A plug aerator is one of several machines that can be used for soil aeration. Aeration is an important part of lawn care, and it can help to encourage the growth of very attractive, healthy grass. In order to understand what a plug aerator is and when you should use one, it is helpful to be familiar with the basic idea of soil aeration.
Soil aeration is a term that describes the process of making small holes in soil. When soil has been aerated, it is easier for nutrients, water, and air to get down into the roots of the grass. Aeration breaks up soil that has been compacted too much. It also cuts through the layer of lawn thatch that can build up and interfere with the grass’s roots.
Some lawns are more likely to need aeration than others. For instance, a lawn that has grown from sod may have a layer of fine soil that was added with the sod, and a layer of coarse soil underneath it. These layers of different textures can interfere with drainage. Water will be trapped in the fine soil layer. Aerating allows water to drain properly and prevents the soil compaction that can damage grass.
Soil can become compacted through heavy use. For instance, if your yard is frequently full of children or pets playing, or gets a lot of foot traffic for some reason, it may be in particular need of aeration. Newly built homes may also have soil that has become very compacted due to construction equipment.
Aeration should be done during the growing season. When you are using a plug aerator, you will be pulling small amounts of soil out of the ground. If the grass is growing, it will easily recover and fill in the holes left behind by aeration.
A plug aerator is a wheeled machine that can be pushed across a lawn. It is also sometimes referred to as a core aerator. It has metal tines that penetrate the soil and remove small cores or plugs, leaving holes in the soil. The plugs should be about 2 or 3 inches long and half an inch in diameter. They should be spaced about 2 or 3 inches apart.
The other main kind of aerator is a spike area. Unlike the plug aerator, a spike aerator does not remove any of the soil. Instead, it uses wedge-shaped spikes to pierce holes into the soil. This method has some drawbacks, however: because of the way a spike aerator makes holes, it can actually cause even more soil compaction. A plug aerator is generally a better choice, especially for heavy, thick soil with a lot of clay.
A manual plug aerator is fairly simple to use, although it can be a slow process. It will generally take several hours to aerate a standard lawn. A manual aerator generally has a step bar with several tines attached to it. To use it, you step down on the step bar with one foot, driving the tines into the soil. Next, you raise a handle that pulls the tines back out of the soil, taking the soil plugs along with them.
As you repeat this process, the next set of soil plugs will push the first ones out of the aerator, and the plugs will be left behind on the lawn. Once you have gone over the entire yard with the aerator, you may want to break up the soil plugs that have been left on the ground. This will give the lawn a better, more uniform appearance. To break up the soil plugs, you can simply run a lawn mower over them or split them up with a strong rake.
To ensure the best results for your lawn, you should start with a lawn that has been thoroughly dampened. Aerate on a day following a rain fall, or water the lawn thoroughly the day before you plan to aerate. You may also need to make several passes over an area of soil, especially if it is very compacted due to heavy use. You may find that some areas are much less compacted than others. To save time and get the best results, check different parts of your yard and focus your aeration efforts on the parts that need it the most.
If you have a very large yard that needs extremely thorough aeration, this process may be too time consuming for you to do it yourself with a manual aerator. In this case, you may want to rent a powered aerator or hire a company that uses one. A powered aerator works in essentially the same way as a manual aerator, but it works much faster. With a powered aerator, you can aerate a lawn almost as quickly as you could mow it.
Generally, though a manual core aerator or plug aerator will work well for aerating any small or medium residential yard. There are many aerators available that are both high-quality and affordable. You could even split the cost with one or two neighboring families who are also interested in aeration. Once you have begun using a plug aerator on your soil, you will see just how attractive and healthy your yard can become.
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