Friday, April 24, 2015

Fairway Aerification: Deep Tine Style

I am sure many of you have noticed the new machine that we have been using to aerify the fairways. 

In the past we have used a different machine that pulled cores and left a big mess that needed to be cleaned up.  That technique is fine and effective to a certain degree but also created a lot of extra labor with the cleanup efforts.  Also, the depth of the hole was at best only 4 inches.  Another thing to consider is the water table and the constant removal of soil without adding any back.  The result is an overall lowering of the rootzone during the past 30 years closer to the water table and the sodium that accumulates there.  Remember that we are only a few feet above sea level here, so we don't want to remove any more soil.  Really, we should be adding material in the form of regular topdressing of the fairways to raise the rootzone up away from the water table.

In the meantime, the club decided to rent a deep tine aerator for the fairways this year.  The machine was setup with solid 1/2" diameter tines that are 10" long.  The solid tine means that no cores are being pulled that need to be cleaned up.  The machine operates on the principle of a shatter effect to create a cracking in the soil profile to enhance gas exchange.  
The solid tine is forced into the ground approximately 6 to 8 inches and then the tines are kicked forward and backward to shatter the soil.  A much larger surface area is exposed compared to traditional aerification.

Another big benefit of this modern technique is the ability to do all the fairways in approximately 40 hours.  It allowed us to get the job done sooner so we could move on to other important projects.

Here is a short video of the machine in operation on the 9th fairway.

I hope this helps you with any questions you may have had during the fairway aerification this year.

Chris Mains

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