Allen V-Star linear aerator

Hydrostatic drive, electric start, variable hydraulic blade lift: this machine boasts all the latest technology.

Made in the US by Smithco and imported by Allen Power of Didcot, Oxfordshire, this machine brings us right up to date with the latest thinking in terms of aeration. Yes, you could argue that it’s a deep scarifier or de-thatcher, but the aggressive cutting of this unit puts it firmly in the class of linear aerators. And linear aeration is increasingly recognised as an essential part of turf maintenance.
Keeping the surface open for water infiltration and oxygen diffusion is vital to the health of the soil and the turf. Even a thin layer of compaction at the surface will reduce infiltration and diffusion rates. It is this zone, being organic-rich, where the demand for oxygen is greatest. Ignore it at your peril.
Relative to many independently powered aeration machines, at just under £5,000, the V-Star comes with a seemingly high price tag. But you get a lot for your money — as our testers discover.
The machine is capable of working at depths down to 38mm. Three blade sets will create slits of different widths and remove varying amounts of thatch at the same time. The standard reel comprises two-millimetre wide, tungsten, carbide-tipped blades. The slits are suitable for seeding and dressing.
On the test day, the V-Star takes out a lot of dead thatch. Because of the very soft conditions it also throws out a fair bit of mud, but we are able to observe that the slits created are to a uniform depth. We reckon in drier conditions this ought to give the results needed for aerating and cleaning the surface of the turf — though a collector could be handy.
Unlike its competitors, the V-Star has electric start. Starting up the machine and bringing the 13hp Honda GX390 engine into life is as simple as turning a key. There is a recoil starting mechanism as back-up in the event of a flat battery. Operating and controlling the V-Star is a breeze. It has hydrostatic drive and our testers find the reverse gear really handy when turning the machine.
The variable hydraulic electric mechanism lowers the blades at a flick of lever. Give it another flick and the blades lift out of the ground with no effort. Working depth can be locked off so that the blades never go deeper than the pre-set amount.
One tester says: “The V-Star is well built and with its rear castor wheel, it is easy to manoeuvre. Control of the machine is very positive and the depth control impressive.”

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