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The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Turf
April 13 , 2007  --  Issue 7
Better Fields for Better Play
Jim Reiner

Core Aerify

Aerification is the most important turf maintenance practice. It helps loosen compacted soils so air and water can get to your root zone.

The holes left by a core aerator can be filled in with the topdressing, seed, and fertilizer in other turf maintenance steps.  Aerification alone is still a big plus for your turf.

Tips and hints for the job

  1. It is best to run an aerator in an X pattern across your turf. It takes about 30 minutes to do this in one direction on a full size baseball infield. So if you can get two players and two aerators, you can do the X pattern in 30 minutes.

  2. I prefer the walk-behind machines that mechanically drive the tines into the ground. This approach provides a more even distribution of aeration and allows the depth of the tines to remain constant.

  3. Don't remove the core plugs. Let them dry out.
    They'll get ground up when mowing and slowly dissolve back into the subsurface as a type of topdressing.

  4. Be careful in the heat. Aerating lets air in and moisture out. If you're going to aerate on a hot day, be sure to run the sprinklers earlier in the day and be prepared to run them mid day to keep the grass from drying out. I aerated once in August on a 95 degree day.
    It's surprising how fast the grass dries out. You're trying to improve it, not kill it.

  5. When to aerate?  I do this preseason (early February) mid season (late April or early May) and late in the fall (October or November).

Have fun!

Yours for a better baseball experience,

J. Reiner

Jim Reiner
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide

Check here for info about machines to aerate your ballpark turf.

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