After years of working on my yard I have a few inches of good topsoil. Unfortunately, everything under those 3 is solid clay. Ive dug down over 4 trying to get past it to allow my yard to drain better, but still no luck.
Recommend this product?
After reading up a good bit on how to help improve my soil I discovered that by punching holes into the soil I can aerate it. This will allow air and my fertilizer to get to the roots of my plants, thus breaking up some of the clay and allowing my plants and grass to grow better. There are large machines that do this job that are quite expensive, but I decided to go the less expensive route and try this tool, even if it was going to require more work. Well, it not only required more work it also required that I go rent a large aerator from Home Depot anyway.
The Yard Butler Core Aerator is a 40 long tool with 2 open ended hardened steel tips. A bar that crosses these two tips allows the user to step on it and force the spiked tips into the ground. In theory two plugs measuring about ½ wide and 3 long are supposed to come out the top and leave two holes in the lawn.
Once multiple holes are punched throughout the yard, fertilizer and soil amendments such as compost can be added. These will fall into the holes and reach down into the soil deeper than would have been possible before aerating the soil.
The tool itself is very sturdy and the vinyl grips prevent uncomfortable rubbing and blistering on the hands. I personally would still use gloves. At about 4 lbs it is not heavy, but it still is a very sturdy feeling tool.
Why I do not like it
After punching about 6 holes or so the tips become clogged with clay. I spent 20 minutes unclogging them with a screw driver and after about 6 more holes I had to repeat the process. Basically every 5 minutes of actual work with this tool required 20 minutes of cleaning it to get it to work properly again. The last time I attempted to clean it out I was unable to. The clay is jammed so well into the holes that I cannot get it out no matter how much I try. The tool is now useless to me and I didnt get to even aerate half of my yard.
I also had to jump up and down on this thing to get it to even punch holes in the first place. I later attempted to soak the yard to soften it up a little and still had difficulty getting the tips to properly penetrate the soil. They are just not designed well enough or are not sharp enough to get proper penetration without a lot of elbow or should I say leg grease.
Maybe my soil had just too much clay for this to work, but clay and compacted soils are what this tool is supposed to be designed for. If your soil is not so compacted and filled with clay it might work better for you. If you have nice soft soil though you probably wont need it.
I rented an aerator at Home Depot for about $60 for the day and it worked like a charm. It was heavy and extremely bulky, but it did a great job. My soil still has a lot of clay down there, but everything is growing much better than it once did.
I was not even able to complete half of my yard before this tool became unusable. The tips of this never did really penetrate the soil like they were designed to. I had to jump up and down on it several times in parts of my yard just to get this thing to penetrate the soil. It might work if you have less compacted soil, but if thats the case you probably do not need it anyway. My advice for to people with compacted or clay filled soil is to spend the money and rent the aerator and avoid this little tool.
The Fiskars post hole digger did a great job penetrating my clay soil.