By fracturing the soil with compressed air, our main aim is to re-instate a 'two way street' by removing the 'road block' of compaction thus allowing water and nutrients to flow and at the same time allowing the essential air to circulate.
There are so many positives that come out of our rootzone treatments that it is difficult to name them all, or perhaps even put them into any kind of order of importance; I suppose it depends on the use of the ground we are treating and the objectives of the management team that have called us in to respond to their specific problem.
One of the greatest joys for Terrain Aeration is probably being able to ease a problem in community sports pitches, where local young people come to play and train, but are often curtailed because, due to a mixture of overuse, lack of money to do maintenance or poor historical rootzone structure, football or rugby is often called off when surfaces become unplayable.
One pitch at Bradley Stoke, situated on the outskirts of Bristol, suffers with a compaction layer at depths greater than normal verti-draining will relieve; in these cases, often surface maintenance is wasted if this resistance layer cannot be broken through.
The pitch sits on the edge of a highly populated area and enjoys the support of local youths who take part in activities at ages that range from seven to eighteen and over, yet their sport is disrupted because the surfaces are unplayable for fifty percent of the season.
Managing Director, John Connell of Classic Landscapes, who is responsible for maintaining the sports facilities for Bradley Stoke Council, says that usual methods of aeration, such as Verti-draining have been tried, but the problem continued to exist.
We were called in to treat the site with our Scamper machine to a depth of one metre by injecting compressed air at eighteen bar.
It is odd that although the pitch is bounded by flat ground it is situated on a raised plateau and appears to be made up ground; our inspection didn't really confirm a reason for it.
The sub soil is a compact yellow clay with poor permeability and we found evidence of bricks, concrete and rubble while carrying out the work.
Now that the entire underground area has been de-compacted to a depth of one metre with dried, milled seaweed (which swells when wet) injected on the final air blast to keep the newly created air channels open, the way should be clear for water to travel from the surface to the drains.
Having now treated as a first stage of recovery, Classic Landscapes will be able to commence weed control, over seeding and dressing the surface.
Rain fell shortly after the treatment and John tells us that the following morning, judging by the condition of the pitch, early indications looked promising.
Here's hoping for the three hundred plus boys and girls who want to play football.