Turf research backs deep aerator

Deep aerators are shown to reduce compaction.

A three-year study has shown that microbial activity in turf is encouraged by the use of the Verti-Drain deep aerator. The research project, which was funded by Veri-Drain manufacturer Redexim Charterhouse and undertaken by Dr Alan Gange and Dr Don McGregor of Royal Holloway College in Surrey, involved aerating clay-based football pitches and sand-based golf greens. Modern phospholipid fatty acid analysis was used to quantify the effects of the Verti-Drain on microbial communities. Tests were also carried out to examine soil strength and carbon dioxide levels. Dr McGregor said that there was a clear reduction in compaction on areas treated. The study also found a marked improvement in levels of beneficial bacteria on areas aerated by the Verti-Drain during every season of the year. Dr Gange said: “By letting air back into the soil, the deep aeration encouraged microbial activity. This would invigorate the roots and increase disease resistance. Less fertiliser would be required and drought tolerance would be enhanced.” The findings are significant for deep-tine aeration in general although in this instance the results were specific to Verti-Drain. Redexim has produced Beneath the Surface, a best-practice guide to aeration. It is available from Charterhouse Turf Machinery.

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