AerWay, the original Shattertine aerator, has five different tine options to maximize your turf maintenance activities. While the Shattertine is used to eliminate compaction 7” and deeper to establish percolation rates, 3 of the other tine options (Sportstine, Finetine, Super Finetine ) can be used, without disrupting play, to relieve surface compaction and maintain infiltration rates. This “venting aeration” is usually accomplished in conjunction with a smoothing roller option to insure immediate playability. The fifth tine is a traditional coring tine but on the AerWay platform can be used at higher speeds.
Aeration, by definition, is the process of introducing air into the soil. Air is essential to microbial activity and, ultimately, to the health and vigor of all turfgrass. The only vehicle to get air into the soil is WATER, which percolates through the soil profile, displacing carbon dioxide and pulling air into the vacuum. Turf managers are, therefore, challenged to manage their water (infiltration and percolation) in any effective aeration program.
Compaction is the most common barrier to water movement and is the most important factor that limits healthy turf growth. It is a physical problem and mechanical aeration is the most common and best method used to manage it. The AerWay Shattertine uses a patented design of angles and offsets to break down the compaction layers and recreate the capillary action of the natural soil profile between the voids. The lateral fracturing of the soil by AerWay patented tines will allow water, and therefore air, to be drawn into the whole soil profile, not just a hole here and there as is typical with a straight, solid punch tine. The balance of air and water exchange in the loosened soil improves nutrient mobility in the soil which will allow the reduction of chemical use. The reduction of soil density, particularly with the introduction of granular media (rounded sand grains are best), allows for a significant increase in soil porosity which is conducive to root elongation throughout, not limiting it to only the voids.
Once percolation rates have been established infiltration rates must be maintained. This is accomplished by controlling surface compaction, a process known as “venting aeration”. The AerWay Sportstine, Finetine and Super Finetine have been designed and developed to do this without disrupting play. It can be scheduled as often as necessary, every 2 to 3 weeks in most cases for maximum benefit but for sure 2 to 3 times per year. On average, using the Finetine or Super Finetine, 18 greens can be vented in less than 3 hours.
The optional AerWay GreensXpress smoothing roller allows the user to vary the depth of venting from 4” to 6” deep when moisture is plentiful and 2” to 4” during times of stress. Varying the depth of aeration each time prevents the formation of an artificial pan or barrier in the soil, which inhibits natural percolation rates and may result in the development of “black layer”. This phenomenon is anaerobic and cannot exist in the presence of oxygen.
Consistent, effective aeration is an essential factor in maintaining and increasing organic matter in the soil. This will, of itself, create a soil profile that is more resistant to compaction and conducive to healthy root development. Another benefit is a decrease in weed pressure, lessening the need for chemical intervention. Such manipulation of the soil will not only improve the soil but enhance turf growth and the playing quality.
Some turf managers actually use the coring tine to modify their soil profile by removing unwanted materials from the soil profile. For example, with healthy, aerated soil you will typically see increased microbial/biological activity. This is good news but in some areas where a clay substructure exists, over time you may see increased clay in the layer just below the turf surface. It builds up gradually but this is primarily due to earthworm castings. When conditions like this exist, by pulling cores and collecting them the clay (or any other unwanted material) can be physically removed from the soil profile and disposed of or used to build up other areas on the property.
In summary, air in the soil profile is essential to maintaining healthy turf. The only way to get air into the typical soil profile is with water. The turf manager’s challenge, therefore, is to manage his water, infiltration and percolation rates, on a regular and consistent basis. AerWay’s advanced aeration system facilitates this economically without affecting play or revenues. By simply switching tine rollers to suit the maintenance practice required, the multi-purpose AerWay not only saves thousands of dollars over slow, single purpose equipment but allows the professional turf manager to employ best management practices and be a good steward of the land.
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