A: Working speed for aeration will depend not just on which machine you use but also how you set it up, the conditions on the day and - most importantly - what you are trying to achieve and where.
For pitches and other sizeable grassed areas, you need to look at tractor-mounted equipment for efficiency. Aerators based on a revolving drum with slitter knives will give the fastest performance, with machines such as the Sisis slitter easily covering a full-sized football pitch in 20 minutes. You can also use machines such as the Imants Rotoknife with good tractor speeds.
Slitting is useful for frequent aeration, as a back-up for deep aeration practices or as a quick fix on large areas. If compaction is deep or intense, where you need to really open up the soil or in those situations where you want to amend the root zone by brushing top dressing into aeration holes, you need to use a vertical-action aerator such as Charterhouse's Verti-Drain or the Weidenmann TerraSpikes.
By their very nature, vertical-action aerators will be a lot slower. If the tractor moves too quickly, the tine will not have time to punch the soil and be extracted before it has dragged the surface into an elliptical hole and in some cases torn the turf. Ultimately, speed will depend on the tine, the depth to which the tine is going and the hole-pattern you want to achieve.
Manufacturers of verticalaction aerators continually seek to develop equipment that can punch and withdraw tines faster, while still maintaining close spacing and a good working firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Drury has been reporting on product developments and testing kit for 29 years. The advice given in this helpline is independent.