Lawn Plug Aerators: How to Protect Your Sprinklers From Them | Ep. 169

 Close up of a lawn plug aerator on grass
Lawn plug aerators are a great way to give your yard some breathing room, but they damage sprinkler heads. (stock.adobe.com)

A lawn plug aerator is an efficient tool to keep your lawn healthy and looking great. But before you start poking holes to give your grass some breathing room, it’s important to protect your sprinklers.


About Lawn Plug Aerators

A lawn plug aerator penetrates the lawn’s surface and removes a core (or plug) of grass and soil. This loosens up the soil and allows the grassroots to breathe, ensuring they receive enough water and nutrients. The tool is also used for fertilizing and seeding. 

Lawn aerators are great for large yards with highly compacted soil. For smaller lawns, a spike aerator — which just penetrates the lawn, but removes no soil — is an alternative.

Despite their high performance with one job (aeration), lawn plug aerators have one big downside. If you’re not careful, they can easily tear up your underground sprinkler system.

How to Protect Sprinklers from Aerators

Before you use a lawn plug aerator, go to the home center and buy some flags.

Then, turn on your sprinkler system and find all the sprinkler heads throughout the yard. Mark them with the flags so you know which areas to avoid while aerating.

Lawn plug aerators typically don’t penetrate far into the soil — they usually just go about three inches deep.

Most irrigation lines are at least 5-6 inches deep. To be sure you don’t do any damage, you can dig around a sprinkler head until you reach the drainage line and measure the depth. 

Finally, while aerating, be cautious and leave plenty of room around the sprinkler heads. 

Skip to [21:27] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also on this episode:


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Simple Solutions

Fast Fix for Stripped Screw Holes — Here’s a quick and clever way to fix a stripped screw hole using a cable tie (a.k.a.: zip-tie). 

  • First, remove the screw from the stripped hole, then snip off the end of a cable tie, which is smooth. For this tip, you need to use the ridged part of the cable tie. 
  • Press the snipped end of the cable tie into the hole until it bottoms out. 
  • Then, cut the cable tie to length, matching the depth of the screw hole. Put the piece of cable tie into the stripped screw hole, then drive in the screw. 

The ridges in the cable tie give the screw something to bite into, securely holding the screw in place.  

Watch: Fast Fix for a Stripped Screw Hole

Homemade furniture polish — Make an affordable, nontoxic furniture polish by mixing 1 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/8 cup of lemon juice. 

Pour the solution into a plant mister and spray it onto wood surfaces. Rub in circles with a dry cotton cloth to remove dust, dirt and grime. 

Then, use a second cloth to polish the surface in straight lines parallel with the direction of the wood grain.  

Remove scratches by rubbing with walnut.

Watch: How to Make Furniture Polish & Remove Scratches


Question of the Week

Q: I’m installing a new mailbox. How deep and wide should I dig the hole, and how do I mix the concrete for it? 

A: For a mailbox post, you’ll typically use a 4-by-4 or 6-by-6 post. You should dig the hole at least three times wider than the post and at least two feet deep. 

At least a third of the post should be below ground. The United States Postal Service requires mailboxes to be 41-45 inches above the ground, so take this into consideration when buying the post.

To set the post with concrete, use a bag of Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix. Just pour the dry concrete mix into the hole and pour water on top until the mix is saturated. Watch how to do this here.

You can also try Sika PostFix. It’s a two-part expanding polyurethane foam that fills the post hole and hardens in three minutes. All you have to do is roll the bag to mix up the foam, snip off the corner, and pour it into the hole. 

Skip to [29:20] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.



Further Reading


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