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
It is fast, smooth and it turns easily - and it is not that noisy. Golfers should not mind this one working away in the background. Operation is a doddle and the tines are engaged swiftly at the flick of a switch.
"It's a cracking machine. I like it," says Murray. "It's light and manoeuvrable, something you could use the whole winter, even when conditions are bit soft. It's a lot quicker than I expected, though it's not going in very deep, and it turns really well."
JD has Flexi-Link; Toro has RotaLink. The purpose is to ensure that the tines remain vertical as they enter and exit the ground to leave consistently round holes. We use the new cross tines, designed to give a bigger surface to the hole.
Individually floating turf holders prevent lifting and Toro's TrueCore system gives full-time automatic contour following. The result is neat. With wheels in front of the aeration head, the ProCore cannot crush previous pulled material when you are hollow coring.
"It's quick and straightforward to change the tines and maintenance isn't troublesome," says Gardner. When you want to vary the depth to avoid panning, spacers can give you the adjustment you need.
We find the sight markers useful for lining up the machine on each run and Gardner says very little vibration is transmitted back to the handle. Hollow, open-sided, solid, cross and needle tines are available.
Working width: 1.22m
Coring depth: Down to 102mm
Transmission: Forward and reverse
Travel speed: 3.5mph
Engine: 23hp Kohler
List price: £18,508 + VAT
Contact: Reesink Turfcare