What does turf renovation mean?
Turf renovation is a varied, complex and multi-layered term used throughout the turfcare industry. Here we unravel the complexities and offer innovative solutions to invigorate your tired turf.
It basically means renewing an area of turf. It sounds straight forward, but there are a number of issues when dealing with this, which is why there are university courses as well as vocational qualifications on the subject that you can study for many years.
This article is not an A-Z on when, why and how to do this, but it’s an introduction as to what to consider when approaching this topic.
First to consider is whether the area concerned is for total renewal, partial renewal or seasonal maintenance.
The process of seasonal maintenance
1) Mow the area down to 2.5 cm and remove the clippings.
2) Look at the area to see what depth into the canopy or soil the scarifier needs to be set. If there is subsurface thatch then set 2mm below the soil and try and use a thick blade. If there is no need for subsurface scarification then consider using a scarifier with thinner blades, but with narrower spacings. This process may need to be done in 2 or 3 directions depending upon the amount of thatch present.
3) Remove scarification debris from lawn.
Double cut blades can be found on all models of Eliet Scarifiers from 45cm upwards. When using double cut blades twice as much thatch will be removed than with standard blades. This is because the double cut blades have 12 mm spacing rather than 25 mm. Removing twice as much thatch in one pass saves time and money. Eliet have two self propelled models with the double cut blades that are at the cutting edge. These are the C550ZR and the E550ZR.
The C550ZR is revolutionary as it is the first scarifier that collects the debris in rows, for easier removal, by the use of an auger. The blades on this machine counter rotate pulling the debris out and up and over onto the auger. The auger turns and ejects the debris out of the side of the machine which saves on clear up as no raking is needed due to the material already being gathered up.
The E550ZR, coming to market in Spring 2021, is very similar to that of the C550ZR but without the auger. This self-propelled machine has all the benefits of the C550ZR, with counter rotating blades and being self-propelled, but instead of rowing up the grass, it ejects it across the back of the machine under a guard, which in turn enables faster dispersal of the debris on heavily thatched lawns.
4) Overseed areas where there is reduced grass coverage.
This is an opportunity to change the turf sward and use a different seed
mix that might be more shade tolerant or disease resistant. The use of an overseeder on the areas that can repaired, by introducing new seed into the patchy turf rather than removing it completely, is a much quicker and cost effective way of maintenance.
The Eliet DZC600 Overseeder and DZC450 Overseeder are exclusive to the market in terms of how they deliver seed into the ground. The DZC600 (60 cm working width) or its little brother the DZC450 (45 cm working width) introduce the seed to a target depth of 5-7mm by cutting a slot and accurately dropping the seed into the grooves. The blades are Tungsten tipped giving up to 300 hours worth of work even on sandy root zones such as golf and bowling greens. This process can be done in a single pass at 25 mm spacings at varying seeding rates from 15 gm-35 gm per m2. Using a seed mixture with grass that creeps will help knit the grass together reducing the appearance of lines. On more bare areas then a double pass can be done ‘up and down’ and ‘left to right’ for example, putting twice as much seed down in the area doubling the benefits such as grass coverage and speed of recovery. The powered rubber roller at the back of the machine ensures that there is good contact between the soil and the seed by pressing the earth down providing excellent soil to seed contact, which is essential to encourage germination.
5) Optional - Top dress the areas that have been overseeded to help cover the seed and level out the area.
6) Brush in top dressing with a brush or drag mat if applicable.
7) Water in the seeded areas as appropriate for the season.
Careful consideration at the start of a turf rejuvenation programme can certainly pay dividends to the final result. Correct preparation and aftercare is crucial for a good result as is using the best reliable and effective equipment to do the job.
Partial Renewal - The process
- It is essential to cut the grass down to within 2.5 cm and remove the clippings from the site.
- Use a heavy duty scarifier and scarify to a depth of 1- 2mm below the soil or lower as required. Sometimes this may need to be done in multiple directions depending upon the thatch that has built on the area. Once again remove the debris from the site. A machine such as the Eliet 450 Scarifier or 501 with Fixed Blades are perfect for this application. It boasts features that lend itself towards longevity of use. Firstly, the 3 mm width blades have a leading edge of hardened alloy therefore lasting at least twice as long as standard scarifier blades and never need re-sharpening therefore reducing down time and cost. The blade engage cable does not utilise a clutch or jockey wheel therefore enabling the operator to feather in the blade drive helping to reduce belt wear, stalling, putting pressure on the engine and through this again reducing downtime and costs. The double bearings on each of the four wheels along with the solid steel frame make this machine more durable than many others in its class.
- The use of an overseeder on the areas that can repaired as mentioned in previous section.
- Top dress the area to help cover the seed and level the turf with appropriate topdressing ,that is, 50:50 soil and sand mix, and then brush in the topdressing so it gets down between the canopy of the turf and sits on the ground.
- Finally water in the area as appropriate for the season. In extreme circumstances, where the area requiring renovation is on a slope or if a more immediate effect is required, then use a turf cutter to remove the turf on the worst areas and then re-turf, rather than seeding, and water in as required.
Total Renewal - The process
This is where the area is beyond partial renewal and the whole area needs to be taken up and started again.
- Use a turf cutter to remove the top inch of the area. The reliable Eliet Turfway 600 allows for efficient cutting of turf with precision. It is unique within as it features tracks rather than wheels, has a working width of 60 cm and a 60 mm cutting depth. These features enable the machine to be used with greater efficiency on slopes, boggy, uneven or loose ground. The 60 cm rear mounted blade is the most productive of any pedestrian turfcutter and the use of the splitter blade ensures the cut turf can be divided into 30cm widths so as to reduce the weight of the rolls. The cutter blade can be set at 60mm below the ground making it perfect for removing the turf while retaining roots for transplanting as required. The Eliet Turfaway has direct drive to the blade, for maximum power, plus hydrostatic drive via a Joy stick lever making it very easy to control. Eliet have also reduced Hand Arm Vibrations (HAVS) to one of the lowest in the market, protecting not only the machine but also the operator.
- Once the turf has been removed we can then start to prepare the ground for turfing or seeding. The Eliet GZC750 or GZC1000 is the perfect machine for this application as it can level and seed as well as prepare the area for turfing as required. The GZC750 and GZC1000 are multi-use machines with great manoeuvrability and ideal partners for constructing the perfect lawn.
- The Eliet GZC750 has two rows of reciprocating tines working across the machine. The tines efficiently break up the compacted soil down to around 5cm and in turn help to level it off. The finish is of a quality that cut turf can be laid directly on top of the produced surface. Alternatively, there is a seeding box above the tines that can be set so a desired amount of seed can be added to the soil during levelling or at a later stage. Seeding rates vary depending upon the area and what type of seed is being used. For an ornamental lawn and with a seed mixture to match then between 30-40gms per m2 is should be used as a guide.
- If the area is on a slope or an immediate effect is required then lay turf down, rather than seeding, on the prepared area and water in as the time of year demands. This is the more expensive option in terms of labour and materials but significantly quicker at producing a result.
Read more on the PSD Blog: Pathway and hard surface maintenance
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