Aerators create a hole new life for turf

So many machines, so little time … There are more aerators than ever to choose from. Take a look at what's available to you by checking out the latest models profiled below. If you need more information, use the circle numbers provided at the end of each product description.

Who: Classen Mfg.

What: TA-25D aerator

Description: Designed to increase productivity and reduce fatigue, the TA-25D “split-drive” aerator offers two features no other aerator offers. First, with two user-friendly controls on the main handle, you can steer and aerate around corners, trees, etc., all without raising tines. Second, because all the tines propel the aerator, it offers deeper penetration. The aerator is powered by a 4-hp Honda engine, and has a removable weight bar, front poly drum and protective chain guard. It fits easily through a 36-inch gate.
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Who: Ferguson Mfg. Co., Inc.

What: Yardmaker aerator

Description: The AR-96F-SF Yardmaker aerator is designed for use on large areas including large lawns, parks and recreation fields. Choose from 3-point hitch or trailer type. The Yardmaker includes a roller chain drive, sealed ball bearings, heavy-duty construction, an on-off lever, adjustable feed gate, forced feed and a fill plug. It weighs 530 pounds and features a 3.8-cubic-foot seed hopper.
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Who: First Products Inc.

What: Aera-vator AE-40E

Description: The First Products Aera-vator AE40-E has undergone major changes. Improvements include an open frame for better rotor visibility and increased horsepower. An electro-hydraulic lift system replaces the old electric actuator, increasing system reliability. In addition, a rubber roller replaces the old steel roller providing quite transport. It can be pulled behind any tow vehicle with a 12-volt power source.
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Who: The Grasshopper Co.

What: AERA-vator

Description: Compatible with Grasshopper model 618, and all 700 and 900 series True ZeroTurn FrontMount power units, the AERA-vator leaves no cores to clean up, so turf is available immediately after use. This aerator uses oscillating, forged steel tines to penetrate and fracture soil. It is PTO-driven, and 40- and 60-inch models are available. No irrigation is required prior to operation.
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Who: Holland Equipment Ltd.

What: AerWay aerator

Description: AerWay Advanced Aeration Systems include the Shattertine, Sportstine and Finetine. Any of these can be assembled into a variety of frames from 48 inches to 15 feet in width, tractor mounted or pull-type, standard or quick-adjust. Most of the frames can be fitted with a smoothing roller for use throughout the season.
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Who: Husqvarna

What: AR19-series aerators

Description: Husqvarna's AR19-series aerators have free-wheeling outer tines that allow you to continue aerating without losing speed on tight corners and without damaging turf. With a path of up to 25 inches, the AR-19 series aerators are capable of producing up to 25,000 square feet per hour. The AR19H is powered by a 4-hp Honda engine with variable aerating depth up to 3 inches.
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Who: John Deere

What: Aercore 2000

Description: The Aercore 2000 aerator is built with a heavy-duty frame, tine rams, adjustable operating speeds and adjustable hole spacing. Its coring width is 80 inches, and its patented “Flexi-Link” design ensures that tines stay perpendicular to the ground for a consistently round hole. This tractor-mounted attachment will produce quality coring holes up to 4 inches deep and can cover 100,066 square feet per hour. There are two coring patterns with this attachment: a 2.4-inch pattern or a 3.2-inch pattern, depending on the speed of movement.
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Who: JRCO, Inc.

What: Hooker aerator

Description: JRCO's Hooker aerator is designed for the lawn care professional and fits commercial zero-turn mowers. The front-mounted aerator saves time and labor, aerating 66,000 square feet per hour at 5 mph, producing 6 holes per square foot up to 3 inches deep. It dispenses loose plugs of soil so there are no messy hard-core plugs to clean up. Six independent floating heads caster while aerating. The aerator attaches to the JRCO mount bar with two clevis pins and has an electric actuator to lift the aerator heads for transport.
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What: Commercial Plus aerator

Description: LESCO introduces the new “Split Drum” aerator. It provides power, control and performance, giving the operator the control to maneuver around trees and shrubs without raising the tines out of the ground. It is powered by a 4-hp Honda engine, mounted on a one-piece frame. Its left and right tine assemblies operate independently for easy maneuverability. With 36 harden tines, its aerating width is 24.375 inches. Heat-treated, close ¾-inch tines provide optimum core extraction.
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Who: Redexim Charterhouse

What: Verti-Core

Description: The Verti-Core is available in three sizes to accommodate varying working widths, including 4.2 feet, 5.6 feet and 6.9 feet. An easy-to use control mechanism allows you to adjust the tine depth from 1 to 5 inches. A rapid-change feature permits speedy tine changeovers, allowing the Verti-Core to be fitted with a variety of tines, including the popular 3/16-inch needle tines.
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Who: Rock Solid

What: Plugr aerator

Description: Rock Solid Plugr's hole-punching power is generated by a camshaft and engine, driving tines deep into soil with no add-on weights or water drums. The contractor unit has a 30-inch path. Lightweight, with a wide, stable wheel base, Plugr can make 90-degree turns, maneuvering along curves, backup under overhanging trees and manage steeper hills. On sidehills, plug depth is maintained on both sides of the machine. Tines disengage with a hand lever to skip over sprinkler heads on sidewalks without slowing down. Engine options include 5.5-hp Briggs & Stratton Intek or 5-hp Honda.
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Who: Terracare Products Co., Inc.

What: T-144 Terrator

Description: Terracare's T-144 Terrator is equipped with 144 free-swinging tines with individual turf hold-downs. Tines are lowered in and out of the ground by a remote control switch from the driver's seat. The aerator is 36-inches high, has an aerating width of 60 inches and can work through 3 acres per hour. It can be hooked up in a three-gang configuration for even quicker results.
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Who: Textron Golf, Turf & Specialty Products

What: Ryan Lawnaire IV Plus

Description: The new Ryan Lawnaire IV Plus features updated styling, refined ergonomics, easier servicing and increased reliability. Improvements for 2002 include a folding handle for lower transport height and lift grabs. An improved drive train uses a single, heavy-duty chain driving a solid-steel axle mounted on construction-grade ball bearings. Dual weights help increase ground pressure by more than 25 percent and are spring-loaded for easy installation and removal. Tines can penetrate down to 2.75 inches with the water drum filled. With a 19-inch aeration width, the aerator can cover up to 28,975 square feet per hour.
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Who: The Toro Co.

What: ProCore 660 aerator

Description: The ProCore 660 covers a 60-inch swath and produces an excellent hole quality due to the unique RotaLink centering mechanism. RotaLink requires no maintenance and ensures that tines remain vertical as they enter and exit the ground, producing a consistently circular hole while the tractor moves forward. No timing to tractor is required for operation or to vary hold spacing patterns. Simply speed up or slow down to change hole pattern from 1-inch to 5-inch spacings. Individually floating turf holders keep the turf secure as the tine is withdrawn, preventing turf lift and maintaining a true and level surface.
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Who: Turfco Direct

What: Aerator Pro 26

Description: Turfco's Aerator Pro 26 weight system has been reconfigured to improve maneuverability and tine penetration while reducing operator fatigue. The 28-pound weight formerly located in the front of the Pro 26 has been removed and two 15-pound weights have been added directly over the axle to improve balance and general operation. Welded to the one-piece frame, the new weight system reduces vibration noise. The Pro 26 is a tough aerator with external drive components, fewer moving parts and an industrial-grade engine.
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All the irrigation and fertilization in the world won't result in lush, manageable turf if your soil is compacted. Compacted soils have less pore space and increased density, resulting in lower soil-oxygen levels as well as decreased water and nutrient movement. In essence, compaction smothers turf, making it less tolerant to stress and more susceptible to weeds, insect infestation and disease. Causes of soil compaction are various, and include traffic, wet soil and a management program that does not include aeration.


Most soil compaction problems in turf occur just below turf's surface, in the top three inches of soil. However, deep soil compaction or “plow pans” can occur where equipment traffic is heavy, or culitvation occurs repeatedly at the same depth. Compaction is especially prevalent in clay-based soils. Sandy or drier soils are more resistant to compaction (but certainly not immune).


Depending on the needs of your turf, you may decide to perform core aeration, which removes a small core or “plug” of soil from the ground, leaving a hole in turf. Or you may decide to aerate using solid tines that vibrate or “kick” as they penetrate the earth and lift or fracture the soil layers to break up compaction. Whichever you choose will depend on the degree of soil compaction of your turf, and how deeply you need to aerate. Both methods have pros and cons that you should take into consideration.

In general, core aeration improves turf growing conditions near the surface by loosening soil and reducing thatch. This is the typical choice for residential and commercial turf care. Solid-tine aerators (as well as deep hollow tine units) are more effective at solving drainage problems that result from deeper compacted layers. These more often find use on golf courses and sports fields.

Solid tine/shatter-core aerators


  • Deeper penetration and more aggressive action for deeply compacted, poorly draining soil (some of these machines penetrate as deep as 24 inches).

  • Requires no clean up of cores following aeration.

  • Can use this method of aeration during most seasons.


  • Doesn't offer as much beneficial microbial action because this method does not mix soil and thatch.

Hollow tine/core aerators


  • Opens up the root zone and encourages root growth.

  • Increases microbial action in the soil.

  • The soil cores break down and integrate into the thatch to speed up its decomposition.


  • Cleaning up cores before turf use (such as on golf greens or sports fields).

  • Dense core cultivation may increase turf stress during drought conditions.

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