August 2018

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 36 of 51

www.spor 37 August 2018 // in the season, so that they still have something left toward the end. All of our aerifi cation happens from March 1 through November 15 because the plant is not repairing itself during those winter months here at 47 degrees latitude. We also use the PLUG'R machine on our landscape turf areas about 3 times per year at a spacing of 3" x 6". One of the aerifi cation tricks I learned at a previous job (minimum crown baseball fi eld) was to solid tine aerify about 3 passes (the width of the trap), in advance of the rain, along the back edge of the infi eld skin, right where the tarp will be dumped, to help that large mass of water to percolate faster and not fl ow back onto the infi eld skin. Randy M. Haffling, Moravian College (PA) WE HOLLOW TINE (4") all of our fields (baseball, field hockey, soccer/ LAX, softball and a practice field) immediately following our fall sports season and again immediately following our spring sports season. We use deep (10") soil-tines on our fields in early August before our fall sports pre- seasons start. We couldn't ask for better turf cover. Our aeration program has contributed toward thickening the turf and when we take samples it is not uncommon to fi nd the roots extending 8" or more into the soil. Our soccer fi eld held water to the point that it was almost unplayable 6 years ago, now for approximately 4 years because of aerating the fi eld drains and is playable after 1 1/2" of rain. The challenges for us have been scheduling the aerations. We used to deep solid-tine the baseball and softball fi elds in the spring, before the start of their seasons. However the coaches didn't like that because they felt that it disturbed to surface of the fi eld too much even though I always followed up with rolling the fi elds. The only other thing we face is making sure that the cores that we pull with the hallow-tine aerator are broken up enough as to not cause damage to turf because soil is left on top of the grass. Bruce Suddeth, University of South Carolina Upstate WE USE ONLY hollow tines with various pieces of equipment: a Toro 687 3point hitch with ¾" hollow tines, a Deere AerCore 1500 with ½" tines, and an AerCore 800 with 3/8" tines. We also contract out some of our deep tine aerifi cation and that is done with 13/16" tines. What we consider our solid tine type method is using a Ryan TracAire 3-point hitch unit with slicing tines and a SISIS MaxiSlit with slicing blades. Beginning in early May we aerify any fi eld not overseeded with perennial rye with the Toro 687 with ¾" tines. Depending on when softball and baseball, which is overseeded, complete their schedules, it could be late May when we begin aerifying with the Toro 687 with ¾" tines. In June and July we deep tine with either the JD AerCore 1500 with ½" tines or contract some deep tining with 13/16" tines. The Deere 800 with 3/8" tines is used on our baseball infi eld, practice area, and Mini Verde golf green in late June, then again in late July while the turf is actively growing. We don't do much deep tining after the end of July or fi rst of August due to the teams coming back on campus for practice and games. We do use our TracAire slicer and MaxiSlit a good bit. The TracAire is used on all fi elds beginning in May on a 2 to 3 week interval. We try to alternate in the MaxiSlit about once a month during the growing season of the hybrid bermuda. The TracAire is also used on our baseball grass base paths to help with compaction during the season whether the bermuda is overseeded or not. It's not obtrusive and doesn't impact play. Any cultural practice to help open up the soil for better gas exchange and relieve some compaction is a benefi t. I don't think you can beat up hybrid bermuda enough with an aerifi er. It's pretty obvious when you see the turf around each aerifi cation hole greener than where not aerified. Coupled with frequent topdressing and correct nutrients and water management the bermuda responds to aerifi cation well. The only challenges with aerifi cation, and this mainly pertains to our fi elds with installed drainage and sand channels, is that we like to remove the cores so it doesn't contaminate the sand channels as much. Being in the Upstate of South Carolina we have a heavy clay content. The other challenge is being able to perform the aerifi cation during activities on the fi elds whether it is practice, games, camps, weather, etc. You have to be fl exible and get it done when you can. Allison Moyer [Note: Allison was with Collegiate School in Virginia when she contributed these comments; she is now at the University of Richmond.] We are very aggressive on aeration at Collegiate and we hollow tine. This year we sliced our fields for one of our aerations, using a piece of equipment called a ShockWave. We were able to get down 15"! We like to aerify at least 1x/month in the growing seasons (May, June, July, August, Sept). If we can fit more in, we will try. Aeration improves our fields' health. Overall, it helps reduce compaction from all the use and gets air to the roots. It also helps keep our fields "soft." Scheduling and clean up are the biggest challenges we face with aeration. /ST/ "ANY CULTURAL PRACTICE TO HELP OPEN UP THE SOIL FOR BETTER GAS EXCHANGE AND RELIEVE SOME COMPACTION IS A BENEFIT." — Bruce Suddeth

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