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Aeration vs Verticutting

Aeration vs. Verticutting

Aeration Vs. Verticutting

Aeration and Verticutting are two critically important procedures in the turf industry. Stakeholders for whom the procedures are most important might include owners and managers of any athletic or sporting venue such as golf courses, high school athletics fields, private football fields, polo fields, rugby fields, soccer pitches, baseball outfields etc. Other large scale turf operations could be public parks, housing communities and residential planners.

Large scale operations would obviously have the largest monetary interest in turf care and management procedures like Aeration and Vericutting, but they are not exclusive and can impact anyone with grass, really. So it is important to know the purpose and differences between the two. Let’s take a minute to give you a run-down on the two procedures so you’ll have no question about which procedure is right for you. We’ll start with Aeration.

AerationAeration vs Verticutting

Aeration, often called core aeration is the process by which a machine is either dragged or pushed above the turf, and as it turns another rotating mechanism actually probes the soil and pulls out hundreds of cores in an even and consistent manor over the entire area. The purpose for this is to essentially give the grass roots room to breathe. After a few years the soil around roots becomes compacted and causes multiple hardships for the plants by making it difficult to absorb moisture, transpire, absorb essential nutrients, establish roots and providing a shelter for pest insects and fungus. By aerating you’ll allow the grass roots which naturally need unlimited space since they are rhizomes to grow freely, and consequently you’ll have turf that is more established and eventually need less management.

Verticutting

On the other side of aeration is verticutting. This process is similar to aeration in that a verticutter digs into established turf, but the main difference is that this process is required to remove an organic build up called thatch. Thatch is just old dead grass that builds up and compacts on the soil surface. Thatch causes a lot of the same problems associated with those mentioned above, but aerating won’t treat a thatch issue as well as vericutting. Another function of verticutting is preparation for over-seeding. Over-seeding may sound bad, but the “over” part is simply referring to broadcasting seed over the soil surface (after a good verticutting of course). When an area receives verticutting a verticutter is essentially dragged along the surface and creates hundreds of little rows. You could compare it to the way a farmer will dig rows for some crops, but on a much smaller level. Verticutters break up the thatch problem, but it also gives a slight aeration and the valleys of the rows allow water to travel and set into soil instead of evaporating on top of old organic matter. Typically someone will need a verticutter when their turf is in need of a reseed, or have a large thatch problem.

We hope this helps a bit! It’s critical to turf owners of any sort to not only know the difference between these processes, but to know when and why to use them. A quick way to remember is aerating is to help establish smaller plants, verticutting is to maintain and reseed established turfs. See you soon!

Core Aeration

Improve Your Turf with Core Aeration

From golf courses to football fields and county parks, each turf requires a slightly different touch. Maintenance services can vary from deep-tinning greens to removing thatch from fields; however, there is one task that is crucial for keeping every form of turf in peak performance condition. Core aeration, also known as soil cultivation, coring, spiking, or slicing, is this key maintenance task.

Turf_aerationAeration is a natural process where air is exchanged between the soil and surrounding atmosphere. Core aeration, the mechanical optimization of this process, allows sports turf managers to step back and relax while an aerator machine maximizes the natural gas exchange. Additionally, aerator services can reduce the amount of soil compaction, which can harm a turf’s soil profile and harden the playing field. While compact soil is a crucial element of building construction, the reduction of air pockets in a playing field can lead to serious injuries in athletes.

 

Ensuring athlete safety starts from the ground up, and the aerator services of Commonwealth Sports Turf Services are indispensable in this aspect of turf maintenance. Since the type of aeration often determines the effectiveness of turf treatment, Commonwealth Sports Turf Services utilizes the John Deere Aercore, which pulls three to four inch cores on two by two spacing. This aeration type generates core holes that are close and deep, allowing oxygen, water, and nutrients additional access to the root zone. Benefits of aerator services expand to include reduced water runoff, improved fertilized uptake and use, and improved resiliency and cushioning.

Perennial_RyegrassKeep in mind that aerator services should be scheduled depending on the extent of turf usage and the grass type. The majority of turfs greatly benefit from annual aeration; however, some heavily utilized sporting fields may require two or more aerations per year. To plan an aerator service, pay attention to the grass type. For cool-season grasses such as perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass, spring and fall are the best times to aerate. For warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass and zoysia grass, the time recommendation is mid-spring to early summer. To prevent weed competition, do not aerate when warm season grasses are dormant.

Following core aeration, Commonwealth Sports Turf Services recommends an additional service where a turf sweeper collects cores and redistributes them to areas in need of repair. While topsoil and seed are often the primary products used for distressed areas, cores, which contain viable nutrients and roots, are a better option as they begin growing immediately with proper care.

Maintaining a sports turf does not have to be a difficult or lengthy process. Commonwealth Sports Turf Services invests in cutting edge equipment and highly trained individuals to provide all businesses with the best options in aerator services. We would love to show you how these products work, and how we can work with your turf. If you are interested in a demo, click the link at the bottom of the page.

Image Credit:

Rock Dennis tackles Taylor Wardlow by John McStravick
Ear of Rye by Arthur Chapmen within Wikipedia Commons