My house is no more than about twelve years old. But it is built on a slight gradient meaning that in our back garden, when it rains, we can get a bit of a small flood right slap bang outside our patio doors.
So far, this hasn't proved to be a problem as it always stops below the level of the door but I can see it maybe being a problem in the future with projected increased rainfall forecast in our area over the next few years due to global issues, so decided I needed a solution!
I had never really heard of an Aerator before until my mother-in-law suggested I buy one. Available from all good D.I.Y/ Gardening stores, it is designed essentially to do as the name suggests and help your soil/ garden/lawn breathe more easily and get more air.
At its most basic it is just a metal frame with a series of around five spikes at its end, officially known as Tines. The idea being that you walk about the area you want to areate and punch holes in the ground with the Aerator.
This, as you can imagine, can be a lengthy and time-consuming process but if you don't have a very big gsarden like me, then it is probably not worth your while investing in either an electric or petrol one! I have also been advised thsat those with rollers attached, presumably to make the job quicker and easier, are really not worth their salt because they take so much force to actually get them going and are not really that effective in any case that they are a bit of a waste of money!
This Aerator cost me just under £18 from Homebase but other varieties were available.
But the big question is....has it worked?
Well, it has been raining today and, considering I used this at the weekend to put holes in my lawn and hopefully trap some of the rain, so far no rising flood outside my patio door. I have been advised that I might have to do this every couple of weeks or at least once a month for it to continue to be an effective way of stopping rainfall gathering at my door but, aside from the fact that it was a bit time-consuming actually using it, it seems so far to have done a good job!
Gardening is a little like 'marmite' in the way that most people either love it or hate it.
I grew up with my parents practically living in the garden, where they would spend all their spare time nurturing their garden, attending to flowers and plants, cutting, trimming and treating the lawns and the trees, and fighting a constant battle with the algae in the pond. I would often say to them that I could not understand why they spent so much of their free time in the garden, and swore that I would never be the same!
When I first got my house, I was intent on having a basic lawn, with a couple of pots so that it would be very low maintenance, and easy to keep. As the years have ticked by though, I have gradually morphed into my parents (not just with the balding head), in terms of my love for my garden, and I am finding that I spend more and more time in there each year to keep it looking as good as I can. When I visit my parents now, I always get talking to them about gardening, trying to find out their tips and secrets to a good lawn, and it was just this springtime when we got talking about Aerators.
The problem that I had with my lawn was moss!
It had started in a small patch in a shaded area by the fence, and gradually taken over about a third of my lawn! My dad instantly said that it needed and aerator or scarifier on it. I had previously kind of inherited my grandma's old aerator, and had tried to use it a few times, but found it useless, so stopped using it and gave it to the rag and bone man. It was very old and rusty, but the problem I had was that it was a roller type, and as such the spikes would not sink into the ground at all, so it wasn't really doing anything. My dad told me that he had seen some good ones (of a different style) in our local garden centre on offer, and so a few days later I went to get one.
Just from looking at the Parasene Hollow Tine Aerator I instantly knew that this was going to do a far better job of getting stuck into my lawn than my old rusty roller aerator did. I paid £18:99 for it, reduced from £24:99, and it must be my most useful and successful garden purchase of all time.
My dad had explained to me why these things were so good, but I was a little skeptical about it. I had always thought they were just used to put a bit of air into the lawn, and to a degree that is primarily what they do.
The idea of an aerator (or scarifier as they are sometimes known) is to press numerous hollow spikes vertically into the lawn which basically creates a series of deep (8-10 cm) holes in the ground. As the spikes go into the ground, they cut a hole in the soil, taking out a section of soil which is eventually pushed out of the top of the aerator. The purpose of this (like I mentioned above) is that it creates a hole in the soil to allow air to get down into the soil and stops it from becoming too waterlogged. Secondly, it allows the water from the surface to drain away, which in turn reduces the damp conditions on the surface that are the main cause of the dreaded moss!
My house was only built about 6 years ago, as part of a large estate of houses by Persimmon builders, and it has to be said that when I laid the turf down, the soil (if that is what you can call it) under the thin layer of top soil that I added to sit the turf on was more like clay. This has meant that any rain that falls on my lawn doesnt really have anywhere to drain to, as the clay keeps it on the surface, which makes perfect conditions for moss to breed. The areator is therefore used to combat this problem.
The Parasene hollow tine aerator is just like the one shown in the picture above. It almost looks like a kind of walking frame, and is constructed from a strong metal with dimensions of 900 mm high by 300 mm wide, which is green in colour and is powder coated to help to stop it from rusting.
At the bottom of the framework there are 5 evenly spaced hollow spikes (or tines as they are called), and each one of these tines is 100 mm long. Above the tines there is a metal bar which is used to press onto with your foot (or feet if the ground is extremely hard) which in turn pushes the tines into the ground, and creates the holes. The framework can then be pulled back out of the ground, and the whole process repeated about a pace away untill the whole garden has been aerated.
~~~~~ My opinion of the Parasene Hollow Tine Aerator ~~~~~
If I was to compare this aerator to my previous one, there would be no competition at all. I suspect that the same can be said for most other roller style aerators mainly due to the design. Yes the roller ones are a lot easier to use, but do they actually penetrate the ground more than a few mm's? It is so difficult to get the pressure required on the shaft of the roller to get the spikes deep into the ground.
The design of the Parasene aerator is superb in comparison, as the frame design gets the users whole body weight above the tines. The design also works great when it comes to storage, as it just hangs on a hook flat against the wall in my shed, as opposed to a bulky roller style aerator which takes up quite a bit more room.
I have used my Parasene Aerator on my lawn several times now, and there is a marked improvement to the moss. It thinned out very quickly, and is now almost gone completely. On top of this the drainage has improved a lot, which makes hanging out the washing a lot cleaner job on a dryer lawn. I suppose this should be the result of any good aerator or scarifier though?
What I really like about the Parasene aerator is the build quality. It is really sturdy and strong making it more than capable of holding my weight each time I stand on the framework to press the tines into the ground. The framework works well enabling you to hold on well as pressure is applied to the metal foot bar, and it is easy to grip onto to pull it back out of the ground again (giving it a bit of a wobble or shake as you do so helps to get it out easier).
Although my aerator is less than 6 months old, and has only been used a handful of times, it does still look like new, and I suspect that it will stand the test of time very well indeed.
My advice when using this (or any other aerator) is to make sure you wear some good strong footwear to protect the feet against any possible 'mis-aiming' of the tines - preferably metal toe capped but certainly not flip-flops! Also I guess it is fairly obvious that these things are much easier to use on a wet lawn (regardless of design), as the tines do go into the ground a lot easier when the ground is soft. If the soil is dry and hard it is difficult to get the tines to go very deep into the ground, and so it is well worth waiting for a good spell of rain before setting about the task of aerating the garden.
It is a time consuming task, and takes quite a bit of effort, but it is well worth it based on the results I have seen in my garden, and if anyone is considering buying an Aerator I would recommend spending a few extra pound to get a deent one like the Parasene Hollow Tine Aerator.
Highly recommended by me.
Thanks for reading.
© L500589 2011
This was something that that I remembered my granddad using on his lawns many years ago as I used to watch him pacing this device (or an earlier version) around the garden every foot or so creating holes in the ground. And here I am all these years later doing the same with my Parasene Aerator as my kids watch me. At the time, I thought he was just letting the air get into the soil, but it actually a slightly more scientific process than that.
Grass is a plant that needs water to grow. But with many of the lawns with properties nowadays (depending on where you live), the soil often contains a significant amount of clay, which is next to useless at allowing water to pass through it, meaning that during the rain, much of the water will stay on the surface. Other problems that you commonly find are that garden lawns are often very compacted as well through years of people walking across them, making it more difficult again for water to flow. When the surface of your lawn remains wet or too moist for too long, it can cause the grass to die, a little bit like overwatering a plant is just as bad as under watering it. So as the grass dies, you start to find that that dreaded moss moves in (which loves damp conditions), and then you get that dense green springy moss rapidly growing and spreading across your lawn. It further kills the grass and then you end up with a moss and weed strewn lawn.
So the idea is to create conditions in the soil to allow the water to drain away and allow the water in the soil to dry, and this is where this Parasene Hollow Tine Aerator comes in. Many people have probably never heard of this device, but for around the £20 mark, you get something that is best described as a sort of metal framework that is 36 inches high and 12 inches wide, which is then powder coated to provide some protection from corrosion. At the bottom, you have 5 hollow spikes (or tines as they are called), each being 4 inches long, with the top of each one evenly spaced and mounted to a base plate. Just above this base plate is a cross bar which is the bit you press your foot down onto as you hold and steady the top of the frame.
The idea is that you press these hollow spikes vertically into your lawn every foot or so to create a series of deep holes in the ground. As you push the spikes in, they cut a whole in the soil, taking out a 'plug' of soil which is eventually pushed out of the top. The purpose of this process is twofold. Initially, it creates a hole in the soil to allows air to get down into the soil and thereby prevents it from becoming too waterlogged. Secondly, it allows the water from the surface to drain away, thereby preventing the damp conditions on the surface that would promote moss to grow. If you really want to get the most from this process, the best thing to do is to pour a mixture of sharp sand and fine grit onto the lawn and brush it back and forth over the holes to fill them up. This then keeps the hole channel open to maintain drainage and aeration.
What's this aerator like to use? Well the best time to use it is when the lawn is damp, because it will be somewhat easier to push the spikes into the soil. Hold it upright, foot on the cross bar and press all the way down. Pull out, move about 12 inches forward and repeat the process again and again all over your lawn. So, very simple to use. The only problem you could possibly have with it is if you try to use it where the soil is very dry, where you'll then find it quite hard to push the spikes all the way down, and jumping onto the cross bar to try and force them in will eventually cause it to bend and fail. Durability wise, it also seems to last well. I've had mine for a few years now, and other than a few minor scratches and dents, it still working well. The only 'maintenance' that I ever do is to resharpen the ends of the spikes every so often with a file to ease the cutting process into the ground.
In summary, this can be a laborious process, especially if you have a large lawn, and you can get mechanical aerators that can do the job, but for very much more cost. But if you take a cost to effect comparison, this Parasene Hollow Tine Aerator wins hands down. I've been using this quite a while and my lawns look great with no moss or weeds, but that's because I put the effort in. Hence, if you want great looking lawns and are prepared to do some work, then this aerator comes highly recommended.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
My grandfather has always been a lover of his grass and his top lawn is a site for sore eyes, this love has been passed onto me and whilst my lawn is only half the size of his I do like a well kept lawn.
Grass and lawns
Grass is a plant which grows evenly and spreads very quickly, it does prefer dry and any ground which is prone to waterlog will cause the roots of the grass to fail to establish and lead to other undesirable plants to move in. The perfect conditions is a warm, dry spot with good drainage and without too much of a slope, if all these conditions are met then grass can be trained to grow as a uniform mat and become a pleasure to the eye. So my grandfathers grass lawn is set in the perfect grass growing conditions of east Lincolnshire, dry, warm and flat however I live in Sheffield which is wet, cold and hilly so my lawn is prone to flooding.
Well one is to big out the whole plot, give the soil a decent amount of sand and grit to improve drainage and a decent amount of rich loamy soil or you can buy an aerator which can be used to put holes in the soil to improve drainage. One costs a fortune, is back breaking and the other costs about £15 and takes a few minutes every week guess which one I went for?
So the aerator, as with all aerators it is a large set of metal pegs inserted into an elongated D frame. The top of the D is reinforced and allows for pressure to be applied inserting the pegs into the group. Pushing the pegs in will improve the drainage but you don't want to overdo either in terms of too many holes or too deep because again they would lead to water getting into the grasses root system. This piece of equipment has 5 pegs about 2 inches apart and if applied to a wet area will allow the water to be drained into the soil.
As with all pieces of garden equipment you do wonder if you need to buy it as a rake or garden fork would do the job as efficiently but in this case a fork can be overused and cause too deep a hole and a rake too shallow. So if you have a big lawn prone to bogginess then an aerator is useful if you want to prevent moss growing in your lawn and to try and gain a uniform lawn. So £15 might seem a bit of a punt for a piece of equipment which on the surface seems a bit of a niche market but if you have a large lawn then it's money very well spent, an aerator used every 1-2 weeks will significantly improve the quality of your lawn.
The parasene aerator is available at most decent stores.
The Parasene hollow tine aerator is something I have owned for a number of years now and is stored in my garage throughout the year apart from when in use. You could be forgiven for expecting an aerator to be of the traditional design which is a wheeled unit, but this aerator is very different. The first advantage of having this style and design of aerator is that you can target a particular area of your lawn, and apply pressure according to your preferences. You can vary the depth of aeration as and when you need to, and this appealed to me upon purchase.
I have found the aerator very effective, especially for deep aeration and on soil that a conventional wheeled areator may struggle. The tines are around 10cm long with the whole aerator measuring a width of 30cm. I would say the only thing that could possibly improve this piece of gardening equipment would be the handle. The top edge could have a rubber coating on it to help with grip and comfort, there could also be an adjustable height feature which would work similarly to that on a lawnmower. At the price of around £20-£25 I feel these features could have been included, and although I did pay this price i think it is a little on the expensive side considering what you are actually getting for your money.
The fact that this product is British made appeals to me very much so, and the 5 tines are still on very good nick considering their use. I would recommend this aerator for any keen gardener and if you suffer from standing pools of water then you could use this effective aerator and fill the voids with sand to aid drainage.
I picked this item up about two years ago, mainly because my lawn was having some problems with one end where water seemed to collect, thus getting alot of moss build up and poor grass coming through, which looked a bit naff in comparison to the rest of the lawn. Actually a friend had recommended using a garden aerator so i went down to a local garden centre and saw a number of aerators, all of which looked quite good but nowhere near as durable as this one, Which generally looked like a good finish product.
This is probably because at this point i was fed up of going for cheaper tools and finding them snap or corrode, having binned a shovel, rake and hoe recently before the purchase.
The aerator worked perfects with a wide heavy frame perfectly capable of being able to penetrate deep into the ground and provide air holes needed for better growth. The spikes are very firm and welded strongly to the frame, so i have no worries about bending or breaking off here. Another great design is the fact that there is a bar above the spikes providing enough room to get your foot behind it to apply some more pressure in ground that may need it.
Its hard to compare tools such as this to do such a simple job in the garden. But i am generally happy with the product and this tools advantages surely lay with the durability of it, with such a strudy contruction and finish to match it will surely stand the test of time unlike some of the tools i have got previous to this!
It is also rather low maintenance, and perhaps maybe for a lick of paint every few years to prevent rusting, its spikes on the bottom of the tool look like they could be sharpened relatively easily if you have the know how!
I must say it wasnt the cheapest of the garden aerators that i saw, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, this is definately a situation for which that phrase applies for. Its a nice tool and would recommend.
Parasene Hollow Tine Aerator
A simple but practical product. The aerator is of steel build, painted black, with 5 tines. The build quality is good and feels firm when being used, not flexing. There is a bar above the tines which you use to push the tines into the ground making it easier to use. The price of the product is good in line with its build quality. We brought this aerator from our local garden centre. There were others on sale but this looked the better and one which would last longer.
The five tines are welded to place and have a sharp cutting edge cut into each. It is possible using a standard hand file to sharpen these tines and give the device a better cutting action and longer life. The handle / body of the aerator are made of tube and gives good rigidity when cutting into the ground. The depth of cut is controlled by the bar the tines are welded to, so this does limit the depth, however we have found the depth more than suitable.
The good bits about this tool is the feel of the build and ease of use, it is not difficult at all to use and the tines will clear themselves out once the next set of holes are cut. It is well made and has given us four years of good service. There really is no down side to this tool, it does what it is suppose to do with no problems. If you occasionally sharpen the tines especially when you hit stones it does maintain a good cutting edge.
Overall it does what it says on the package. Simple, strong, self cleaning and easily stored.
The Parasene Hollow Tine Aerator is an ideal instrument to improve the condition of lawn areas that are prone to poor growth or water logging, dealing with the problem of soil compaction in your lawn.