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Forums > Active Threads > Home and Garden > Garden and Landscape

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Lawn Aeration

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2007-01-07          138527


I am searching for the most economical way to aerate my lawn. I have borrowed my neighbors sears core aerator and towed behind my gravely lawn tractor but it really didn't sink into the ground at all, in my opinion, even with cinder block weights and damp ground. I am thinking about the swisher drum style spike aerator that northern tools sells, we are talking $275 + $85 shipping which I think would work.

But I also have an old troy bilt rototiller which you would think you might be able to do something with. You would think with all the equipment and attachments I have and the JD 4310 (rockrake) I might be able to do something with them without buying something new. All I want to do is to rough up and crack open the ground without destroying the grass all together. Any ideas on modifications to equisting equipment to do this?

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Lawn Aeration

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-01-08          138533


ncrunch,
A disk with blades set straight is possible. If you have a blade with teeth, possible narrower teeth than normal. ....

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Lawn Aeration

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Blueman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 243 Washington, PA
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2007-01-08          138547


I guess I will disagree with the disk for one reason; you are not removing any of the compacted soil, just pushing it into "tight rows". A good core aerator will remove compacted soil, allowing air, water and nutrients to the lawn's roots. But unless any type of organic material is introduced into the soil, it will "compact" again in time. ....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2647 NorthWest NJ
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2007-01-08          138560


Do you want to rough up the turf for seeding or just aeration? If the latter the swisher spike aerator will just make holes and actually compact the soil as it does it. But the holes might be OK for seeding though depending on the number of spikes might be a little sparse.

Crunch its funny with all this warm weather, we have no snow talk on TP, so grass seems is now a topic, lets see how long this lasts ;)

Dennis ....

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Lawn Aeration

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-01-08          138570


Blueman,
At first thought the action of the disk pushing dirt seems like what it will do, but that is not correct. Unless you have totally flat blades. All disk blades I am aware of are concave and even straight will lift dirt. At same time there are lots of tools sold for the very use that have solid spikes to "push" holes into the ground (there are some that have flat disk blades also). They sure don't remove any dirt. At same time I have no idea if they do or do not work.

If you are wanting to get it ready to plant grass seeds, a landscape rake can do a good job to "rough" up the lawn for overseeding. ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2007-01-10          138649


Thanks for the ideas. I am looking to just aerate not seed. There are areas of my lawn where the grass hasn't grown in thick. The reason being that I had used these areas for construction and the soil has become compacted. I need to loosen this soil up but don't want to start from scratch by plowing and destroying all my grass.

This is not a large area of my lawn. I would estimate 50 by 100 feet. The straight disk is an interesting idea I hadn't considered. Whatever solution I use would be applied to my entire lawn which is about 20,000 sq ft. Thanks! ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-01-11          138651


Discs have fallen out of favor around here by most farmers. They are a compaction making machine. The heavier the soil the more compaction they create, on light sandy soils they work like you are wanting because the larger soil particles of sand tend to not pack so tightly together as the really small particles of heavier clays. It's kinda like a bucket of tennis balls compared to a bucket of marbles, which one has the more room for air amoungst them. My son has a home in a development that has the same lawn peoblems as you describe. Last fall he and his neighbor borrowed a trailer from someone, went to a rental center for a machine that I did not see, but my son described it as being a walk behind self propelled aeriator that was heavy enough to poke some fingers in the turf by the sheer weight of the machine. He asid it looked good, but won't know till spring whether it worked or not. I cannot remember what brand of machine it was, but that was supposed to be it's purpose. Frank. ....

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Lawn Aeration

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Blueman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 243 Washington, PA
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2007-01-11          138659


Here is a link for John Deere's aeration products. My local rental center said that he had a Bluebird 742 aerator, but didn't have much call for it except for a local landscaper, so he ended up selling the unit to him.
The second link is for the Bluebird. Since these units are pretty much once a year machines, I think it makes sense to rent rather than buy.
....


Link:   John Deere aerators

 
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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-01-11          138661


NC, a rental is a good idea depending on your area. In my area there are lots of golf courses, recently I saw a machine was used on them for such. It was a large machine that looked like a giant ztm best example at this moment. Where the cutting deck would be there was a large drilling head. It must have been about 2 feet by 5 feet or larger. With drill bits a foot long. They lower the deck and drill the area. Sure has to be expensive to use a machine that requires sitting still. Guess it goes to show how serious compaction can be.

Hardwood, interesting on the golf balls and marbles. Must be a lot of marbles here. I don't want to move this thread over by much but since farmers in your area have found disking cause compaction, what do they use? It was my impression it is the weight of the tractor and the equipemnt. My area of worst compaction seems to be caused by water if anything. At same time my brothers says cows caused him the most compaction problem. Our local State Dept of Agr. experts say our subsoils need to be broken just due to the type of soil they are as they naturally compact. The little I see of no till here, or little till being more accurate they use subsoilers and they are not running disk on that land. Very much realize you did not say the only thing that compacts are disk. It is my understanding any kind of tillage that remands as a certain level over the years creates a "hardpan" at that depth depending on the soil type. My understanding could be wrong on this. Just trying to KEEP on learning. Every crop teaches me something.
....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-01-11          138665


KT; Yes you are correct, any pass over a field causes a certain amount of compaction. The more passes the more compaction. A disc needs weight to make it penetrate hard heavy soils, the heavier the disc the more compaction it creates, hence in sandy soild you can get most any disc to run to the spools without much added frame weight. It was interesting to farm in the era when so much was lerned about the proper care of soils. First thing we learned was the pattern tiling of farmland did more to increas yields than most ny other thing except inproved hybrids and the proper use of fertilizer. The tile serve two functions, first the drain away the excess moisture so fields can be worked at the proper time for mamimum production, second thing tile do is get the excess water out of the upper root zone so the roots of a crop can get air, crops just don't grow well with waterlogged roots, they need air. No till works quite well here on the lighter siols, but just hasn't worked out too well with corn, soybeans seem to be more tolerant and yield just as well as tilled soil, Those who till the soil now use chisel plows that leave lots of trash on the surface, so now they use what are called soil finishre which are single gang of disc type blades that only run two to three inches deep to cut up the cornstalks, folowed by field cultivator teeth, and usually a leveling rake behind to smooth things up a bit. So this makes for a two pass system with most chisel plowing done in the fall to let frost break up some of the compaction, then in the spring one pass with the soil finisher, then the planter. Very few farmers use a row crop cultivater anymore, chemicals have gotten refined to the point that cultivation isn't necesary. Your brother is correct cattle left on the field after spring thaw can cause lots of compaction. Just for the fun of it bring up the John Deere website and under tillage equipment look up a model 726 soil finisher, that is what I had and is a real popular machine around here, there are also many other brands but all acomplish the same thing. Have a big day, allways glad to share something I have learnde, and also happy to learn from the rest here on things I don't know much about. Frank. ....

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Lawn Aeration

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-01-11          138695


hardwood,
They are some here who use what they call a "field cultivator" as last till before planting. It is normally 3 rows of small cultivator plows on vibrating shanks with "baskets" to roll the soil following. Yet I have been told you can only use that on ALREADY disk ground. A man who has makes them told me that also. At same time I see less and less chisel plowing here. It is amazing to read old books and see the circle that farming also has run in. First man planted with a stick, then need to plant deeper and a hoe and wooden plow and then deeper with iron and steel and we are almost back to the stick in some fields.
....

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Lawn Aeration

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2007-01-11          138696


NC, in re reading your orginial post, and trying to remember my Troy Bilt tiller, could you use cut off (unless you have some very worn) tines? The one business locally that does this on a large scale will then spread sand to fill in the holes to help prevent it ground sealing back up.
....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-01-11          138704


KT; The field cultivator is basicly identical to a soil finisher except it doesn't have the disc blades ahead of the shanks to cut up the old corn stalks, and your comment about having to disc ahead of the field cultivator is also correct. Todays modern hybrid corn variteys have a much more robust stalk plus we now plant in the 30- 35,000 seeds per acre compared to 20 yrs ago when 20-25000 population per acre was considered high, so there is just so much old fodder to deal with that a field cultivator just plugs with cornstalks. The rolling basket levers behind the soil finisher don't work very good here, they plug with last years corn butts and cease to roll, so the tine toothe harrow is about all that is used here. Hope this helps. Enjoy your evening. Frank. ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2007-01-11          138708


Wow! Some real expert opinions here! Yes a buddy of mine rented a walk behind powered aerator. He said it did a fine job. It was a manhandler though. And of course inconvenient and pricey for one time use. KT, I had thought about a "cut off" set of tines for my tiller. I understand sometimes they sell special aerator tines for tillers but I haven't located any that would fit my Troy Bilt. That would be ideal since I haven't really used my tiller for much lately. Hardwood, your knowledge in this area is great. Thanks all for your comments! ....

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