Deep Tine Aerate Now –Turf Roots Love It

By Derf Soller, agronomist, Northwest Region
May 28, 2013

Deep tine aeration opens up channels for water infiltration and encourages deeper roots into fine-textured and heavy clay soils. Healthy white roots are visible in the aeration channels (inside yellow circles) of this bentgrass fairway cross section. 

Photo by Mike Valiant, Director of Agronomy, Talikser Club at Tuyahe, Park City, UT

Encouraging deeper rooting early in the spring is a good way to help turfgrass plants survive when temperatures get hot, as they surely will in the upcoming months. Deep tine aeration conducted in the spring and fall, when cool-season turf plants naturally go through a root growth period, is a great way to encourage increased root development. (For more information on spring and fall root development, visit Cool Seasons Grasses and Grass Growth.) Many courses throughout the region have fine-textured clay soils that are especially prone to compaction, making it difficult for the plants to establish a good deep root system.

Recent improvements in aeration equipment now allow for deeper cultivation of the soil than in the past. This procedure typically uses a solid tine (as opposed to a hollow tine which removes a core or plug from the turf) to produce the hole or channel. Since no core is removed, no cleanup is required. This is another advantage that allows golf course superintendents to implement this procedure without disrupting play through the golf season.

Deep tine aeration equipment, especially for fairway applications, requires a larger horsepower tractor than many courses have in their golf maintenance fleet. It is well worth the money to add both a larger tractor and deep tine aerator, as they can be used throughout the season and for many years to improve overall turfgrass health.

Source: Derf Soller  (

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