Spring Aeration Tips
April 19, 2019
Thinking about skipping your aeration program this spring? Think again. While our industry continues to be impacted by labor shortage, eliminating a service like aeration will only cause you to invest more time and money later in the year.
Oxygen is one of the most essential nutrients for healthy turf. Aerating improves the air exchange between your soil and the atmosphere, allowing air, water, and fertilizer to reach the root zone. This results in:
- Improved water and nutrient uptake
- Improved thatch breakdown
- Reduced run-off
- Healthier root system
- Decreased soil compaction
All of these benefits create an enhanced biological environment in your turf, reducing the risk of insect and fungus infestation in the summer, and saving the expense of additional chemistry and application.
When is the Right Time to Aerate?
Aeration works best when done just before or during periods of high growth, but not when the turf is experiencing any stress. That means when you aerate is determined by your grass type.
Cool Season Grasses (ryegrass, bluegrass, fescue) – most effective in early spring and fall.
Warm Season Grasses (Bermuda, St. Augustine, zoysia) – most effective in late spring.
Choosing the Right Equipment
If labor is truly impacting your business, then productivity is key. A stand-on aerator covers 1 – 2 acres per hour with speeds up to 7 mph. But if that’s not in your budget, make sure your walk-behind is easy to maneuver with weight substantial enough for heavily compacted soil. It’s important to find a commercial grade unit with forward and reverse capability. Exmark’s walk behind aerator pulls 4.6 quality plugs per square foot.
The optimum core length to pull from your turf is 4”, which means your tines need to be at least 5” in length. But flexibility is essential – Exmark’s stand-on aerator has a core depth range of 1/2” to 5” set with electronic depth control.
For best results you will want to seed within 48 hours of aerating. Having a unit with seeding attachments improves productivity and saves you from investing in two separate units. Horizon is proud to offer Exmark’s Turf Management professional line of products that includes their stand-on and walk behind aerators. To learn more visit your local Horizon store or click here to ask for a demo.