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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Frontier Aerator that I'm really struggling with. I've tried 4 or 5 times over the last two years to get it to throw plugs like it should but it just doesn't work. The steel spoons just get packed tight with dirt and it just pokes holes in the ground. The dirt gets so tightly packed in the tips that it's actually challenging to dislodge the dirt with a large flat head screw driver. If anything, it seems like it's working like more of a compactor since it doesn't leave the plugs on top of the soil. I've tried varying amounts of weight on the unit and also tried varying states of moisture in the soil. I just can't get it to throw plugs. Any ideas? Here are some pics of the spoons and how it just seems to poke holes and not eject any soil. or plugs.
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I'm a bit of a neophyte with my aerator but have found it's incredibly sensitive to ground moisture. Just right and the plugs come through. Too wet and it just mushes down. Too dry and it won't penetrate without more weight than I'm willing to put on it.

It's also sensitive to speed. Generally slower is better on my ground but of course too slow takes forever. Those are really the only parameters you control- ground moisture, weight and speed. Play with them and you will find a sweet spot.

Treefarmer
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do you have any weight on it? What are the soil conditions like when you aerate? What type of soil do you have?
I've tried variations of weight. Everything from no weight at all to about 250 pounds. My soil is black dirt.

It's so ineffective at ejecting plugs and the dirt gets so tightly packed in the tips of the spoons that it has me wondering if there is a defect in their design. I suppose that is unlikely tho.
 

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I have heard that running a core aerator in an area of sand before using it in soil will clean off the rust inside the spoons. And that a thin layer of rust is what hangs up the plugs.

If you are able to get in touch with someone in local golf course grounds maintenance, ask about this and any other tips they might have for your particular location in Iowa. Or, visit a few golf course grounds web sites.
 

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I'm a bit of a neophyte with my aerator but have found it's incredibly sensitive to ground moisture. Just right and the plugs come through. Too wet and it just mushes down. Too dry and it won't penetrate without more weight than I'm willing to put on it.

It's also sensitive to speed. Generally slower is better on my ground but of course too slow takes forever. Those are really the only parameters you control- ground moisture, weight and speed. Play with them and you will find a sweet spot.

Treefarmer

:: DOUBLE PLUS THIS ::

Can't say it enough - proper moisture makes all of the difference in the world. It's the hell of renting these machines, because if the soil isn't right you have this trouble. Proper aeration is certainly a timing issue, I learned through experience the hard way.

I find the Ventrac "aeravator" to be an interesting concept in it's adjustability and lack of plugs left behind, although I did get good results getting towed behind a Billy Goat (the only way I can describe running a good walk behind aerator) once the moisture issue was dealt with.
 

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I wonder if it is worth a spray of that deck coating stuff or some Teflon spray inside the spoons
Petroleum based products usually.... don't do good things (kill it) to grass/lawns. Putting them on a mower deck to help prevent buildup of what's already cut, versus intentionally forcing it in to the soil with a spoon. Not sure this would provide the results intended with aeration.
 

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All aerators will hang plugs, depending on the soil type. My aerator is as good as the Frontier and results will vary. Wait until the ground temp is above 60 degrees for best result, but don't wait past the point where there is no moisture. It's about 2-3 weeks too soon up here in the Northeast, but when you see the red buds on the oak trees have at it.

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for your input. Typically this time of year there is a lot of moisture in the soil, but we haven't had rain in a little over a week so the soil is dry. With our next rain, projected for Wednesday, I think I will wait maybe two days after the rain and start to experiment and see if it's all just moisture content that is giving me trouble. I'm sure mother nature won't cooperate fully with my experiment but I'll keep trying and see if I can figure out the right conditions for it to throw plugs.
 

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A drill and drill bit will help to remove the stuck compacted plugs from the aerator spoons.
 
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A drill and drill bit will help to remove the stuck compacted plugs from the aerator spoons.
LOL, make sure it's a bit you don't want to use on something else. Either that or plan on sharpening it.

Treefarmer
 

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I thought that a brush like is used on battery terminals might polish the interior and let the plugs pass through,
 

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Just might mention from my steel punch and die experience from my employ, we normally build in clearance in the die ( in this case the inside of the tube of your plug cutter) a small distance behind where the cutting occurs.

A lot of work, but maybe try altering one of the rows of of plug cutters by prying the exit side of the tube wider than the front of the cutting edge. This should make the plug a smaller diameter than the hole it must pass through to get out of the tube.
Try it on one row or one tube and see if it helps?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A lot of work, but maybe try altering one of the rows of of plug cutters by prying the exit side of the tube wider than the front of the cutting edge. This should make the plug a smaller diameter than the hole it must pass through to get out of the tube.
Try it on one row or one tube and see if it helps?
I had wondered about trying that as well. I don't have a set of calipers but I was also thinking about getting a reasonably priced caliper and checking to see if the exit area of the spoon is winder that the entry area. I doubt there is a manufacturing error but you just never know.
 

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I'd call them, here in this short video.
It seems like it's all about right moisture +speed+weight on it.

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The farmers here will understand my thinking, it kinda of like the rotary hoe in corn, guy thinks man I need to hoe my corn but too wet , then by the time he does it is way to hard or dry, sane with aerating I’ve fpound it a narrow window for perfect plugging and here it is in the fall or right after frost leaves my lesco does the same thing in less than ideal conditions
 

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How fast are you going, too slow and they won't come out. Yes soil moisture has to be right but you also have to move at a good clip.
 
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Im interested in your answer of black dirt. Black like topsoil, or? As for cleaning the rust, Dremel makes a small wire wheel that fits in there. As for a lubricant, maybe some Pam vegetable oil spray
 
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