‘Hollow-tining’ (or core aeration) is the most widely recognised form of aeration on lawns. The tine (or spike) is just that – hollow. At the same time as spiking the ground, this machine removes small soil cores and leaves a succession of hollow puncture holes in the soil. Dependent on the maths, this method might remove 2-5% of the top of your lawn to a depth of between 50-125mm. Removing this bulky, dense material increases the percentage of air in the soil and greatly relieves surface compaction. Hollowtine aeration has many other vital benefits as well as relieving compaction, it also prunes the grass plants’ roots to stimulate new fresh growth, allows moisture and nutrient to penetrate through the surface of the soil, breaks down sub-surface thatch and creates an environment where natural bacteria is more likely to become active. Over time, this will help to break down undigested organic matter including thatch. These factors are vital for the health of your soil and, in turn, your lawn. Hollow-tine aeration can be a bit messy but most cores which are left on the surface will soon melt back into the sward within a few weeks after rain. However, they can be raked up if you don’t want these to be trodden into the surface, paths or patios.
Hollow-tine aeration is recommended for all lawns, every year, as the benefit for the long-term health of the lawn is huge. This is why sports turf managers such as green keepers will aerate multiple times per year. Lawns which are in particularly poor condition, such as those that struggle with the control of moss and thatch or those that are on poor or heavy clay soil will require multiple aerations over a period of years to help improve the condition of the sward. Hollow-tine aeration is often carried out as part of spring or autumn lawn renovations, combined with scarification and over-seeding for optimum results.
Spiked aeration is often carried out using the same machine as hollow-tine aeration, with the hollow-tines being replaced with spikes. Most professional lawn care companies will be able to offer a choice of tine should you prefer spiking. Spiking tends to be much cleaner than hollow-tining because it does not produce cores, however most lawn care professionals believe that hollow-tining is more effective because it allows more air into the surface of the soil and root-prunes as the core is removed. Lawns which are on very heavy clay soil may benefit more from spiking because clay cores do not break down easily and can be difficult to remove from the surface.
Fracture-tine aeration can be a quick, cost effective form of lawn aeration. In simple terms, a fracture-tine is a form of solid, blade-shaped tine on a reel. They are wider, longer, with the blades offset, and can reach deeper into the soil than a hollow-tine when ground conditions are soft. This makes them ideal for lawns which have low levels of thatch. The Fracture-tine blades make straight cuts in the soil, so with no cores to clear and fast ground-speed, this form of aeration will be much cheaper than Hollow-tining, while delivering different benefits. We recommend this form of aeration as an annual maintenance operation to lawns which are already in good health, or those where the aim is to improve root mass or drought tolerance.
An annual aeration should form part of an integrated programme for your lawn, rather than depending solely on chemical applications. Over time the health of your lawn will certainly improve as a result of this mechanical treatment.
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