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
Charterhouse Pro Scarifier
Trilo VCU 120 Scarifier
THE REVIEW PANEL
Andre Gardner, grounds manager, Bridgwater College, Cannington Campus
Hugh Murray, head greenkeeper, Cannington Golf Club
With a more powerful engine - a 25hp Kohler - and smoother, more efficient operation, plus the bonus of easier maintenance, the new John Deere Aercore 800 has many improvements over the original.
We particularly like the electro-hydraulic controls on the John Deere Aercore 800. They halve the time it takes to lift and lower the coring head and, along with the cleverly designed shock-absorbing Flexi-Link mounting system, provide good-quality holes with minimal scuffing.
The Aercore is based on the same type of heavy-duty frame and tine rams as JD's tractor-mounted aerators but gives the choice of a lighter unit for use on cricket squares, golf greens, tennis courts and bowling greens. Having four selectable forward working gears, the machine is reasonably fast.
"It's very easy to lift and lower the head and the machine takes the contours well because the aerating unit is in line with the wheels. It took a bit of persuading on the turns, but the transport speed is good. Vibration was noticeable during operation," says Gardner.
JD tells us it can cover 1,440sq m an hour in second gear and with 2x2-hole spacing, travelling at 1mph. The transport speed is good and really gets you moving between greens. Drive chain tensioning is automatic to give more positive engagement between the transmission and drive wheels - the result is improved hole spacing patterns and straighter lines.
Now sporting standard drive tyre core deflectors, the Aercore will displace hollow cores in the path of the drive tyres. This should make cleaning up easier. We also appreciate the flexibility to add a verticut attachment to complete two jobs in one.
Maintenance could not be simpler. There are no greasing points - just check filter, oil and fuel. Hollow, open-sided, solid, cross and needle tines are available.
Working width: 1.47m
Coring depth: Down to 89mm
Transmission Four working speeds
Travel speed: 3.5mph
Engine: 25hp Kohler
List price: POA
Contact: John Deere - 01949 860491