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Lawn aerator - clogged!

Hi all! 

Being dutiful and doing my autumn lawncare.  I bought a hollow-tine aerator to spike the lawn but am managing about half a sqm at a time until one or more of the tines clogs up.  It then takes ages to clear them out, so I'm after your experience on

How to avoid it clogging in the first place

Handy tips to clear it when it does

Background is that I've got sandy soil which is likely very compacted as it gets plenty of traffic and has never been aerated before while we've been here and possibly never!  So it seems to grind itself into the tines and stay there. 

I tined a small area in summer and had to hammer the thing in.  The soil's now softish: it just takes me getting on the thing and using my weightfor it to go in pretty much to the top and throw out cores.  Until it clogs...

For the clogging question, I understand WD40 sprayed into the tines is one option; I've also tried grease but that didn't work.  Could I gloss-paint the insides of the cores and then WD40 them?  Or varnish them?  Would filing the insides more smooth help?  Does sharpening the end bits help with clogging or does that just make it easier work?

For the clearing, does water help?  Has anyone found a pressuren-type method (Karcher?) which works?!

Thanks in advance!



  • Crikey - no takers - first for me on here!

  • I've never found those manual hollow tine aerators to be of any use at all for the reasons you mention plus the aching back which occurs after trying ... And that was when I was younger, fitter and stronger. I returned to using a border fork to spike the lawn ... Nowadays I use an electric lawn rake and scarifier. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thanks Dove - yes, I'm tempted to agree!  I'll have one crack at it this autumn across the whole lawn to try and alleviate some of the compaction, but can't see it being a regular / annual job given the issues.  May have a go once a year on heavily used areas but they'll have to be small!

    Any further experiences from anyone welcome!

  • Thanks all! 

    To help others getting aerated with aeration, I found application of a Karcher pressure washer cleared the tines and enabled extraction of a load of soil out of my compacted lawn which should help the worms and grass roots breathe.  As I noted before, I won't be doing it every year, but I think it was worth the effort and we'll see in spring whether it's done any good!

    Mike's obv not keen on them, but I wouldn't call the aerator expensive at £10 from Wilko's, and, apart from the cleaning, was completely effective.  I suspect I responded to the thread he mentions to point out that putting sand into the holes you've painfully dug out seems to me to defeat the object entirely, especially on a sandy soil, so I haven't done that.  It may do some good on a heavier soil but then it still wouldn't be aeration, rather soil improvement.

  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 4,213

    Hi there,

    Has anyone tried this contraption: ?

    Please note that my post is NOT an ad for that company. I am genuinely interested in real users' opinions. The question asked by the OP remains, viz. would those tines clog?image

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,296

    My neighbour had a lawn care company come to revive his lawn.

    They used something similar to this

    It took about 40 minutes to complete on a lawn about 120ft x 40ft and along with the dressing etc it has made a big difference

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • MKRMKR Posts: 1
    edited April 2018
    I'm thinking of getting a hollow tine aerator so looked at customer reviews for those with the most stars/number of reviews -  there you will find lots of tips on how to get the best use of these tools, unclogging and cleaning.
  • Just bough a draper aerator,I have a heavy clay garden & no cores from it come up whatsoever , unless I can find a way for the cores to come out of it ! I would’ve been better off just using my garden fork. Does anyone know what the process is after making the holes in the garden? I was thinking of brushing manure and sharp sand into them or should I just leave the holes? 
  • SueAtooSueAtoo Posts: 376
    Having a large lawn I'm looking at hiring an aerator, seen one that comes with both spikes and core removers. It suggests it's best to use when ground is soft so maybe soon is a good time after this rain after scarifying first. I couldn't even get a fork into the ground earlier!
    East Dorset, new (to me) rather neglected garden.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,837
    Yes - hard ground is no use to tackle that job @SueAtoo.
    It's normally grit that's best for brushing into the holes @mwebb7111.  The wrong kind of sand will make things worse. I doubt you'd be able to brush manure into holes.
    The clay should come out with the aerator, so I'd be slightly concerned that, if that isn't happening, you'll just be compacting the soil more. Grit would certainly be a better option in that case.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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