Alpine highly recommends shattering the earth via a Punch-N-Fill process now (late fall) as the best way to leverage nature’s remarkable winter rejuvenating tendency and to assure healthy athletic fields in the spring.
The process includes several steps beginning with aeration using an AerWay aerator (see photo). The AerWay’s tines have an optimum curve that can penetrate the ground up to 7” – far deeper than most simple, slicing aerators. In addition, the curved tines fracture the ground in a way that allows it to accept a great deal more water and air while eliminating soil compaction.
More water and air in the ground will take full advantage of the freeze – thaw heaving phenomena that occurs naturally from the fall into the spring. Each time water-laden ground freezes the fractures increase allowing more water and air to be accepted by the ground, thereby further loosening the soil. Loose soil helps grass roots grow in the spring when the weather turns warm again.
The second step in the Punch-N-Fill process is the “fill.” Alpine recommends that compost be spread over the freshly aerated ground and dragged into the fractures. Compost has many positive effects on the ground including improving the humus level of the soil and the soil’s ability to retain moisture. Compost application in the fall will cause grass to green earlier in the spring and grow thicker and faster.
The final Punch-N-Fill step is aeration with an Aer-A-Vator. This aerator penetrates the ground 2 to 3 inches, also with a shattering effect, and leaves the ground dimpled. This dimpling helps hold the newly loosened soil and compost in place through the winter.