Aeration & Seeding. Lawn aerator and seeder

Do I Need Aeration and Overseeding, Slice Seeder, Sodding, Grading, or Hydroseeding?

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A few years ago, my lawn was a hot mess with damaged sections of turf and certain areas that could use a complete turf replacement.

The good news was that my lawn care company presented me with several options to fix the issue like aeration and overseeding, slice seeding, sodding, grading, and hydroseeding.

While I was familiar with some of these processes like aeration and overseeding (spreading seed by hand or with a spreader) and sodding (unrolling grass on the ground), the others were news to me!

If you have a bare patch or an entire lawn that’s underperforming, it’s easy to get confused about which repair option to choose. But read on to find out the differences between each process to ease your decision.

aeration, seeding, lawn, aerator, seeder

What is Slice Seeding?

Sometimes referred to as slit seeding, slice seeding is billed as one of the best renovation techniques for repairing damaged areas of your lawn or areas that need complete lawn replacement.

This repair process is performed with a machine – a slice seeder basically slices into the ground with its vertical blades and deposits seeds directly into the soil as opposed to spreading grass seed across your lawn by overseeding.

This seed planting tool puts the seeds in direct and secure contact with the soil, increasing the chances of seed germination.

Advantages of Slice Seeding

A slicer seeder or slit seeder is a great option if you’re looking for faster, more dramatic lawn improvements, given that the process offers better seed contact and allows moisture and fertilizers to easily and quickly mix with and enter the soil.

Fast germination rate

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a slit seeder machine is the accelerated germination rate, owing to the seeds having direct soil contact. This direct contact with soil makes it easier to transfer water and nutrients from the soil to the roots of all types of grass seeds.

With regular seeding, the chance of germination is lower because the seeds aren’t in direct contact with the soil.

Creates the perfect seeding spot

A slice seeder machine slices into the soil to create furrows, which are deep and make it easier to deposit grass seed exactly where you want it.


Slice seeding is more cost-effective than other grass seed planting methods such as sodding, but is more expensive than simply spreading grass seed.

No displacement of seeds

When spreading grass seeds by hand or with a spreader, they can be easily displaced by birds and other wildlife and can be transported to other yards far away from where you want your grass seeds to grow by rain and other weather elements.

With slice seeding, displacement isn’t an issue because the grass seeds are tucked away in the furrows and immediately touch the soil.

diversity and better disease resistance

With slice seeding, you can choose from a wide range of grass seed blends instead of planting a single variety of grass seed as in the case with sod. Planting a blend of grass seeds also prevents disease and helps combat pest infestations down the line.

Disadvantages of Slice Seeding

As good as it sounds, slicing seeder to achieve a beautiful lawn isn’t perfect and does have its fair share of disadvantages such as

Time and cost

Standard overseeding of an existing lawn is pretty cheap and a quick task for novice and seasoned gardeners. Slice seeding contrarily requires machinery for the procedure and is a labor-intensive process.

It may cause unnecessary damage

If you have a lawn that needs some improvements in certain spots, a slice seeder may cause machine damage by tearing up some of your good grass.

Slice seeding doesn’t improve damaged soil

Slice seeding cannot be performed if your soil isn’t healthy and not receiving air, water, and nutrients. In fact, for the success of slit-seeding, you have to prepare your soil, starting with a soil test to determine if the soil has insufficient or excessive nutrients.

After you receive the results of the soil test, fertilizer applications should be performed with appropriate fertilizer equipment. Next, remove rocks, sticks, leaves, and any yard debris, so that you have a smooth surface to operate the slice seeder heavy machine.

Check out this video on how to use slice seeding for lawn repair:

Which One Is Better – Slice Seeder or Aeration and Overseeding?

Both slice seeding and aeration and overseeding are two great options to spread grass seeds, but they serve different purposes:

  • If your lawn has compacted soil caused mostly by heavy foot traffic, thatch (a layer of dead organic matter), clay-like soil, and/or thinning grass, aerating and overseeding your lawn to create healthier soil, and improve your lawn’s ability to absorb rainfall, reducing stormwater runoff.
  • If your existing grass is patchy or you want to repair damaged sections of turf or areas that need complete turf replacement, slice seeding is the quickest way to get your grass growing.

What is Hydroseeding?

The process of hydroseeding is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners looking for a new approach to a beautiful, healthy lawn.

It is a cost-effective way to distribute grass seed on your property with the help of a sprayer.

The sprayer distributes a loose slurry, which is a mix of grass seed, water, fertilizer, mulch, and a bonding agent.

Hydroseeding is an effective solution for homes with large yards, areas that would be difficult to seed manually, playing fields, etc.

Hydroseeding vs Slice Seeding vs Aeration and Overseeding: Which Works Best?

If your soil is compacted or you have an excess layer of thatch, you can scratch hydroseeding and slice seeding off the list. If your soil is compacted, slit seeding won’t do a thing to improve the condition and the blades of the slide seeder machine will have a hard time cutting into compacted soil.

Hydroseeding is a good choice for new constructions because the level ground is already fresh and bare. Adding to this, before hydroseeding, you have to remove any grass from your property, so only bare dirt remains, hence it’s not a good option to repair thinning areas and bare spots.

What is Sodding?

Sodding offers instant gratification and is a great investment if you want a visually pleasing instant lawn.

Sod is pre-cut mats of already harvested grass and a soil layer that is held together by grassroots.

Advantages of Sod

Even though it is a more expensive approach for a beautiful and healthy lawn and can be tricky to install, sod has a few advantages:

Disadvantages of Sod

Although sod provides you with an instant lawn, it does have a few disadvantages, such as:

  • Its initial higher cost.
  • Grass seed, silt seeder, and hydroseeding are available in several grass types, but there are fewer options when it comes to sod.

If you want and want an instant lawn and are willing to splurge, sod won’t disappoint. But if you can wait to build a lawn or fill bare and thinning areas from scratch, aerating and overseeding or slit seeding are great choices.

aeration, seeding, lawn, aerator, seeder

What is Grading of Lawn?

Whether you’re slice seeding, aerating and overseeding, or laying down sod, grading is an important lawn care task before anything else.

Grading is a form of leveling your yard and eliminating any water issues. Grading ensures your lawn is smooth and doesn’t have any major low spots, which can cause the pooling of water.

Some other problems that proper grading can solve include:

  • A soggy or mushy lawn,
  • Ice buildup in the winter,
  • Soil erosion,
  • Unsightly mower ruts or other problem areas of sinkage,
  • Standing water or puddles that attract pests, including mosquitoes.

You can regrade your lawn yourself, but I’d suggest commissioning a professional to get the job done right.

The steps involved to regrade your lawn include:

  • Measuring the existing grade with two stakes, 10 feet of string, a hanging string level, and measuring tape,
  • Rebuilding the slope,
  • Checking for obstacles such as basic rocks and acid rocks,
  • Distributing the soil,
  • Measuring the new grade
  • Putting the finishing touches.

Check out this video on how to grade your yard:

Final Thoughts

To achieve a thick, lush green lawn, and repair bare patches, you’ve got several options including slice seeders that use vertical blades, aeration, and overseeding and sodding. The option that’s right for you depends on your needs.

If you have a new lawn or an existing lawn with healthy soil, silt seeding is an option worth considering, but if your soil is unhealthy and has drainage issues, you should aerate and overseed your lawn.

Sodding is an expensive approach to an instant rich, green lawn and arrives in mats that you unfurl on your lawn. However, before exploring any of these options, it’s a good idea to regrade your lawn to ensure that you don’t have any issues after planting grass seeds or laying sod.

Hi, Alex Kuritz here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.

Aeration Seeding

Compacted soil and thatch keep you from maintaining a healthy lawn. Core Aeration is the mechanical process of removing soil and thatch plugs, allowing beneficial air, water, and nutrients to reach the root zone. Aeration should be a regular part of any annual lawn maintenance program to keep soil compaction and thatch in check and increase root development and water retention, giving your lawn the breathing room it needs to thrive.

Benefits of Seeding

Once your lawn is breathing properly, it needs seed to help keep it alive. Whether your lawn needs repair from insect damage or rejuvenation from weak, thin grass, there’s a type of seeding process that can help.


Overseeding is the process of putting seeds into a seed spreader, then spreading the seeds over the entire lawn. Like core aeration, overseeding helps introduce better grass varieties into your lawn.

Slice Seeding

Slice Seeding involves a lawn specialist who employs a mechanical slice seeder to create small 1/4″ slices in the soil where seeds are then deposited. During this process, seed is distributed in a uniform fashion across the lawn and put directly in contact with the soil, resulting in a higher percentage of germination.

Slice seeding is the best way to:

  • Thicken turf for a plusher-looking lawn
  • Prune the grass roots
  • Thin a heavily thatched lawn
  • Sow in new and improved seed varieties
  • Ensure good seed-to-soil contact
  • Prepare the seed bed
  • Improve resistance of grass types that are adapted to the various conditions on your property

Spot Seeding

Spot Seeding is the best option when making minor lawn repairs. It literally means “seeding spots” and can be applied to a lawn scar from insect or disease activity. Spot seeding is only applied to a small area that does not require the use of a slice seeder. The soil can be loosened by using a lawn weasel, adding the appropriate seed blend, and then working in the seed.

A Healthy Lawn

When the life of a lawn is looked at in the long term, the expense and effort of seeding is well worth it. Any type of seeding requires watering once or twice a day to ensure proper germination.

In the end, with proper aeration and seeding, your lawn will thrive, driving your property value up and improving your outdoor experience with new, lush green turf.

Free Quote for Aeration Seeding

Cardinal Lawns provides residential and commercial aeration seeding services in Columbus, Akron, Cleveland, Ohio and surrounding areas. Call Cardinal Lawns today at 614-808-4446 to find out more about how our aeration seeding programs can enhance the look of your lawn.

Aeration, Overseeding, Or Power Seeding, Which One is Right For Your Lawn

Summers can take a toll on our Indiana and Kentucky lawns. High temperatures, dry spells, excessive use, and lawn equipment can all cause a fatigued-looking turf, including bare spots and thinning grass. The good news is that rejuvenating your lawn and restoring its health is possible. Fall is the perfect time to revitalize your lawn with aeration and overseeding or power seeding. But if you’re not familiar with the three of these lawn techniques, how do you choose? Let’s talk about all three, discover what each one is, their benefits and which one is right for your yard.


Aeration is a lawn practice all businesses and homeowners should adopt in Kentucky. Our Crider soil often becomes compacted, and our Kentucky lawns need breathing room. Aeration is the process of mechanically pulling plugs of turf from the ground. The cores that are used are removed, revealing a cork-sized hole that will eventually decompose back into your grass. This process allows air, sunlight, water, and other essential nutrients to penetrate deep into your soil’s roots, giving them what they need to grow healthy and strong. Aeration also helps to break up any thatch or clumps of intermingled living matter that accumulate on the top surface of your soil.

Many lawn companies now offer liquid aeration along with mechanical aeration. Liquid aeration utilizes a special spray that contains nutrients that encourage your lawn’s own microbial ecosystem.

There are many benefits of performing aeration. We recommend having your Kentucky or Indiana turf aerated every other year to help decompose thatch and keep your lawn fresh and revitalized.

Benefits of aerating your lawn include:

  • Deeper, stronger root growth
  • Thicker, healthier grass
  • Grass grows much easier
  • Fills in bald and thin patches in your yard
  • Reduces water runoff
  • A healthier, more substantial yard


After your lawn has been aerated, it is primed and ready for seeding. Overseeding is introducing new types of grass seed to the existing turf with other grass strains. Overseeding helps to fill in thin patches of your lawn, boots its resistance to pests, diseases, and drought while further enhancing the overall density, thickness, and health of your grass. Overseeding brings with it a host of benefits, including:

Power Seeding

Power seeding is exactly what its name states, a way to power seed your lawn. Using specialized lawn equipment with sharp blades to cut through your lawn, power seeding places seeds directly into your soil without damaging your existing grass. Doing this allows the grass seed to drop below the ground’s surface increasing the chances of seed germination. Like aeration, it is perfect for breaking through thick layers of dead grass, old roots, and other compacted organic matter.

Benefits of Power Seeding Power seeding is efficient and fast. It delivers more timely results in terms of germination and new grass growth. There is less labor involved as with traditional overseeding, and it uses less grass seed. Other advantages of using power seeding include:

  • Higher germination rate
  • Thicker, healthier results
  • Minimization of damage to your lawn’s existing turf
  • Less waste. seed to germination occurs
  • Grass seed doesn’t die in the winter frost due to being spread on top of the dirt

Which One Should I Choose for My Kentucky or Indiana Lawn, Aeration, Overseeding, Or Power Seeding?

All three are useful techniques for obtaining that healthy, lush, thick lawn every home or business owner desires. Power seeding is about planting new grass seed for the fastest, most thorough growth of fresh grass. Aeration, on the other hand, addresses a different issue, creating healthier soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to permeate your grassroots. If your turf is in decent shape and just needs a boost, aeration accompanied by overseeding is probably your best option. At Farison Lawn Care, we recommend having aeration performed once every two years as part of your regular lawn routine regardless to help obtain a beautiful, lush lawn.

However, if your existing lawn is patchy, with lots of thin areas, and appears beyond just summer fatigued, it is best to utilize power seeding. We also recommend combining all three, utilizing aeration and overseeding for your overall lawn, and power seeding for the more targeted areas that continually struggle to grow grass.

When is the Best Time to Have Aeration, Overseeding, and Power Seeding Performed?

Late August through fall is the prime time to perform aeration, overseeding, and power seeding services in Kentucky and Indiana. The cooler nighttime temperatures and increased moisture will help your soil better absorb the nutrients pushed through by aeration and the new seeds distributed by overseeding.

For All Three Services, Contact the Professionals at Farison Lawn Care

At Farison Lawn Care, we provide lawn renovation services of all sorts including aeration, overseeding, and power seeding. Not sure if overseeding or power seeding is right for you? We have the answers. Call us, and we can assess your lawn and determine the appropriate solution.

We have the expertise and experience to create the best environment for plush, healthy, and weed-free lawns across the Louisville, Kentucky area and neighboring areas, such as Mt. Washington, La Grange, Prospect, and Goshen.

Contact us now to learn more about all three of these services and the other lawn care services we offer. Fill out our online contact us form or give us a call at 1-502-245-9422.

For more tips and ideas on all things regarding lawn care, follow our monthly blog articles. Then check us out on social media. You can like us on. follow us on Instagram and check out some of our past projects on YouTube.

Power seeding Vs Aeration and Overseeding: Which Should I choose for My Lawn?

If you’re looking for a lush and thick lawn, you might be considering power seeding.

Even the healthiest lawns have some bare patches where weeds can sneak in. But adding new grass growth to your lawn with a service like power seeding can help you continually produce the best results.

Of course, we often get questions from homeowners who have also heard of aeration and overseeding, another service for growing new grass. These homeowners want to know: Is power seeding worth it….and what’s the difference between power seeding vs aeration?

We understand that there’s a lot of lawn care lingo out there and you might need some help figuring out what’s best.

In this article, we’ll dive into the differences and help give you a better understanding of what power seeding is all about so that you can determine if it’s right for you.

What Exactly is Power Seeding?

Power seeding, which has also been called “slice seeding” or “slit seeding,” is the process of using a machine to cut rows into the soil and plant seeds. It’s a service used by golf courses to achieve some of the thickest, healthiest turfs around.

With power seeding, the cutting of the soil and the planting of the grass seed is all methodically completed in a mechanical way so that you know your grass seed is actually being planted in the ground. Much like a farmer would cut rows into the soil to plant his or her crops, with power seeding, you are installing a lawn in an efficient and effective way.

This is quite different from the other primary method for planting grass, which we’ll talk about next.

At Limbwalker, when we power seed, we use a custom blend of premium turf-type tall fescues to fill in your bare spots and create a thick and healthy lawn. It’s important that you’re also using a high-quality seed when power seeding your lawn if you truly want to get the best results.

Power Seeding Vs. Aeration and Overseeding

First and foremost, you should know the goal of both of these services is the same (to grow new grass). They just have two different ways of attempting to achieve these results.

With aeration and overseeding, a machine called an aerator is used to pull cores of soil and create holes throughout the lawn. Then seeding is performed (seeds are tossed onto the lawn) with the hope that those seeds will fall into the holes.

It’s important that the seeds do wind up in the holes as seeds require “seed-to-soil contact” for germination. If seeds are just left atop the ground, they are unlikely to actually germinate.

The trouble with aeration is that many of the seeds are just left on top of the ground.

Oftentimes they just become really expensive birdseed!

Or, they might just dry out before ever getting the chance to germinate.

But with power seeding, we are actually cutting rows into the soil and planting the seed there. It’s a big difference in terms of germination success.

Because we want to help Louisville homeowners achieve the best possible results, we offer power seeding…and yes, we do feel that power seeding is worth it.

In fact, we find that people get results they are much happier with than aeration, where there’s just too much uncertainty. When you’re paying good money for seed, you don’t want it just thrown about your lawn with hopes that it will land in the holes.

You want that grass seed actually planted.

And that’s what you get with power seeding. There’s a visual component to it and you’ll actually see the planted rows. You’ll also see that new grass starts growing pretty soon after. Homeowners tell us it’s a good feeling when they start to see that new grass pop up…especially in those bare spots.

It’s new life that they can actually see!

When Should I Be Power Seeding My Lawn?

Here in Louisville, Kentucky, the best time for power seeding is in the fall.

That’s because the soil is still warm but the air temperatures are cooler. That makes for favorable conditions for new grass growth. Trying to grow new grass seed in the spring can be very challenging because your brand-new grass won’t have much time to establish itself before it has to contend with the hot summer sun.

On top of that, when you plant grass in the spring, it can also interfere with using weed control products.

Is Power Seeding My Lawn Truly Necessary?

We know that you invest a lot in lawn care and you might be wondering if this is an extra service that you really need.

The answer to this honestly depends upon your expectations. We understand that not all homeowners want a golf course-like lawn. They just want to get rid of weeds and have an overall healthy lawn.

But we also have plenty of homeowners who really want their lawns to be the best they can be. For homeowners who really do want the best lawn on the block, power seeding makes a lot of sense.

Not only is it the best way to fill in bare spots, but it will also thicken up your lawn as a whole, which comes with other benefits like naturally choking out weeds.

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Finding Power Seeders in Louisville, KY

If you’re someone that falls into the category of wanting the best possible lawn, then you will definitely want to consider adding power seeding to your lawn care program.

You’ll find that there are lawn care companies that only offer aeration and overseeding, but to get the most value for your investment, we do advise looking for power seeders. For the reasons we explained in this article, we believe power seeding is the best way to grow a thick and healthy lawn.

At Limbwalker, we recommend power seeding every other year to help keep your lawn thick and healthy while pushing out pesky weeds and reducing the need for herbicides. The thicker and healthier your lawn is, the happier you’ll be.

When looking for power seeders, our advice is to look for a company that has your best interest at heart.

At Limbwalker, we want to make everything as easy and successful for you as possible. That’s why we perform quality checks for all of our clients who have had power seeding done. We come around to check to make sure that everything is growing as it should.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your happiness. We want you to be able to get out and enjoy your lawn to the fullest and we’re here to help.

Are you ready to have a thick and healthy lawn that’s getting everything it needs at your Louisville, KY home? Get in touch with us to get a quote for our lawn care programs, which include three lawn care pricing options, and about adding power seeding to one of those programs.

The 8 Best Lawn Aerators of 2023

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A top-quality lawn aerator creates soil-deep holes that allow air, water, and fertilizer to reach the roots of your grass, keeping your lawn healthy, nourished, and looking its best.

When and how to aerate your lawn depends upon the type of soil and grass you have (warm-season or cold-season grasses), the size of your lawn, and the amount of foot traffic the area receives. To help you find the best lawn aerator for your needs, we researched dozens of options, evaluating ease of use, functionality, features, and overall value.

Best Overall

Brinly-Hardy PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator

The Brinly-Hardy Tow Behind Plug Aerator wins the top spot on this list for its durable, all-steel construction and ease of use. We love that it has a universal hitch that can attach to any lawn tractor, UTV, or ATV, so you don’t have to manually move it around your yard. We also think this is an excellent option for bigger yards—the 40-inch width and 24 3-inch plugs help cover large areas quickly. Since it is a plug aerator, it is perfect for clay soils and has “no-flat” tires to handle different terrain without issues.

Although you do need to add the weight yourself, we appreciate that the weight tray holds up to 150 pounds of concrete blocks to ensure adequate soil depth. We also appreciate the easy-to-use transport lever that allows you to disengage the plugs quickly when you want to avoid sidewalks or sprinkler components. Keep in mind that this aerator is more expensive than other options on this list, and if you do have a small yard, a manual option may be a better choice. However, we think if you already have the right equipment to attach it to, and have a larger yard with the right soil, this aerator will make quick work of getting your lawn into shape, with little effort.

Price at time of publish: 337

Aeration Method: Rolling tow-behind | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 3 inches | Width: 40 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 37 x 51 x 28 inches | Weight Capacity: 150 pounds | Plug Size: 16 gauge

Best Budget

Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator

If you have a small yard, a handheld aerator is a great affordable option—this type of tool is generally much easier to store and can get into tight places where a tow-behind aerator cannot go. We like the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator because it is both lightweight and durable. Like many handheld aerators, it does require physical effort and only covers a small area at a time, but when used, it can loosen the compacted soil and dethatch your lawn, so vital nutrients can get through.

Aside from the plug (core) handheld aerator, Yard Butler offers a spike handheld aerator which is better for sandy or loamy soil. The plug type has two tines that will penetrate up to 3.5 inches. The spike aerator has four 3-inch spikes. Both aerators are made of rust-resistant powder-coated steel, measuring 37 inches high and weighing around 4 pounds. Each has rubber padded handles and a footrest for ease in pushing the aerator into the soil.

Price at time of publish: 44

Aeration Method: Handheld | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 3.5 inches | Width: 8.75 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 1.75 x 8.75 x 36.5 inches | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size:.50 x 3.50 inches

Best Tow-Behind Spike

Agri-Fab 40-in Spike Lawn Aerator

If you are looking for a tow-behind aerator and have sandy or loamy soil, the Agri-Fab Spike Aerator is a great choice. We love that it has 10 star-shaped tines that help penetrate compacted soil. Plus, it includes a weight tray that can hold up to 100 pounds if needed. Thanks to its universal hitch, your lawn tractor or UTV can do most of the work for you. And when not in use, the hitch folds up for easier storage.

The galvanized spikes can penetrate to a depth of 2.5 inches, and it has a lever for height adjustment. The flat-free tires roll smoothly and will never need to be filled. With a three-year limited warranty, this solid steel aerator will last through many years of lawn care.

Price at time of publish: 210

Aeration Method: Rolling tow-behind | Type: Spike | Spike Length: 2.5 inches | Width: 40 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 31 x 48 x 18 inches | Weight Capacity: 100 pounds | Plug Size: Not listed

Best Shoes

Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes with Hook Loop Straps

You can go for a walk and improve the quality of your lawn at the same time with the Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes. Each shoe has 13 solid spikes that can penetrate up to 2 inches deep. The adjustable velcro hook and loop straps keep the shoe attached to your existing boot or sturdy garden shoe. At 12 inches long and 5 inches wide, they can fit most adults’ shoes. We also like that they are also easy to store in a shed or outdoor storage bin and require no assembly (aside from attaching to your shoes!).

The shoes have anti-slip pads on the bottom to help prevent them from slipping off your boots on wet grass. Plus, the shoes come with a steel shovel you can use to clean out dirt from between the spikes when needed. Overall, we think this aerator might not be the best option for a large lawn, but we think it’s great for smaller lawns as long as you don’t mind the extra effort.

Price at time of publish: 30

Aeration Method: Spikes attach to shoes | Type: Spikes | Spike Length: 2 inches | Width: 5 inches | Power Source: Not applicable | Dimensions: 12.6 x 5.59 x 4.41 inches | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Plug Size: Not applicable

Best Tow Behind Plug

Agri-Fab 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator

When you have heavy soil, you need a heavy-duty lawn aerator. The Agri-Fab plug aerator has 32 galvanized plugs that will penetrate to a depth of three inches. As with all tow-behind aerators, you will need a lawn tractor or UTVs to attach to the universal hitch.

Able to hold 140 pounds of weight (4 concrete blocks), the steel construction will withstand years of use. For best results, secure the blocks with bungee cords to prevent shifting during use. The cantilever transport handle makes raising and lowering the plugs an easy task. The ten-inch tires will not deflate and roll smoothly over even rutted terrain.

Price at time of publish: 379

Aeration Method: Rolling tow-behind | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 3 inches | Width: 48 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 35 x 60 x 36 inches | Weight Capacity: 140 pounds | Plug Size: 3 inches

Best Liquid

Simple Lawn Solutions Liquid Aerating Soil Loosener

Large aerators aren’t practical if you have a small lawn or strip of grass that needs help. Fortunately, you can still loosen the soil by using a liquid aerator like Simple Lawn Solutions. The proprietary mixture of surfactants and other ingredients breaks apart soil colloids to improve water and nutrient absorption.

The product mixes with water and is used at a rate of one ounce per 1,000 square feet of grass. This soil loosener works well before seeding a lawn or manual aeration to make the task easier.

Price at time of publish: 45

Aeration Method: Liquid | Type: Not applicable | Spike Length: Not applicable | Width: Not applicable | Power Source: Not applicable | Dimensions: 5 x 2.25 x 8 inches | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size: Not applicable

Best Push

Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator

If you want to benefits of a tow-behind aerator but don’t have a lawn tractor, we recommend the Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator. This push aerator is outfitted with spikes and works best on small lawns with loamy soils. You can also pull this aerator when needed. It does require manual effort, but since you are pushing or pulling it, it’s easier to use than a manual tool that you have to push into the ground.

Just 16 inches wide, it can accommodate one concrete block to help push the five spiked discs into the ground to a depth of 2.5 inches. At 27 pounds and 38 inches high, it has a small footprint and is relatively easy to store.

Price at time of publish: 100

Aeration Method: Handheld | Type: Plug | Spike Length: 2.5 inches | Width: 16 inches | Power Source: Manual | Dimensions: 17 x 8 x 38 inches (assembled) | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size: Not applicable

Best Electric

Sun Joe AJ801E 12-Amp 13-Inch Electric Dethatcher and Scarifier

Aerating may allow your lawn better access to the water and air it needs to grow. But it also doesn’t address the issue of piled-up and compressed growth, which can prevent all that from happening. For this, many lawn care experts recommend “scarifying” or de-thatching—removing the built-up thatch. It is physically difficult to do this with a rake, both for the energy it takes and for the amount of distance needing to be covered. We found that the electrically powered Sun Joe AJ801E, which uses a rotating bladed cylinder to scrape up the detritus, accomplishes the task effectively and in far less time. We like the product for its 12-amp electric motor, and for its 12.6-inch path, which strikes us as just the right size for most lawns.

The 27-pound, ETL-approved de-thatcher features a single-handle, five-position depth control, from less than half an inch below the soil to just under half an inch above. This way you can be sure you set the machine to remove what you want removed and not an entire swath of sod. The scarifying blade is pre-attached, but you also can swap out a rake attachment (included, but you need an adjustable wrench). The handles require minimal assembly, with included hardware.

We recommend using the Sun Joe without the included collection bag, as it is fairly small and fills up fast, requiring interminable emptying. Also, this is not a machine for large lawns, as the manufacturer strongly advises using an extension cord no longer than 100 feet.

Price at time of publish: 189

Aeration Method: Scarifying/raking | Type: Scarifier/rake | Spike Length: Not listed | Width: 13 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Dimensions: 24 x 20 x 12.5 inches | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Plug Size: Not applicable

Our top pick is the Brinly-Hardy 40-inch Tow Behind Plug Aerator, which works well on clay and sandy soils, and has a heavy-duty steel construction that will last for years. If you’re specifically looking for a tow-behind spike aerator, the Agri-Fab Spike Aerator is a great choice. It has galvanized spikes that can penetrate to a depth of 2.5 inches and will last through many years of use.

What to Look For in a Lawn Aerator

Type of Soil

If you have hard, clay soil or water puddles in the grass after rain, then you should choose a plug aerator like our best overall, the Brinly-Hardy 40-inch Tow Behind Plug Aerator. By removing larger pieces or plugs of dirt, plug aerators can help nutrients penetrate more easily into the roots of the grass. If the soil is sandy or loamy, then the more narrow puncture of a spike aerator will give you the aeration needed. For example, the Agri-Fab Spike Aerator is a great tow-behind spike option.

Not sure what type of soil you have? Grab a handful of the soil and squeeze. If it forms a hard lump in your hand, you have clay. If the soil does not stick together and falls away easily, you have sandy or loamy soil.

Size of Your Lawn

Tow-behind aerators are rather large pieces of garden equipment and won’t perform well on small lots or narrow spaces. Tow-behind aerators are best for lawns larger than one-half acre and regular in shape. Consider the width of the aerator and your turn radius as you shop.

For smaller lawns and irregularly-shaped grass spaces, choose a push aerator, handheld model, or aerator shoes. We think the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator is a great manual option for small yards with clay soil.

Additional Equipment and Storage Space

A tow-behind aerator is going to require something to pull it along. You must have a lawn tractor, ATV, or small utility vehicle. Tow-behind models and push models also need weights (usually several concrete blocks) to help them penetrate the soil. Consider the storage space required for all of these items.

The best type of aerator depends on your lawn, storage space, and budget. Spike aerators use long spikes to make holes in your grass to allow water and nutrients to reach the roots and soil. Spike aeration is a temporary solution that works best on small lawns with loose loam or sandy soils. You can get small spike aerators that are handheld or attach to your shoes, or larger push or tow models. For large areas with hard, compacted clay soils, plug aerators work best. When pushed down into the soil, a plug aerator removes plugs of dirt. This method provides larger holes that allow more nutrients to enter the soil and lasts for a longer period of time. Plug aerators can also be handheld or towed behind a lawn tractor.

Ideally, you should aerate your lawn one to six inches deep. If you have sandy soil, look for a spike aerator that has at least a 2.5-inch spike, like the Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator. For more compact soils, your best choice is a plug aerator with hollow tines that can create three-inch plugs, like our top pick, the Brinly-Hardy Tow Behind Plug Aerator.

The best time to aerate the lawn is dependent on the type of lawn grass. Cool-season grasses (Kentucky bluegrass) should be aerated in the fall. The growing season is still active, but weeds are under control, and temperatures are cooler. Warm-season grasses (Bermuda, centipede) should be aerated in the spring. Most lawns only need to be aerated once per year. Of course, there are exceptions. If the lawn is part of new construction and the ground has been compacted by all of the equipment used during building, you may need aeration to ensure water reaches the roots of freshly laid sod. While it is acceptable to aerate when damp, don’t do it after heavy rains; you’ll end up with a muddy mess that makes it hard for the lawn to recover.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Mary Marlowe Leverette researched and wrote this roundup. She is a Master Gardener and has extensive personal and professional experience testing, reviewing, and writing about home and garden products. You can find more of her work on The Spruce. Jenica Currie, Commerce Editor for The Spruce updated this article with additional reporting.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  • Aerating Your Lawn. Virginia Tech. Virginia Cooperative Extension.
  • “When is the Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn?” Toro Yard Care Blog. 2021. When is the Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn? [online] Available at: