While almost everyone utilizes walk-behind aerators for small properties, they’re a nuisance to use if you have a yard that’s an acre (or greater) to aerate.
Not only does it take longer to do the job, but walk behinds can also give you a good workout, and you can feel like you’ve just finished a brutal wrestling battle when you’re done!
How well do pull behind aerators work
A pull behind aerator can be a terrific option if you have the right equipment to tow the implement—it cuts down on work time and protects you from physical wear and tear.
Most importantly, these machines can carry heavier weights, allowing you to use as much as you want for deeper penetration in extremely compacted soils.
While all of these advantages seem great, how effective are pull behind aerators? And how effective are pull-behind aerators?
Here’s how it works.
Spike aerator vs. plug aerator are the two options.
When it comes to tow behinds, most homeowners are aware that, similar to walk behinds, you must choose between a plug and a spike aerator.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Spike aerators use spiky stars (or blades) to perforate the surface and thatch layer of your grass, loosening compacted soils and allowing your lawn to breathe.
Plug aerators, on the other hand, come with hollow plugging spoons that slice into the ground and literally draw out little “plugs” of dirt (often 2-3″).
As the aerator continues to move, the plugs are deposited on the surface of your lawn. The holes it creates encourage root growth, resulting in lawns that are the greenest, thickest, and healthiest in the community.
To cut to the chase, if your yard is weakly to moderately compacted, hire or purchase a tow behind spike aerator—poking holes into the earth usually helps relieve slight compaction.
For heavy clay or heavily compacted soils, plug or core aerators are the best option (but cost a lot more).
That’s because, even in the hardest conditions, removing cores of dirt and thatch creates a path through which essentials like oxygen and nutrients may reach the root system.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business: how well do pull behind aerators work, and are they really worth the money?
How effective are pull behind aerators?
The quick answer is that they function flawlessly and can significantly improve aeration in lawns that are in desperate need of it.
In fact, whether you choose a tow-behind plug or a spike aerator, these aeration tools are the most effective for large lawns, athletic fields, and other large areas with compaction difficulties.
First, because they contain more weight, they pierce deeper into the soil, allowing nutrients and water to circulate and restoring your yard to a grass-friendly environment.
Because of the longer, stronger core tines, certain core aerators can aerate up to 4-inches deep (experts consider a depth of 3” acceptable).
Plus, for the most part, today’s designs are rather advanced and custom-engineered to ensure that no area is left unaerated.
The spikes in this Tow Behind Spike Aerator, for example, rotate separately and continue to rotate as you turn. This means fewer regions will be overlooked, and you won’t have to make as many passes.
Most current tow behind plug aerators are constructed similarly and can consistently penetrate challenging soil conditions without missing a beat.
Second, the larger swath provided by these rear-mounted attachments will allow you to complete the task much faster than with walk behinds (they’re designed for small to mid-sized properties).
On the other hand, the width may make it more difficult to make sharp turns, which some owners find inconvenient.
The good news is that the majority of the best models have swivel caster heads, which allow it to turn more smoothly when aerating uneven terrain.
Because the tines rotate independently, it can turn tight corners without ripping up your lawn (as typical drum-style aerators do).
To put things in perspective, most walk behind drum aerators are designed to be operated in a predefined pattern on the yard—you travel back and forth—and are difficult to turn in the ground.
To avoid injuring the turf, you must remove the tines from the grass (using the handle).
In short, if you have a large yard, a sports field, or other large, high-traffic areas that need aeration, a tow–behind core aerator is definitely suitable for you.
A word on core plug aerators with spring assist
Consider a spring assisted core plug aerator if your budget allows and you want professional results.
For major aerating projects, it is far more successful than ordinary pull-behind aerators since it is friendlier on the lawn.
The secret is the spring-assisted tines, which articulate readily to generate more defined ‘holes’ due to the thrust the springs inject.
As a result, even on extremely hard, dry soils, the plugger consistently pulls out immaculate complete plugs.
This thorough aeration improves soil drainage and helps lawn nutrients to penetrate quickly into the roots.
Tow-behind aerators are the way to go for large yards in general; they perform well (as you’ve seen) and are the most time-saving aeration instruments.
A tow behind core aerator, as previously said, is better for heavily compacted soils, whilst a spike aerator should suffice for light to moderate compaction.
If you’re looking for a plug aerator, seek for one with individually interchangeable plugging spoons so that replacement is simple and inexpensive.
Choose an aerator with a hitch pin that readily attaches to your garden tractor or lawnmower, regardless of the type.
Last but not least, choose an aerator with the capacity to add more weight for the greatest outcomes.