Athletic Field Services
Sport Turf Supply, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Sport Turf
Soil tilth is the measurement of the balance between basic soil elements: mineral, air, water, and organic matter. The
proper balance of these elements increases soil production by allowing efficient interaction of all the soil systems. Air
and water balance in the soil is the key to good root growth.
Compaction, which can be caused by heavy play or poor water management, stresses plants because air and water are
"squeezed" from the soil. Biological and chemical activities which depend on air and water become severely
restricted. Root growth is impaired and turf production suffers.
Compaction makes both wet and dry soil conditions more severe. It reduces the water holding capacity of the soil
which makes drought conditions worse. As well, it inhibits drainage to make wet conditions more troublesome.
Correcting compaction makes a dramatic improvement in soil tilth. It is the most basic step you can take to improve
turf grass production. That’s because air and water move together in the soil profile. With proper air / water balance
in the soil, all the biological and chemical systems work at peak efficiency.
Aeration, by definition, is the movement of air into, and through the soil profile.
Air, by itself, cannot accomplish this. It must be moved by an external force. The
external medium is water. WATER, moving through the soil, displaces the carbon
dioxide out of the pore spaces and pulls air into the vacuum created as it moves
deeper into the soil profile. Therefore, aeration is accomplished by managing
Water management is generally measured by its infiltration and percolation
rates. Infiltration is the rate at which water enters the soil, while percolation is
the rate at which it passes through the soil. Deep aeration, typically 6" to 10",
once or twice a year establishes percolation.
Regular aerations can turn your soil around. Compaction is relieved by
increased pore space, reduced bulk density, increased gas exchange, efficient
nutrient movement, optimum water content, increased air content and deeper
Soil conditions are improved by increased water infiltration, improved
drainage, reduced erosion, greater root mass, increased microbial activity, less
nutrient leaching and reduced risk of injury.
The plant will respond with even turf growth, well developed plants, deeper and
healthier roots, increased root mass, better drought tolerance, imporoved
disease resistance and decreased weed pressure.