Aerification Tine Effects on Tifway Bermudagrass Athletic Fields
Type of Degreethesis
Agronomy and Soils
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Although commonly practiced, there is little research examining the effect of aerification tine type (hollow or solid) and length on athletic fields. The objective of this research was to evaluate different aerification tines of varying depth and shape (hollow versus solid), examining their effect on soil hardness, compaction, duration of effects, and turf quality on ‘Tifway’ bermudagrass. Treatments were: 1) standard depth hollow tine (GA60H) (10 cm long, 1.9 cm diam.), 2) standard depth solid tine (GA60S) (10 cm long, 1.9 cm diam.), 3) deep depth hollow tine (SRH) (20 cm long, 2.2 cm diam.), 4) deep depth solid tine (SRSDST) (20 cm long, 2.2 cm diam.), 5) pull behind drum type aerifier with hollow tines (PB) (9.5 cm long, 0.7 cm diam),and, 6) a non-aerified control. Four replications of each treatment were applied at the Auburn University football practice field in May, June, July, and August of 2001 and 2002, and five replications of each treatment were applied at the Auburn University Turfgrass Research Center in May, June, July and August of 2002 and 2004. The experimental design was an incomplete factorial arrangement of aerification equipment and tine type, arranged as a randomized complete block design with four replications at the Practice Field and five replications at the TGRU. Treatments were applied to a Marvyn loamy sand at each location. Collected data included soil resistance as measured by a penetrometer, surface hardness as measured with an impact hammer, shoot density, thatch depth and dry root weight. Penetrometer readings revealed hollow tine use reduced soil penetration resistance over a 0-24 cm depth. There was no difference in soil resistance in plots that were nonaerified or had been aerified with the pull behind equipment. Any treatment that utilized a hollow tine had a softer surface (as measured via impact readings) than those aerified with solid tines. After two years the beginning of an aerification hard pan was detected in treatments aerified with the standard depth solid tine. Although root density and shoot density were sometimes affected by treatment, the differences were not consistent across sites and years. Best long-term and deep relief of soil compaction was afforded by use of deep aerification tines that were hollow.