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Comparing Spike and Core Lawn Aerators

Aeration is very important in keeping your lawn in good overall health. The benefits are explained in the ‘how to aerate with a core aerator’ article on this site. The choice between a spike or core aerator will be discussed in this specific piece. The aim is to show the benefits that each type brings and allow you to make a more informed decision.

Aeration will yield a thick, healthy lawn

Spike Aerators

This type of lawn aerator is the simpler of the two in terms of its operational mechanism. As the name would suggest they ‘spike’ a hole in the ground to aerate the lawn.

Lawn Spike Aerator

A type of spike aerator

This gets the job done quickly and simply. However the results do not have as much longevity as when you are using a core aerator. The reason for this is that you are not actually removing any of the soil. You are simply forcing a hole to be created by inserting the spikes into the ground. This means that there is more inward pressure around the holes that are created. The soil that has been forced to the side to create the hole will naturally be forced back towards its original position over time.

Core Aerators

Core aerators as you may have guessed actively remove a core of soil from the lawn grass. This is done using an aerator that has hollow tines. They creates the same effect as a spike aerator except the holes are more open and stay for longer. The plugs of soil that are brought up simply fall onto the lawn’s surface.

Plugs from a core aerator

Plugs and holes left by a core aerator

These cores can either be actively cleared away after aeration or left to integrate back in naturally. Both methods work well, it just depends on how you wish to keep your lawn. The fact that active ‘pockets’ have been created using core aeration means that reseeding your lawn is easier. The hollow left by the aerator is an ideal environment for grass seed to thrive.

Which is Better?

Lawn Core Aerator

On a performance basis the core aerator will always win. However they often cost more, so if price comes into the equation you have a more difficult choice to make. It will probably come down to a choice where you have to consider your overall lawn care regime/budget.

For example if you have an ornamental lawn it is probably worth the expense to invest in buying or hiring (or renting) a core aerator. But if you just want to keep your lawn in good health with an annual aeration then a spike aerator will do if you’re on a budget.

This article was written by Peter McAllister from SGM who supply lawn aerators and other lawn care equipment.

Lawn Aerators


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