Core aeration is one of the most effective ways to care for your grass. Pulling away those small earth plugs allows water and nutrients to permeate more profound into the soil, requiring less watering and fertilization. Most importantly, aeration allows roots to grow, making your grass more tolerant to adverse situations like drought or high temperatures. So what’s the bad news? Aerators are expensive, inconvenient to store, and only used once or twice a year. While individuals with small yards may be able to get by with a cheap, easy-to-store hand aerator, the vast majority of DIYers would be better off renting rather than buying a lawn aerator.
What Are Aeration’s Advantages?
Aeration can help your lawn in a variety of ways, including:
1. Aeration allows oxygen, water, and nutrients to move through and reach the roots by breaking up compacted soil layers. A single aeration service can allow these essentials to reach the roots of your lawn, restoring it to its former glory.
2. It lowers the likelihood of thatch formation.
3. It will produce the ideal conditions for overseeding.
4. In stressful environments, such as heat and limited rainfall, lawns struggle. Aeration can prevent your property from becoming thinning and withering.
When Should I Rent a Lawn Aerator?
In general, aerate your grass right before the growing season begins. Aerated lawns with early-growing, cool-season grass should be done in the late fall or early spring, whereas warm-season grass should be done in the late spring. If you’re not sure when your grass’s growing season is, go ahead and assume it’s in the early spring. When the ground is wet but not saturated, aerate the day following a moderate rain. When you’re dealing with a bouncing, jolting machine and there’s not enough water, it’s going to be a long day. When there’s too much water in the machine, it gets messy, with water gushing out and the plugs turning to mud. If you’re renting during a dry spell, make sure to water the lawn the day before.
The following criteria should be considered when deciding between renting or buying a lawn aerator:
1. Size of lawn – Smaller lawns can usually be handled with a rental, but more extensive lawns that require a riding mower can benefit from acquiring a pull-behind aerator.
2. Frequency of aeration – Aerating heavily compacted soil more frequently is beneficial, making purchasing an aerator a better option than renting.
3. Cost over time – Consider the cost of renting versus buying equipment over five years, as well as the frequency of use.
4. Ability to pick up and return rentals – If you have to borrow a pickup truck or trailer every time you rent, buying might be a better option.
5. Distance from a rental location – Finally, think about how close you are to a rental center. Buying may be the preferable option depending on the distance.
What Type of Lawn Aerator to Rent?
A plug aerator, which draws a little cylinder of earth from the earth, is something to watch for. Spike aerators do not remove the plug. While spike aerators allow water and nutrients to enter the hole, they leave the soil immediately surrounding the hole considerably more compacted than before.
· Pull-behind– If you already own a riding lawnmower, this is an excellent option because it is less expensive to rent than a motorized aerator. Like this one from Brinly, a pull-behind model attaches to the back of a riding lawn mower and can be towed about while cutting the lawn or aerating the soil. They’re ideal for more extensive lawns that would otherwise take an eternity to mow by hand. To avoid leaving pockmarks when crossing the driveway or sidewalk, look for one with at least two height settings — one for aeration and one for transportation.
· Gas Powered– These machines resemble a push mower or a snowblower in appearance, but they are more challenging to use. They are heavy, noisy, and challenging to transport, but they are good options for DIYers without a riding lawnmower.
· Electric-Electric aerators run on a battery or power cable; Because they lack the force of gas-powered machines and the weight required for successful coring, most spike aerators are designed for light-duty operations. In addition, an electric aerator is easier to move and use, and they’re frequently less expensive to rent than a gas aerator.
How Much Does A Lawn Aerator Rental Cost?
I got quotes from three different places in the area, and they ranged from $99 to $110 per day. At $69 for 4 hours, Home Depot was the cheapest option for a rapid turnaround. However, when you include pickup and dropoff, that doesn’t give much time for aeration.
Cost Over Time Of Renting Vs. Buying A Lawn Aerator
If your lawn is healthy and compacted, you’ll generally only need to aerate every couple of years. It will take a lifetime to recuperate your expenses to the point where buying is justified. Renting is almost probably a better option. However, if you have compacted soil and plan to aerate two or three times each year (clay soil can benefit from this), the math becomes a little more complicated.
Renting Equipment and Returning It.
I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t particularly appreciate renting gas-powered machinery. Yard machines are heavy by nature, so I’m constantly concerned that they won’t be adequately secured in my trailer, and when I bring it home, I’m afraid it won’t start. As a result, my viewpoints here are slightly skewed, but I’ll do my best to remain neutral. The most important thing to remember is that you will be responsible for picking up the lawn aerator from the rental site and returning it after you are finished with it (in most circumstances). This implies you’ll need a vehicle, a trailer, or a favor from a buddy.
Avoid gimmicks like spike aeration and use these recommendations to determine whether renting or buying a lawn aerator is the best option. Compared to renting, purchasing a tow-behind aerator for larger yards that are best suited to riding mowers can pay for itself in just a few years. Smaller yards are more challenging to manage, and each of the reasons I’ve mentioned must be considered. There are just a few circumstances in which acquiring a gas-powered lawn aerator is justified. When you have a small yard, you’ll almost always be better off renting or hiring someone to perform the task for you.