Friday, 16 December 2016
Aeration - Compaction Relieve
Soil compaction is one of the most common problems found on the golf course. This is mainly due to the fact that golf is played 365 days of the year in both dry and wet conditions. When the soil is wet, compaction problems are exacerbated.
Compaction is also greatly influenced by the type of indigenous soil present; for example a clay-based soil is normally more prone to compaction than a sandy soil due to the nature of the soil particles (texture). If regular aeration work is not carried out, soil compaction will build up throughout the season. If this occurs the large pores within the soil structure (which influence the movement of water through the soil) are reduced or lost. If water cannot move through the soil, water logging of the surface will occur during rainfall. Other growth factors will also be affected such as beneficial bacterial activity, available oxygen and the uptake of nutrients. In this situation the grass sward will deteriorate quickly.
Type of Aeration
The most important principle is to make sure that the whole of the soil profile is aerated. This will allow water to move from the surface, through the soil profile and into the drainage system (once field capacity is reached) or to naturally filter away. However one of the biggest problems on fairways is deep compaction.
Over the last 15 years the most significant innovation in deep compaction relieve has been the introduction of the Verti Drain type machine. On golf course fairways (and most other turf areas on the course) this type of machine is widely used as part of the overall program to relieve compaction. Verti drain treatment is normally restricted to once a year or every two years, although some clubs use it more regularly (normally the ones that own their own machine).
There are no set guidelines for frequency or 'tine type' although turf managers normally prefer to use larger diameter tines in the autumn and the smaller tines in the spring, although number of treatments and timing depend on individual circumstances. It is also worth noting that the larger tine will cause more surface disruption, which might not be acceptable