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Bought a 40" spike aerator at a garage sale this morning ($40)......I know that the plug aerators are supposed to be better, but does anyone think that these spike types are any good at all....opinions welcome.....

 

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As a business owner, no. Simply due to the fact that very few lawns are perfectly flat, you need to get down a good 6" and these aerators will not do it, we use a spray product called Aerify, here is an article on aeration:

http://www.natureslawn.com/notes-on-core-aeration.html

I know the fellow that worte this very well, he has 2,300 clients in New York.
 

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Where I live it would be fine. I am not disagreeing with the 6" requirement but the only thing going that deep here is an excavator or back hoe. We have to much hard clay and rock. The cheap plug aerators usually end up bent here, and nobody here is buying the quality ones. The spikes seem to be doing a decent job and lasting, of course mine are cut of out of 1/4" plate
 

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I've got one just like that, $40 was a good price! I can't tell you for sure that it helps but after useing mine about every sixth time I mow, I don't see water standing in the places I used to after a hard rain. My tractor has a rear three point lift and I made a swing boom lift that will pick up the aerator or sweeper, I got tired of getting on and off the tractor to lift the aerator onto it's wheels when I needed to cross the concrete. Makes backing up the sweeper a breeze too!
 

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They are good for exposing the soil a bit for over-seeding, and chopping up the thatch, but not to combat compaction. In fact it can increase compaction.
 
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