Field Aeration – Improving Soil Quality and Yields
Various types of field aeration equipment can be used to improve soil quality and yields. The simplest types of aerators rely on weight to push the tines into the soil while the more aggressive varieties use mechanical or hydraulic means to push the tines deeper. Some aerators can shatter the soil profile by using twisted or vibrating tines. Another type of aerator is the hollow-core aerator, which pulls a core of soil from beneath the surface of the soil.
Aeration equipment is used to open up the soil, promoting good drainage and allowing CO2 to escape the soil. The process also helps improve the health of the soil profile by increasing the pore space. This allows water to penetrate deeper into the soil and prevents compaction. It is best to avoid “shattering” equipment in fields with high water content.
Field aeration is commonly performed in tandem with overseeding. Some aeration equipment includes a seed box, which allows it to be used for both activities at the same time. The process can be combined to enhance soil quality and prevent compaction. Aeration can help improve the soil’s structure and provide a healthier environment for the turf and players.
Aeration also promotes the growth of aerobic bacteria, which break down solid waste faster than anaerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria are more effective in decomposing solid waste, as they are able to break down a larger number of particles faster. This means that aeration speeds up the process of decomposition, and the benefits can be seen after 4-6 weeks. In addition to increasing soil health, it also reduces the chances of clogging the leach field.
Compaction is a common problem on athletic fields, which reduces the pliability and ability of the soil to absorb impact. The decreased pore space for water and oxygen can lead to collapsed clays and other problems. Compaction can also lead to increased injuries to players, especially those with lower extremities.
It is important to aerate athletic fields regularly, as foot traffic will cause the soil to become compacted over time. This prevents grass from growing lushly and prevents it from draining properly. Also, it is important to fertilize frequently. Aerating increases the amount of sunlight and water in the turfgrass and reduces the puddling of water. The aerator will drill thousands of tiny holes and plugs into the soil.