Keeping athletic fields and golf courses green and lush is a big job no matter where you live in the country. One of the most important steps you can take for the health of the grass on golf courses and athletic fields is to aerate.
Definition of Aeration
Aeration is the process of the soil taking in oxygen from its surrounding areas and letting out carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This occurs organically but can be helped along mechanically as well. Aeration helps the health of the lawn you are working on and can be especially beneficial for keeping athletic fields and golf courses at optimal health.
When it comes to lawn care, aeration refers to the process of taking plugs of thatch, soil, and grass out of your course or field to further the process of air exchange.
Benefits of Turf Aeration
Athletic fields and golf courses see more foot traffic than the average patch of grass. This can cause the grass and soil to become very compacted. Unfortunately, compaction impedes the process of natural aeration. If the fields and courses are compacted, it limits the amount of water that can get down into the soil, causing the grass to start to wither and die. Here are the many ways aeration can help your golf course and athletic fields.
Break Down of Thatch
Aeration allows for water to reach through the grass and thatch to the deep root. This water will help the microorganisms in the soil that breakdown the thatch. The thatch, which is the dead grass and other organic material that sits just below the grass, gives grass a springy cushioned walking surface. However, large amounts of thatch can start to cause problems. These include blocking fertilizer and water from reaching the roots and inhibiting the effectiveness of insecticides.
Increase Health of Soil
The health of your soil is going to have a huge impact on the health of your grass. If you have healthy soil, your grass will need less water to stay green— even in times of insufficient rainfall. Aeration helps your soil stay healthy and is best done in the growing season for grass. This means the early spring and the early fall are the most effective times aerate if you hope to keep your soil healthy and your grass green and lush. Golf courses and athletic fields might need aeration more often, given the amount of traffic on the fields. Soil compaction can happen more easily on high traffic fields, so multiple aerations are used to combat that issue.
Aeration can also help when seeding golf courses and athletic fields. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to seed during the growing season. So, if you aerate your fields and courses while seeding at the same time, you are significantly increasing the chances of those seeds being planted into healthy soil and getting enough water to take root and increase your field’s lush look.
We’ve gone into all the ways that aeration can benefit your grass fields and courses, as well as the soil beneath. The importance of a green appearance for golf courses and athletic fields cannot be overstated. Golf courses will see a drop off in profitability if they have issues with the greens. No one wants to pay money to play on an unattractive golf course, but they’re even less likely to visit a course that makes play an irritation with bad grounds.
For athletic fields, it is important to keep the field healthy and smooth— not just for the look, but for the safety of the athletes who play on it. Unhealthy soil can become uneven, which turns it into a risk to the athletes. Fields with too deep a layer of thatch can start to collect water after a rain, making it slick. If players start to get hurt on your athletic field, you might be found responsible for their medical care and see your insurance go up.
For both golf courses and athletic fields, the cost of replacing parts of the course or the entire field if your situation with the thatch and grass gets too dire is significantly higher than the cost of aeration during the course of the year.
In some cases, it may make more financial sense to aerate your own golf course or athletic field rather than pay for the service with a lawn care company. To see what kind of aeration equipment is best for you, talk to the experts at Kenney Machinery. Our company has served Indianapolis and surrounding areas for decades.
If you are a lawn care company that serves golf courses and athletic fields, Kenney Machinery is the place to get the best aeration equipment for your company. Call our excellent customer service or stop by one of our stores today!