. Find that it's far easier and pretty cheap to rent the equipment with a neighbor. Besides, you are not just poking holes in the soil-aerators remove about a 2" or more plug of soil-not create a thin, shallow compacted hole. Many people who need to aerate have lots of thatch and/or very poor, hard, compacted soil already. Doubt that golf shoes/hand aerators are going to make a difference at all.
I agree, the most efficient way to aerate is to either rent the machine, or pay a service to do it for you. Removing the core plugs and leaving them on the soil surface allows better water/nutrient/oxygen transfer to the roots.
Some folks would follow up a core aeration with a compost treatment. The idea is that the compost settles into the holes and conditions the soil resulting is less compacted soil later on.
You might ask your question in the lawn care forum as well for more specific suggestions.
In short I don't see that core aeration necessarily lends itself well to being frugal. It costs a little bit of cash to get the best results.
Thanks for your suggestions =)
I'll tell you tho about the machine....they go like a bat outta H#!! and since I'm a small and lightweight person the machine took off across the yard with me in tow. Barely got the darn thing shut off before having a serious encounter with a BIG ponderosa pine, LOL!!! the neighbor almost peed his pants laughing at me, but did offer help. They self propel so even tho they are pretty easy to use, you definately have to have some strength behind you.
I am a new gardner but saw these spiky sandal like thingies that you can strap around shoes and walk in the garden for $13 at skymall (the magazine they give when you fly) they may have a website.
The spiky sandal things don't work unless you have like a men's size 12 shoe. They don't stay on!
Thanks for letting us know that. I was about to order one soon.
The first time my husband rented a core aerator, at my insistence, I said while finishing Saturday morning pancakes " Go ahead and hook it up to the back of the mower and I'll be right out" Yeah! For four straight hours we took turns with that thing and boy, did my arms ache the next day!
weetflowers, it IS too bad that these enterprising people neglected to think that SMALLER people work the garden ,too.We don't have feet the size of Frankenstein. And they are not an expensively made item, re. materials, so how much more could the cost be? AND,just think how many more would they would sell if a little more foresight and common sense had been applied to their product. Those plastic straps are flimsy, don't stay fastened, and come no where near securing a normal foot!So, the platform slides around leaving one stuck in the grass, but on your ankle. They can be tremendously hazardous, also. I got stuck in the ground and slid out of the shoe onto my feet and got a badly sprained toe.So be careful. I lucked out by having a very tall, big friend who loved to sit and think while visiting my garden. He loved walking around on the grass; so (you guessed it!) whenever he comes over I ask him if he wants to "put on his high-heeled shoes and take a walk on the lawn." He gets a kick out it!
About 2 years ago I bought a "Hound Dog" aerator at Lowes. It works great! Yes, there is manual labor involved, but for the size lawn I have, it takes no more that 30-60 minutes. Even easier if you have a teenager! It cost less than $15, and about the size of a small shovel. Since I got it, I have been able to areate in spring and fall, which my red clay soil needs. Suz
You are right! "Those plastic straps are flimsy, don't stay fastened, and come no where near securing a normal foot!So, the platform slides around leaving one stuck in the grass, but on your ankle. They can be tremendously hazardous, also. I got stuck in the ground and slid out of the shoe onto my feet and got a badly sprained toe.So be careful." I bought a pair of those aerator shoes 10 yrs ago, and they are useless, a complete waste of money.
Thanks for the tip about the Hound Dog Turf Aerator, Mandy and Yeow - we just had a new Lowe's open up, and I'll be sure to check it out.
Found this during my search (the cost is considerably more than $15 Mandy found):
Read Review of Hound Dog Turf Hound
Review Summary About the Author
Let Me Put In a Plug~For Removing Those Plugs!
May 16 '00 (Updated May 16 '00)
Author's Product Rating
Ease of Use:
Sturdy, rust proof plug removers
The Turf Houndog Plug Remover, removes 4 inch plugs of grass and dirt from your lawn easily and effectively. Many people neglect this part of lawn care or are unaware of its benefits!
For those of you who do not know why you would want to remove plugs of dirt from your lawn, here is the reason: After a long winter of rain and cold weather lawn grasses need to get air to their roots. This makes room for grass roots to grow thicker and healthier. It also makes it easier for water, air and fertilizer to reach the roots. This process loosens soil that gets compacted from constant impact and it also helps break down thatch. Aerating by removing plugs of soil and grass is a must for a lawn to look great all summer and fall.
The Hound Dog Plug Remover is easy to use. It has a a u-shaped handle which makes it easy on the hands. There is a wide stepping area so that you can use your body weight to push the 4 plugging tubes into the ground. The plug removers are 4 inches long and sharp on the ends. They are made of rust proof steel. This is important because if any rust develops on the plug removers it creates a drag that makes it much more difficult to push into the earth and then pull out again.
I weigh only 115 pounds and I was able to do half of our 500 square foot yard at a time. I usually need a rest and then can do the rest of the lawn. It makes it much easier if you aerate your yard right after a big spring rain or water your yard deeply. A plus about this aerator is that it is made of a durable lightweight metal, because it would get really difficult pulling the aerator out of the ground if it were heavy. I lift weights at a gym and I use this as part of my daily work out twice a year.
I bought my Hound Dog Aerator at Home Depot, but I have seen them at Ace Hardware and True Value. It cost me around 25.00 dollars. This lawn tool is only used twice a year so it might be a tool you can share with a neighbor or family that lives nearby.
Aerating your lawn is the secret to having golf course beautiful lawns. Make your neighbors envious, aerate your lawn with the Hound Dog! Or share your aerator with them and make your street the greenest!
Here is a link that might be useful: www.epinions.com
I've used the Hound Dog aerator for several years, but have recently stopped using it when I got the Weed Hound. (Same company, I think). Pulls up dandelions by essentially taking a core out of that spot. Since I have so many dandelions every year, I figure my lawn gets pretty well aerated in the process.
The spikey sandals compact the soil, they don't aerate. You can only achieve the benefits of aeration if soil plugs are physically removed from the soil system, not squashed down by little spikes. This, by the way, is the reason that the better golf courses do not allow spiked golf shoes anymore.
"You can only achieve the benefits of aeration if soil plugs are physically removed from the soil system, not squashed down by little spikes. "
Perhaps, rhizo, but I have had success, in small areas of heavy foot traffic, by poking long metal cooking skewers into the soil. They go down very deep, and though no plugs of soil are removed, I guess the hole goes way deeper than the grass roots, because it always works...after a few waterings or rainstorms, the grass comes back nicely.
However, this would be back-breaking work for larger areas. I mainly use it for the grass immediately adjacent to steps, where heavy foot traffic compacts the soil.
Of course those with large lawns might get a little tired of the poke, twist, empty ritual.
I don't have a lawn at all, but I think I'm going to use the apple corer on some of my more compacted pots. Some other things than lawns need aeration.
So no one has tried liquid aeration ?
A good way to do this on the cheap would be to use something like a pair of lawn aeration shoes. For $15 or so you can pick them up and just wear them whilst mowing once a month. They should break up any compacted soil quite well over time and because the spikes are a lot longer than golf shoes (2" if I remember correctly) they should penetrate any layer of thatch!
Hope this helps and happy lawn smithing.
I recently purchased a manual lawn aerator called EZ CORE. It works like a charm! Before I bought it, I read a lot of reviews online and realized clogging is a major issue with Yard Butler or Hound Dog. Since EZ CORE claims it's clog free, I gave it a try. I didn't have any clog issue at all. Really happy with it.
haha, while back i used the cheapest lawn aerator ever. it was a 10ft length of electrical conduit. i would walk around while partaking in a favorite beverage and just jam in the lawn. once it got full of soil and such, id throw it around the street a few times to get it all out. neighbors got a kick out of it.
Get with your neighbors and/or friends and share the cost of renting one.
I think the cost to rent was about $80. Five of us split the cost. Four of us put up $20 and the 5th person got it for "free" provided he would take the time to go pick it up and return it. Win-win.
Rental is a viable solution if you can get five families to share the cost. I also heard aeration should be done at least twice a year.