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Deep-Tine Aerification

Discussion in 'Sports Field Management' started by foreplease, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,056

    Is anyone else doing deep-tine aerification on athletic fields? Last week I had 7 baseball and softball fields and 6 soccer goal boxes done. It is an impressive machine! This is the first year I have tried it. It seems like a good program would be to alternate core aeration and deep-tining from one year to the next. I will not decide until late next summer. A big part of me still likes the idea of pulling plugs and dragging them in on fields with heavy soils.

    I have posted a few photos below and am interested in experience or feedback you have.

    In late July, we did a soccer field that has a heavy and deep clay base. Despite a rainy September here (14”), no scheduled games had to be postponed or rescheduled.

    1. A close-up of the business end of the machine.

    2. This is one of the soccer goals on a practice field. On the second arm from the right, you can see the depth reached.

    3. Close-up of the surface after one pass (we’re working on the turf quality on this practice field).

    4. Ready to use immediately.

    DT sr72 closeup_low res.JPG

    deep tine soccer goals practice 2_crop_low res.jpg

    deep tine closeup soccer goals practice Oct 16 08_low res.JPG

    deep tine Pony OF Oct 16 08_low res.JPG
  2. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    We used shatter core aeration on soccer fields back in the 90's when I worked for another Colllege. Very effective for severely compacted soil. I would not use that type of machine on a field that has any kind of irrigation system.
  3. jaybird24

    jaybird24 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 623

    Seems like a good way to get water and nutrients down deep. I too like the plugs, but doing them every other year seems like a good plan. I have a friend who works at a golf course that hires a company to come in occasionally with machines that drill holes pretty deep, so there must be some benefit over shallow plugs.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    What if it doesn't pull plugs it's no better than a spike aerator, all these things
    are doing is further compacting the soil, complete waste of time and effort.

    There's no re-inventing the wheel with this, if you're using inferior products then no matter
    how many different inferior products you try you will continue to see inferior results, this
    type of trial and error here is a vain and fruitless search that will yield little except maybe
    the occasional "yeah I THINK it's better"

    Now if you want better results try a Walk-behind core aerator,
    and that will work you but at least you'll know the reason.
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,056

    You are entitled to your opinion. I researched this thoroughly before trying it on a demonstration basis several months ago. You have to be fairly serious and knowledgeable before someone would drive across the state of Michigan to do a demonstration in the first place, so please know that about me.

    In addition to reading articles for and against, I discussed it with two golf course superintendents who I respect. Also with a former turf school classmate who calls on schools and parks all over the state that have experience with deep-tine aerification.

    Long before making the decision to recommend this service to customers, I had several months to see the affects for myself on the soccer field done earlier in the year. Call me progressive or open minded, but I had the demo filmed and invited potential customers to see the machine in action while it was here the first time.

    Finally, at the urging of the person who performed the service, I examined the soil profile in cross section after it had been deep-tined and was well pleased.

    The argument I think you are using - compacting the soil even further at the level where the tines bottom out - can be made for any cultivation practice. Core aeration on turf and roto-tilling, plowing, or discing farmland can all be said to create a hardpan layer at the bottom of the tool doing the work. Risk and return. Weigh the consequences. I prefer to move my problem areas as far from the playing surface as possible.

    I haven't reinvented the wheel or bought into doing so. Different tires for different seasons. I am seeing excellent results, but I am not stuck on any one method or material. When I go back to core aerating, I doubt I will attack 8-9 acres in a day with a walk behind aerator. They are good for certain things, but production is not one of them. I have a Ryan GA-60 I could have used and will again.

    You can find much information on line about deep-tine aerification, take my word for it, do your own research and experimenting, or you can cling to your own vain unsubstantiated opinions.

  6. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,695

    I use a Genesis tillage gentill 2 shattertine aerator. Works great to get water to penetrate deeper than regular core aeration. When done on waterways, it increases soil infiltration, decreases runoff. Don't let the uninformed get you down, they just have not heard of the results. I just laugh all the way to the bank!:laugh::laugh:
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I've seen these monsters in action before, topsites.
    As long as the currrent local soil moisture situation is carefully taken into consideration before going forth with the operation, the sum of the "positives" usually FAR outweighs the sum of the "negatives".

    This can be also be an excellent tool for helping to introduce additional soil amendments such as calcite clay, course sand, finished compost, worm castings, etc...
  8. brookviewlawncare

    brookviewlawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    Most deep tine aerator also fracture horizontally on the up swing of the tine !! One of our verti drain units will spike up to 16 " and we have coring tines as big as 1.25 x 12" try that compaction relief with your Walk behind unit
  9. unit40

    unit40 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    We core aerate, drag, and overseed our heavily used soccer fields several times in the spring and fall. Then every fall near the end of the season we run our verti-drain with 3/4" spikes across the entire fields. Set it to maximum kick and it works the balls! We mark all of our irrigation heads, lines and valve boxes ahead of time. If we hit one by accident....easy repair, no big deal. But what a difference with the drainage and the compaction. The verti-drain seems to lift the entire surface up a little as well as occasionally pulling up large boulders.
  10. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,056

    Can I ask what type of soil you have, unit40? And are your fields used for spring and fall seasons both? Boys play fall season here, girls play in spring. We are working toward having a program as intensive/aggressive as yours but are not there yet. Agree regarding irrigation marking.

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