Verti-drain benefits and why in the golf season

Regular and seasonal aeration is essential to ensure turfgrass quality and is maintained throughout the playing seasons of any fine turf with heavy wear. The impact of not having a regular aeration programme will inevitably result in lost or cancelled fixtures, which could result in lost revenue and substandard playing surfaces

So, why do we need to aerate? The turf grasses are grown on a medium known as the rootzone, which is a mixture of sand, silt and clay perfect for a growing medium. The rootzone is made up of differing proportions of soil solids (mineral and organic material) and soil pores (for water and air). 

The key part of aeration is to maintain the correct balance of air and water within the rootzone and that means creating pores.
These pore spaces can vary in size and are generally classified into two sizes - macro pores (larger than 0.08mm) and micro pores (less than 0.08mm). Macro pores generally allow movement of air and the drainage of water, and are large enough to accommodate plant roots and micro-organisms found in the soil. The ability to retain a good balance of macro pores in soil structure is essential for maintaining grass plant health. It is when these macro pores are either reduced in size, or filled with water, that we see deterioration in surface playability and resistance to wear. 

The main factor of reduced pore spaces in soil is compaction, typically caused by compression forces normally associated with play and use of machinery, particularly during wet weather periods. Over time, these compression forces reduce the pore spaces so that air, water and nutrient flow through the soil profile is restricted, and leads to the many problems associated with compaction, like water logging, poor turf quality, lack of disease resistance and the grass sward becoming bare. 

This picture shows the amount of concentrated wear around a golf hole, this happens twice a week as we change the holes and it doesn’t take many weeks before you’ve more or less covered the whole green

It is important to vary depths of aeration so they link up right through the profile. These can be shallow with a sarrel right through to deep with a vertidrain. As these operations are completed sand is used to fill the holes and maximise longevity of the holes under the surface trapping air in between the new sand particles and creating a nice drainage channel increasing infiltration rates


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