John Deere 40-Inch Plug Aerator Review

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping, Product Reviews

John Deere Plug Aerator – 40″ Tow Behind Model

John Deere X300 and Core AeratorI recently purchased a John Deere 40-Inch Plug Aerator to tow behind my John Deere X300 riding mower. Lawn Core Aeration is an important lawn care process which removes small plugs of grass, roots and soil. By removing the small plugs oxygen, water and nutrients are allowed to reach the root zone better and promote healthier grass growth.

Here in the northeast the best time to aerate your lawn is late summer / early fall. I plan on aerating the lawn, applying some over seeding, applying the remaining lime that was required from my soil test and finally applying my fall fertilizer.

aerated lawnThe 40-inch plug aerator came shipped in a box which required assembly. Putting together the plug aerator was really quite easy. You can read all about how I assembled it if you’re curious about the steps.

I took a picture of an area of my lawn that has almost no grass so you could see what the plug aerator does. As you can see the “spoons” remove small diameter plugs of soil and grass. Everything I’ve read about aerating lawns says that it works best when the soil is damp (after a mild rain or watering your lawn).

Supplemental Weight

John Deere Core Aerator with Concrete WeightsThe plug aerator is built to hold six 8″x8″x16″ concrete masonry unit (CMU) blocks. They are really cheap and readily available at your local hardware store. The aerator can hold up to 175 lbs of additional weight to help it force the plugging spoons into the soil up to a depth of 3 inches. I had one small problem trying to insert all 6 blocks into the holding bin. There are two bolts in each corner of the holding bin. The installation instructions tell you to put the head of the bolt on the outside, when you do this the longer end of the bolt hits the CMU blocks. All I had to do was reverse the bolts so the heads were on the inside and the blocks fit snugly.


John Deere Core Aerator SpoonsOverall this aerator seems to work quite well. It has a control lever (see photo) that allows you to drop the unit down and lift up the wheels when you’re aerating the lawn. The only problem with it is you have to stop the mower, get off and use the arm because you can’t reach it from the mower.

I definitely noticed a difference in using the aerator on a dry lawn versus a damp one. I first tried the aerator on our dry lawn and it didn’t work that great. Then I watered the lawn for about 30 minutes and tried it again. That made a huge difference and the aerator did a great job getting between 2 inches and 3 inches of penetration.

I’m quite satisfied with this product. As usual John Deere makes really great stuff. The quality is really good, the directions were easy to follow and the aerator does what they said it would do. I’m hoping the aeration project will pay dividends next season!


About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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