There’s nothing more important to certain athletic activities than having a beautiful, well maintained, plush playing surface. Whether it’s golf, soccer, football, baseball, on any other exterior based sport you need that grass to be green and spectacular. What would golf look like if you’re playing on a field that’s got dead spots all over and divots lining the course? Not only would it be horrible to play on, but it would also be a terrible presentation on television, it’s certainly not something you would see at Augusta National, so why would you stand for it while playing at your favorite local or semi-local course? One of the most important parts to making sure your game isn’t destroyed by deplorable playing surfaces is to attend higher end golf courses, but for those that may be more economical, they have to keep up with the maintenance and this means picking the proper aerator for the job.
The Plug Aerator
You have a couple options when it comes to aerators, you can either go with the plug or spike aerator, each offering their own particular advantages. With a plug aerator you create a large opening which allows more effectiveness in the other processes you’ll be following during the aeration of your playing surface. Another benefit of the larger holes is that it allows for rainwater to enter soil, keeping it from running off, it also allows for grass seed and clippings to get deeper in the ground which helps develop a much more plush surface. While any aerating is a good idea, a plug aerator has some rather strong positives over the spike option. The negative of plug aerating is that it’s much more labor intensive and the results tend to be less even than spike aerating.
The Spike Aerator
Spike aerating is a good method, although it doesn’t give you the deep holes of a plug aerating option, it does allow for much more even coverage. Also, spike aerating means that the grass seed being placed won’t wash away if it’s set on an incline surface. Spike aerators do promote air and water flow through the surface soil, but that does mean that the newly compacted plugs will rise to the surface again and need attention much sooner. The downside of this option is that it does need to be done more often, and the fact that it doesn’t go as deep or large in holes as plug aerating it does nothing for the soil compaction, so if you’re working on an area that’s going to see heavy traffic you’ll want to go with the plug method. The options are there, each has it’s positives and negatives, it’s just a matter of what you think will work the best for your particular surface.
Combining the two
Many lawn care professionals are actually leaning toward the suggestion that a combination of the two methods may be best, using a spike aerator between each plug aerating session. Some surfaces call for spike aerators while others are more well suited for plug aerators, it just depends on what you’ll be doing with your turf. If you’re doing a football teams practice field it’s probably best to do plug aerating, because it’ll be getting a ton of traffic on a daily basis, but the field you actually play the game on you could probably get away with a spike aerator as it’s usually only used once a week. If you have questions and you’re looking for assistance in what you should do for your job, reach out to Keith Kitchen and the people at Commonwealth Sports Turf Services, they’ll treat you right.