International Journal of Plant & Soil Science,
Aims: Soil compaction is detrimental to turfgrass health and potentially hazardous to users of sports field participants. Previous research has evaluated numerous core aeration programs and their effects on water infiltration and thatch levels in a myriad of soil series under various management programs. The goal of this study was to identify detailed soil responses of a highly compacted, multi-purpose sports field to different soil aerification techniques while minimizing the negative impact of core removal on turfgrass quality.
Study Design: The study was designed as a randomized complete block with 4 replications and a 2 × 2 factorial treatment arrangement.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted over two years on Clemson University’s band practice field, Clemson, SC, USA.
Methodology: The study evaluated deep (17.8 cm) and shallow (7.6 cm) tine core aerification and number of yearly aerification events on several soil and turf parameters. Extracted cores were either removed or incorporated back into the plots.
Results: Little effect on turfgrass quality was observed due to mowing height (2.65 cm) masking any reduction in turfgrass density. Deep tine aerification lowered bulk density 5% in the first year compared to shallow tine aerification. In year one, infiltration was increased 29% after deep tine core aeration and 34% when cores were removed after aerification.
Conclusion: Treatment effects were not as drastic as studies conducted in sand based soils, reflecting the necessity of a perpetual soil aerification program in clay-based soils.