Aeration and scarification are important operations in the provision and maintenance of healthy turf. In this test we look at a wide range of machines to break compaction and reduce thatch to improve gaseous exchange and water percolation.
We start in the Walled Garden at the Cannington Campus, where we ask David Green to blast air and seaweed into the lawn and the area around the tree planted three years ago by the Earl of Wessex.
Then we move onto the golf course at Cannington Golf Club, part of the college, and put the ATT cassette system through its paces.
The latest Verti-Drain, Toro ProCore and John Deere Aercore are used on the greens. We undertake some hollow coring with the Ryan Lawnaire before using the tractor-mounted ProCore SR.
Finally, we look at two dedicated scarifiers - the pedestrian Charterhouse Pro and tractor-mounted Trilo VCU.
TESTED THIS WEEK
Terrain Aeration Scamper
ATT (Advanced Turf Technology) TMSystem
Verti-Drain 215.013SP + Carrier
John Deere Aercore 800
Toro ProCore 648
Ryan Lawnaire IV Plus
Toro ProCore SR70-S
Trilo VCU 120 Scarifier
THE REVIEW PANEL
Andre Gardner, grounds manager, Bridgwater College, Cannington Campus
Hugh Murray, head greenkeeper, Cannington Golf ClubCHARTERHOUSE PRO SCARIFIER
The Charterhouse Pro Scarifier rips out material at a good rate. A choice of cutting mechanisms makes it even more attractive.
If you want a fixed-blade rotor, you can have it, complete with 24 1.5mm-thick blades at 20mm intervals. If you want swinging blades - likely to be popular with hire firms - you can have a four-section rotor with 48 3mm-thick hanging blades.
Height adjustment is via a hand-nut at the top of the lever that takes the blades in and out of work. Twin V-belts imply this scarifier is going to be reliable and you cannot go wrong with the Honda engine. We also like the way the handles fold for easy transport.
"It's a good basic scarifier, easy to set up and use, and it's speedy," sums up Murray. "Build quality is good - there's nothing much to go wrong. The solid tyres mean you won't get punctures."
After 20m of operation, Murray has to stop the machine and empty the catcher.
Working width: 50cm
Depth: Millimetric adjustment
Cutting system: Swinging or fixed blades 20mm apart
Engine: 4hp Honda GX160 recoil start
List price: £1,020 + VAT
Contact: Charterhouse Turf Machinery - 01428 661222