We thought we would test the new Verti-Drain 7621 to the limit - and we did. It has a working width of 2.1m and penetration depth is down to 40cm to relieve deep compaction, improve drainage and rejuvenate the sward.

It has a heavy-duty gearbox and the side plates have been reinforced to ensure smooth running. Adjustment of the working depth is hydraulic. We match the 7621 to a big New Holland tractor and take it to the Milton Campus at the College of West Anglia. Normally we would test this sort of kit on a playing field, but today we have a paddock that slopes to the centre.

Horses have caused significant compaction. On the high ground, the soil is dry and firm. At the lowest point, the ground is saturated.

The 7621 remains composed under the extremes of our test. It stomps its way through the hard ground at the top of the paddock and then splashes its way through the low, waterlogged area.

"This is a really heavy-duty piece of kit," says Mitch. "You can almost hear the water draining away." Several hours later, we push a stick down one of the holes. It sinks down the full 400mm and when we pull it out, only the bottom half is wet.

Working width: 2.1m
Working depth: 400mm
Tractor requirement: 55hp minimum
PTO speed: Up to 500rpm
Standard tines: 19x406mm solid
Weight: 1,565kg
List price (ex VAT): POA
Contact: Charterhouse Turf Machinery on 01428 661222


Etesia 124DN

Efco AG50 H60

Imants Rotoknife

Husqvarna DT22

Verti-Drain 7621


- Robert Pinion, groundsman, College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Alan Mitch, machinery workshop technician, College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Tim Jellis, head groundsman, College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Mark Ekin, programme area manager (horticulture, agriculture and countryside), College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Dave Roberts, grounds manager, Charterhouse School, Surrey

The tramp of feet and the weight of maintenance equipment is enough to cause compaction in most soils. With the air squeezed out and water unable to penetrate, the roots suffer first and then the effect is seen above ground.

Aeration and scarification are essential. We look at two aerators - the Rotoknife at Charterhouse School in Surrey and the Verti-Drain 7621 in a waterlogged part of Milton Campus near Cambridge.

At Milton, we also try out two pedestrian scarifiers and a unit that mounts to an Etesia ride-on mower. How will they cope when ground conditions are wet and sticky?



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