I rented a Blue Bird gas aerator today and just want to share my experience for those who are contemplating going that route. It rained most the day yesterday so the ground was soft enough that I could easily push a screw driver into it about an inch. It may be a little early to aerate but since the landscapers in the area are installing new lawns already, I thought it might be OK to areate. I live in the north so the fall weather is unpredictable. The lows have been in the 50s and the highs this week are schedualed for low 70s. We are anticipated rain mid week so I think I picked a good time to do this.
Anyways, I mowed the grass at a height of 2" instead of my normal 3". I read somewhere that 1" is where it should be cut but I didn't feel comfortable going that low. I was surprised that the unit was not self propelled but it works like a tiller. The tines pull the unit and they pull it rather quickly and easily. It does take some work keeping it in a straight line especially if you are on an incline. The unit leans alot to one side then. The turns are a pain. You have to raise the tires with a lever and spin on the back tires. This gets tiresome. The unit is rather heavy so it takes some work.
It has taken me about 1.5 hours to do 10,000 sq ft so far. I make criss cross patterns so I am doing the yard twice. There are thousands of plugs on the ground. If I see the fruits of my labor with this thing next spring, then I will probably do it every fall until my yard gets the density I desire. After that, once every couple of years will do. These units aren't cheap to rent and take some work. I will post some photos this evening.