Winter is a critical period for maintaining the health and playability of your bowling green. Contrary to the popular belief that the green 'goes to sleep' during this time several vital maintenance practices are necessary to keep the turf in top condition. Aeration is a key maintenance task for any turf. It involves creating holes in the turf surface down into the soil allowing air, water and nutrients to penetrate the root zone. This process is crucial for reducing soil compaction, improving drainage and encouraging healthy grass root growth.
Top 10 Benefits of Aeration:
- Enhances soil oxygenation vital for turfgrass respiration.
- Improves drainage and reduces soil compaction leading to a better playing surface.
- Aids in thatch control with hollow tines being particularly effective.
- Alleviates soil compaction which can hinder root growth and drought resistance.
- Stimulates root growth especially when done in spring.
- Increases soil oxygen levels promoting beneficial soil bacteria.
- Enhances irrigation water penetration- essential in compact, dry, sloped areas.
- Reduces turf diseases like fusarium by preventing moist conditions.
- Facilitates rootzone improvement allowing top dressings to enhance soil health.
- Maintains overall soil and turf health reducing fungal diseases and weeds.
Types of Tines Explained: There are mainly three types of tines used for aeration:
- Solid Tine: Commonly used for minimal surface disruption while introducing air into the soil.
- Slit Tine: Ideal for autumn/winter use offering rapid aeration without expanding in warmer months.
- Hollow Tine: Effective for removing thatch and compacted soil significantly increasing air volume in the soil.
No matter the tine type, it's crucial to keep them clean and rust-free to avoid damaging the turf.
The Need for Increased Aeration: The necessity for more frequent aeration arises from increased bowling activity, regular mowing and the use of rollers. Also in areas lacking deep soil frost which naturally aerates the soil, manual aeration becomes even more important.
When to Aerate: Aeration should be done monthly post-season renovation and once the new seed is established using a standard 100mm solid or slit tine. It's important to switch from slit to solid tine in spring to prevent drying and opening of holes. Aerate only under suitable conditions - avoiding times of surface frost or waterlogging. Remember aeration in dry conditions is far more effective than in wet. Use the Allett aerator cartridge in your Allett Stirling as a regular maintenance tool. Do you own a black Allett Professional mower such as the Shaver, Tournament or C20/C24? The sorrel roller can be used throughout the season.