aerating lawn: anyone try those shoes?

Speaking of aerating lawns (dog safe fertilizer) has anyone ever tried those strap on aerating shoes? I have been intimidated to try them as 1) my feet are a size 6.5 and I just don't see any of the "one size fits most" models fitting my tiny feet and 2) last year the yard was so hard after the drought I thought if I was able to puncture the ground I would never get past the first step.
My questions: has anyone tried them? Would anyone recommend using them? And if so, has anyone seen a model that comes in various sizes? If not the shoes do most folks pay a company to come out and aerate the lawn, or rent the machine from a home improvement type store, etc...?
Thanks in advance for you advice! Heidi Raleigh, NC
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Hi Heidi,
They're not worthless, but only slightly less so. :o)
Your best bet is to rent a mechanical core aerator in which plugs of soil are removed and deposited on the soil surface. Tines that do not do that can cause more harm than good as they further compact the soil around the tine as it plunges into the soil. Sure, you're created a 'hole', hwoever the soil around the hole has been compacted in order to creat that space, Not good, imho.
I usually rent the machine, and then do my neighbor's lawns as well, thereby mitigating the cost of the rental somewhat.
Dave

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wrote:

Latest issue of 'Organic Gardening' had a note on aerating, agreeng completely with David and Warren. They further mentioned leaving the extracted cores to dry a few days, then mowing over them to break up and redistribute this material.
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And, if you're feeling *really* adventurous, laying down a good top dressing of high quality top soil either before or just after you core aerate (I can't decide which is best, yet) will really improve the soil as well.

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I wouldn't use topsoil. I'd use compost. To be very specific, I'd use fungal compost, instead of bacterial. Trees and turf do much better when you can add mycorrhizae, and when you add fungal based compost, you do just that. Or, buy some of the mycorrhizae which is easy to buy these days and put a small amount into the holes, or mix with the compost before spreading it to fill the core holes. I don't recommend doing this before aerating. I do it after I've aerated.
Victoria

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Yes, if you could find it in sufficient quantities I would use that myself, no question.
Dave

tried
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If people don't want the bother of renting, it truly is very inexpensive to have done by someone who comes and goes. Price may vary by state, but it's not an expensive thing (we paid 40 dollars) and you really only need do it about once every two years. More often is better, but even with that, one time a year is truly enough. To make it a far more benefit, topdressing with compost is an excellent way to add organic matter to turf and tree roots.
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