With this summer’s heady heatwave creating havoc for many sports pitches, Aggregate Industries has explained to contractors the long lasting benefits of deep aeration in maintaining a supreme playing surface.
With Britain’s period of hot weather over the past three months, as temperatures hit lofty heights of 31°, many sports facilities have experienced compaction, which is the reduction of soil pore space.
This can damage the turf, whilst also having a detrimental impact on drainage.
And while normal aeration and scarifying are, of course, vital to promoting a healthy sward, Aggregate believe to truly deal with the problem, it’s deep penetration of up to one metre that is increasingly proving the best way for tackling compaction.
Steve Curley, Lytag general manager, reflected the impact of the unprecedented hot weather experienced.
“The task of maintaining and servicing sports pitches and other recreational green surfaces has never been more difficult for thousands of sports venues, golf courses, parks and amenity areas across the country, with compaction becoming a persistent problem,” he said.
“As soon as the heavy rains arrive, as they inevitably will during the autumn months, areas of turf compaction and panning will result in large stretches of standing water, severely affecting the playability of surfaces.
“Where once normal aeration and scarifying were sufficient to keep the turf healthy during dry conditions, this year’s unprecedented hot spell has seen the increasing use of deep aeration, where a hollow probe fractures the soil at up to a metre deep, opening up the fissures that will allow the water to drain and oxygen and nutrients to replenish the turf.”
Essential to this process is Sportag®, an innovative lightweight solution made from Lytag secondary aggregate, featuring a unique rounded shape and material properties that makes it perfect for land drainage applications.
Its porous properties allowed deep aeration specialists Terrain Aeration to back fill the probe holes, finishing with the usual top dressing to encourage grass growth over the probe holes. This means golf greens, tees or sports pitch can resume play almost immediately.
David Green, MD at Terrain Aeration, commented: “We’ve been using Sportag for deep aeration for many years and have always been impressed by its unique lightweight properties and workability.
“It has been particularly useful during this extended period of hot weather, where we needed a reliable top quality aggregate product to help us restore record numbers of compacted surfaces back to playability as soon as possible.
“We also prefer to use Sportag because if any is spilt on the turf surface it is mower friendly in that it will crumble under the blades, unlike peashingle, which would destroy the blades.”
Steve Curley added: “As the UK weather become ever-more erratic, it’s important that golf courses, football pitches and the like, have adequate drainage measures in place, particularly for dealing with compaction.
“Sportag is an incredibly sustainable solution, with 40% void ratio which helps aid longevity, improving aeration and allowing roots to penetrate further.
“It is essential to the success of the deep aeration method, with the added benefits of promoting effective drainage and high moisture retention.”
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