Lawn aeration tips for turf managers and more
Many sports fields and parks were not used to the same extent this spring for health reasons. This situation, which can be challenging, also provides a unique opportunity for lawn managers to undertake more involved projects to promote the health and conditions of their lawn. One of those maintenance practices is ventilation.
In general, depending on the region of the country, the most popular time to ventilate is in the fall, although many lawn managers also aerate in the spring. Because many summer sports and activities are delayed into fall, lawn managers should consider adjusting their plans. With many fields currently open and ventilation providing long-term benefits, now may be the perfect time.
Check out some tips on how to get the most out of the ventilation process.
Check the soil
Aeration loosens compacted soil so that water, air and nutrients can get to the roots. One way to tell if your soil is compacted is to throw a screwdriver into the soil from about waist height. If the screwdriver sticks, the ventilation process is less laborious. When the screwdriver ricochets, the soil becomes heavily compacted and needs to be aggressively ventilated.
Mark all obstacles
The type of tines, as well as the depth of ventilation, all depend on what you want to achieve with your ventilation. Regardless of your tine choice and depth, mark your irrigation heads, power and any other lines running directly under the lawn so you don’t cause damage.
Find the right equipment
Aerators come in a variety of options, from trailing to walkable to stand-on models. For smaller objects, a handheld aerator is likely to give the best results and the easiest maneuvering. For large objects like sports fields, drag aerators are most efficient. However, try a stand-on aerator like the Ryan Lawnaire ZTS. They put less strain on your body, are easy to maneuver, offer precise and easily adjustable ventilation and at the same time cover more ground than a walk-behind. There is also no need for a tractor like a tow behind the aerator.
Aerate before fertilizing
The order of your maintenance practices is also important for maximum effectiveness. If you plan to aerate and settle fertilizer / herbicide, you will need to aerate first. Aerating after a herbicide application can reduce the chemical barrier created by the herbicide and allow weeds to germinate. Spreading fertilizer after aeration helps the lawn compete against weeds. Also, after aerating it, water the lawn, especially in areas where drought and high temperatures are common. Finally, if you have any plans Over-sowing or inter-sowingAfter aeration is a good time to plant the seeds as it improves the contact between the soil and the seeds.
Rake off the seeds
Criticism of ventilation often comes in response to the presence of the “cores” of the lawn that pull the ventilation tines out of the ground. These cores can sometimes interfere with the game in sports fields or on golf courses. Break up the cores with a rake to improve the look of your lawn right after you have aerated it.
Nowadays we all have to adapt our processes. If your sports field or park hasn’t seen a lot of foot traffic lately, this may be the perfect time to ventilate and prepare for a great summer and fall.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Ron Scheffler, Senior Product Manager at Ryan.