August 28,
  With the Maryland SoccerPlex 
A weekly newsletter to keep you informed about EVERYTHING Turf at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
This week we will learn what aerifying is and why it is beneficial to our fields! 
Get some air!
Aerifying is very similar to what the name sounds like, bring air back into the grass. Aerification is the process of either poking holes with solid tines or removing small cores of soil from the field using hollow tines to reduce soil compaction and promote root growth for healthier turfgrass. By taking out small cores of soil about 2-3 inches deep it allows for the oxygen in the air to reach the roots of the already existing turfgrass. The increase in oxygen not only helps root growth, but also its overall strength. This is especially important when the area being aerated is a sports field that takes a great deal of foot traffic.

Soil compaction can be extremely detrimental to sports fields and can actually cause the leaf part of the grass to die off. A compacted soil also cannot hold large amounts of water, as it becomes not porous enough to allow water to pass through. Aerifying a field or lawn will help alleviate the issues that soil compaction brings and help with grass growth. 

When to aerify
As with every turfgrass practice, successful aerification is all about timing, and timing changes with the type of grass. With a cool-season grass, like our Kentucky Bluegrass fields, the best time to aerate is in the spring and fall. Springtime aeration is best between March and May, while fall aeration is best between August and November. Warm season grasses, like bermudagrass should be aerified in mid-spring to summer. In other words you want to aerate during the turf grasses growing seasons, because that is when the roots are really starving for the oxygen to continue to grow.
Deep tine aerification
As stated earlier, normal aerification is only about 2-3 inches into the soil. Sometimes, to eleviate deep soil decompaction we perform a deep tine aerification. Deep tine aerification goes into the soil about 7-8 inches which is important to break through soil layers and really get into the soil and help the roots grow, as well as help the porousness of the soil. This is especially important for fields that do not have drain lines because decompaction deeper into the soil layers allows the natural drainage of a field to improve.
Did you know?
Aerifying isn't something that just turf professionals can do, it's actually something you can and should do for a healthy lawn! There are lots of ways you can aerify your lawn without breaking the bank! Many gardening and home improvement stores have tools such as aerator shoes, which are literally spikes that attach to the bottom of your shoes. There are also rolling aerators and even attachments that can be put on a traditional riding mower! Here are some tips if you are looking to aerate your own lawn to ensure a healthy, happy lawn:
  1. Know your grass type, and plan your timing accordingly.
  2. Try your best to have even depth on your aeration to ensure uniformity across the lawn.
  3. Be sure to continue proper lawncare practices such as fertilizing, mowing, and watering in the following days and weeks after aerating.
Next Week
Check back next week as we look into how we irrigate our sport fields here at the Maryland SoccerPlex!
Ask Us Your Questions
Do you have a burning turfgrass related question? Ask us! We will be happy to answer it in future iterations of Turf Talk - just email us at, subject line Turf Talk Question.
Many Thanks to Fine Earth Landscape, Inc. for 
Their Continued Support of the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Learn more about Fine Earth here.