Aeration refers to the extent of air gaps in soil. Aeration commonly refers to the process of using mechanized equipmentto either puncture the soil with spikes (spike aeration) or remove approximately 1"X2" cores of soil from the ground (core aeration). Spike aeration involves the use of an aeration attachment with spikes up to 3" or more in length.
Spike aeration is sometimes used to address drainage issues in areas with turf. Core aeration is done on turf areas as a means of reducing turf compaction, reducing thatch buildup, improving the infiltration of water/nutrients, and creating an environment where grass seed can have direct contact with the soil.
PRODUCTS IN PRACTICE: Aeration for all seasons
While using a lawn aerator is a common enough practice these days, many turf professionals restrict this important cultivation practice only to the spring or fall growing seasons. While there is no doubt that using a lawn aerator during both seasons is recommended, aeration is, in fact, a practice that can and should be done year-round.
Gaining a broader understanding of the important benefits of year-round aeration can prove useful to turf professionals.
The case for year-round aeration
It's important to point out that lawn aeration is not handled in the same manner in every region. Both the method of aeration and the timing are heavily influenced by location. Our lawn aerator selection is sure to meet your needs
A season-by-season guide
Aeration is most useful when turf plants are actively growing and their demand for oxygen is high. Ironically, the warm season is the same timeframe when the grounds professional has to fight for access with the sports field user or golfer, because of the perception that aeration can cause a disruption of play.
In the spring, grounds professionals have their best opportunity to aggressively attack that agronomic evil of evils, compaction. Compaction causes much-needed air pockets within the soil to close, providing less room for oxygen and water to move through the root zone.
As a side note: A variety of aeration methods (solid-tine versus pulling cores, for example), often used in combination, can be used to combat this common hurdle. The temptation to over-simplify aeration practices should be avoided as there is no one perfect method for getting the job done; each practice has its own benefits and drawbacks.
To eliminate hardpan conditions, a deep-tine lawn aerator method that shatters the soil or creates sideways fissures may be necessary; this approach, which creates a network of fairly large pores, is most useful in the spring. It should be repeated during the remainder of the year if the turf suffers a heavy degree of use.
Such aggressive aeration techniques will have few drawbacks in the spring, when deep-rooting grasses will benefit most and turf is most likely to heal quickly.
The fall — along with spring — is traditionally one of the times to use hollow-tine aeration (pulling cores). One of the most common reasons for hollow-tine aeration during this season is conducting a soil-exchange program; that is, altering the soil profile by removing soil cores and replacing them with a suitable topdressing. Everything Attachments offers many lawn aerator models for Core Aeration.
This approach permits pulling plugs ranging from 3 inches (for routine maintenance and thatch control) down to 10 inches (soil-replacement purposes).
Also useful in the fall is deep-tine aeration, down to a depth of 16 inches. Solid tines tend to penetrate native soils more effectively, breaking more easily through the hardpan layer and helping to shatter compaction, particularly if the turf has suffered heavy summer use.
Contrary to popular opinion, lawn aeration may also be effectively employed in the winter, depending, of course, on whether the ground is frozen. This is an often-overlooked opportunity to tackle compaction problems; a near-deserted field is an inviting target for the grounds professional armed with the right aeration equipment.
Deep or solid tines are useful at this time to help reduce or eliminate pending conditions, helping improve the ability of the soil to irrigate itself.
Depending on the location of the field, the type of turf and the usage its put to, wintertime aeration can mean your turf is in playable condition — when most of your competitors' fields or courses won't be.