Aeration drag mat

snomaha

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
midwest
We were awarded the contract to maintain 20 acres of soccer fields this year. The specs require dragging the field after aeration to break up cores. We have a metal drag mat we use to drag dirt after sprinkler installs - I'm afraid it will damage the turf. Has anyone used Core Buster drag mats made of plastic?
 

foreplease

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
St. Joseph, MI
I have not used plastic but the steel chain link types will not damage the field. You need something heavy and will probably need to go over it a couple directions. It will leave a lot of fuzzy material (dead stems and grass clippings you will stir up) on the surface. One mowing should take care of those. FYI, the steel mat will leave a pronounced light/dark striping that may persist through several mowing. Best bet is drag in straight lines. The faster you drag the better it typically works but make your turns slower.front edge of drag mat should be a couple inches off the ground while the bulk of it should lay flat. Mat will be full of junk when you finish. Just lift it with tractor bucket to hand it from a tree with a rope and hot the mat with the back edge of a flat shovel. Most of it will fall out.
 

dirtguync

LawnSite Member
Good advice if you are going to use a mat. Wait for the cores to dry to a light brown color or until they will crumble in your fingers when squeezed before dragging. I do not drag anymore, just attach an old finish mower to a tractor, adjust the height of cut and cut 2x before going back to a reel mower. Depending on your soil grade, you may have some scalping occur if there are humps or quick changes in ground elevation. This will look bad for a few days but grass is resilient and will grow back fine.

Have not had the success that I wanted with multiple steel or cocoa mat drags of breaking up the plugs. I would always end up cutting the plugs up with the reel mower, which severely hurt the blade/bedknife sharpness and we only backlap monthly, sharpen and change bedknives yearly.
 

Locke Lamora

LawnSite Member
Location
MA
OP
snomaha

snomaha

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
midwest
Still hanging on the shop wall - didn't get the results we wanted and discontinued using it. We use the Toro sidewinder 3500D mowers and cut every 3 days at 2", that seems to break them up enough after 2 cuttings.
 

Locke Lamora

LawnSite Member
Location
MA
Still hanging on the shop wall - didn't get the results we wanted and discontinued using it. We use the Toro sidewinder 3500D mowers and cut every 3 days at 2", that seems to break them up enough after 2 cuttings.
Thanks for letting me know, I'll scratch it off the list. I can't cut at 2 inches at some points during the year until I install some irrigation and get some better topsoil developed. I might try a cocoa mat, it is supposed to be pretty good hiding the top dressing and supposedly okay at breaking up the cores. Have you ever had any experience with one of those?
 
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