A plug aerator (also called a core aerator) makes small holes in your lawn. Aerating your lawn is a good way to allow more water and fertilizer to get into the soil. A plug aerator also makes the roots healthier by reducing soil compaction. The end goal is to have a green lawn that is more heat and drought tolerant.
Improving the lawn can also increase its durability and it can hold up to traffic better. You can buy an aerator at a lawn or home improvement store. But if you only plan to use it once a year then you may save money by renting one at a local rental store.
For larger lawns you can get a pull aerator to hook up to your riding lawn mower. There are two different versions that connect to the riding mower. One is a tow version that connects to the rear tires of the riding lawn mower. The other version uses a three-point-hitch. They come in various widths and offer options like hydraulic lifts. Be sure the aerator you choose will work with your riding lawn mower.
1. Three Point Hitch
Step 1 – Align the Equipment
The three point hitch requires you to line up the riding mower to the aerator. Put the mower in reverse and go slowly until you are in alignment with the implement. Be sure to put down the arm so it will be able to line up with the uppermost point of the aerator.
Step 2 – Hook up to the Bars
On the back of the riding mower there is a three-sided object that has bars sticking out from it. Put the two arms from the aerator onto the bars. Secure with the cotter pins to make sure the mower and implement stay hitched together. If you are having difficulty attaching these pieces then be sure the mower and aerator are in a straight line. Pull forward and back up again if necessary.
2. Tow Hookup
Every tow aerator may be a little different but in general they have an arm that simply attaches to the rear wheels of the riding mower. The owner’s manual will show you the exact steps for your equipment.
3. Add Weight
Once the aerator is hooked up to the lawn mower you may need to add additional weight. You can check for this by doing a swath with the aerator and then checking the plugs it pulled out of the ground to see if it is getting in deep enough. If not, add weight with concrete blocks if there is a flat platform, sand bags, containers of water or other weights that will stay securely on the implement while it is in use. Adding these weights is usually necessary if you have hard or compacted soil. It will make the tines go farther into the soil and break it up better.
Using an aerator to improve you lawn takes some time and effort. Hooking it up the first time may be a learning process but you will be glad you did it when you are enjoying your beautiful green grass.