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Terrain’s deep aeration in Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Terrain’s deep aeration in Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Situated near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an open-air gallery that showcases work by world-class British and international artists, including Yorkshire-born Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Damien Hirst.

The park has one of the largest open-air collection of Moore’s bronzes in Europe. Spread over 500-acres of 18th century designed landscape of Bretton Hall, YSP opened in 1977 and was the first UK sculpture park based on temporary open-air exhibitions that were organized in London parks from the 1940s to 1970 by the Arts Council and London County Council.

Terrain’s deep aeration in Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Terrain’s deep aeration in Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Today, the ‘gallery without walls’ has an ever-changing exhibition programme and preparing to reopen after lockdown presented an opportunity for remedial work to be done. Following a site visit by hydrology consultants inspecting a waterlogged area, they brought in Terrain Aeration with their deep aeration treatment system. The area in question was an important part of the Lower Park and a popular area for visitors and curators. It suffers from compaction due to footfall and the weight of sculptures, resulting in the build-up of standing water.

“It is unusual for the area to be cleared,” says Mark Chesman, Head of Estates and Parks at YSP, “but the sculptures in that area were removed for conservation work, and we seized the opportunity as part of a wider project. In all, it took two-and-a-half days and they treated 4,000 square metres of land.”

Terrain Aeration’s Terralift hammers a hollow probe one metre into the soil using a JCB road breaker gun. At depth, the ground is usually so compacted it needs the hammer to break through. Compressed air is then released to a maximum of 20Bar (280psi) to fracture and fissure the soil and the process is repeated in two-metre spacings, to ensure the fissures interlink. On the end of the air blast, dried seaweed is injected which sticks to the fissure walls, expanding and contracting with moisture content in the soil and keeping the area ‘breathing.’ The 1.5-inch probe holes created by the Terralift machine are backfilled with aggregate to provide a semi-permanent aeration/ventilation shaft, helping to keep the whole aeration process working. The park’s groundkeepers then overseeded the area to finish.

We tend to take trees for granted, in our parks, public spaces and estates but they are often subjected to stress as a result of several factors, such as nutrient shortage, surface compaction due to foot traffic, and waterlogging where water drains off hard surfaces. Yorkshire Sculpture Park features lime trees, beech and Atlas cedar amongst others and these were given Terrain Aeration treatment as well. Breaking up the soil around the roots, and beyond, means excess water will drain away from the roots to help stop anaerobic conditions and rotting of the root system. “We’re confident with what’s been done,” says Mark, “and will be looking at further areas to be treated, probably in the autumn.”

Terrain Aeration 01449 673783 www.terrainaeration.co.uk

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Deep aeration cures waterlogging

Deep aeration cures waterlogging:  Stratford Town Football Club moved in the 2007/8 season to Knights Lane Ground, Tiddington where they built a new stadium and pitch. The summer of 2007 had seen large areas of flooding and when work began in the July heavy machinery moved straight in, crushing and compacting the ground during construction. It created a problem that would not go away until the end of 2020.

“The pitch has never properly drained.” Says Club Director, Mark Bickley. “The club has spent many thousands of pounds treating the top of the pitch, which does let water through but two areas around the 18-yard box flooded badly enough to stop play, especially when the water table was up. Several schemes were done over the years, at some expense, but none solved the problem and over the last two seasons with excessive winter rainfall the problem escalated.”

Deep aeration cures waterlogging

Deep aeration cures waterlogging

The groundsmen kept to a regime of slitting, aerating, Verti-Draining, scarifying and top dressing, says Mark, and in August and September the pitch looked like Wembley. But as soon as the heavier rains came the problem was back. What was odd was the junior pitch, which is only two hundred yards away, had very little done to it and the drainage was fine. Similarly, the nearby golf course had no drainage problems. A Robin Dagger was brought in for two hours of drilling and backfilling and the fact this helped for a period led to suspicions about what was going on deeper under the surface. Even a week after rain the pitch remained soggy and they relied on the wind to dry it. Two of wettest winters in a row prompted the investment in a tarpaulin to cover 125 sq m. of the worst affected areas.

“It takes six people to put out and is a problem in high winds, having to be weighed down, causing more compaction.” Says Mark. “We ran a test with a boat post hammer, the sort of thing they use on the river moorings in Stratford-upon-Avon and managed to drive it down 18 inches. It was like concrete. I talked it over with an ex Villa Park Head Groundsman and he suggested bringing in Terrain Aeration, the deep aeration specialists. In October 2020 they did a test at the back of the ground with their Terralift machine. It took just fifteen seconds for their JCB road breaker probe to go down to a metre. Moving onto the pitch it took at least a minute to drive through to the same depth.”

The Terralift went on to treat the worst affected parts of the pitch, two strips about forty metres long. The hammer is used because the ground is usually so compact at depth it is needed to break through. Once the probe reaches one metre deep compressed air up to a maximum of 20Bar/280psi is released to fracture and fissure the soil. The Terralift is the only machine using such necessary high pressure. The probe is withdrawn, and the process repeated at two-metre centre spacings on a staggered grid. This means each shot interconnects. On the tail end of the blast, dried seaweed is injected which sticks to the fissure and expands and contracts with the soil’s moisture content, allowing drainage and aeration. The probe holes are backfilled with Lytag aggregate.

“We were able to play games immediately, up to the second lockdown due to Covid-19. Over Christmas there were storms and heavy rains, but the result is unbelievable after so many years. We would certainly have been able to play the local Derby with Banbury on Boxing Day if the league hadn’t been suspended.” Says Marks “This was money well spent and we will have Terrain Aeration back as soon as possible to treat the rest of the pitch. If anyone is having drainage problems on their pitch, I would recommend they do the same.”

Terrain Aeration 01449 673783 www.terrainaeration.co.uk

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Terrain deep penetration aeration for trees

Terrain deep penetration aeration for trees: We tend to take trees for granted, in our parks, estates and gardens, as a natural part of the landscape.

All too often they are subjected to stress as a result of a number of factors such as nutrient shortages in the soil, surface compaction due to foot traffic and waterlogging where water drains off hard surface pathways. Armed with a number of solutions, Terrain Aeration have been treating trees in all types of situation for over twenty-five years, from back gardens to large estates right through to Royal Parks.

Terrain deep penetration aeration for trees

Terrain deep penetration aeration for trees

The Terrain Aeration Terralift machines comprise a probe which reaches one metre depth, deeper than the roots of trees (other than the major tap roots which grow straight down).  Breaking up the soil around the roots, and beyond, means that excess water will drain away from the roots to help stop anaerobic conditions and rotting of the root system.  The probe is then used to inject dried seaweed which helps keep the fissures open and backfilling the probe holes with aggregate provides a semi permanent aeration/ventilation shaft.  Terrain Aeration aerate around the roots using two-metre spacings – on most occasions one-metre inside and one-metre outside the canopy drip line, as this is where the growing roots lie.  Decompacting around the roots and injecting air into the soil increases the percentage of uptake of oxygen into the root system.

In one particular situation it was found there was a magnesium deficiency coupled with low overall soil fertility around trees in a park. This was determined using new technology to measure light transmission through the leaves on the trees to gain a reading of chlorophyll levels. The likely cause of the problem was that leaf litter is always removed and had been for a century, taking with it the natural nutrients from decaying leaves. There was also severe compaction of the surface around the tree. A tree feed mix containing slow release general nutrients and magnesium was injected, using the Terralift’s ability to inject granular material via its seaweed carrier, forcing it upwards into the root zone of the trees. This also avoids losing the nutrients to the grass which would occur with surface treatment. Two Terralift machines were used to carry out the process.

There are some products in the market place which advertise to be of help for trees with Phytophthora. There is a product which is applied around the tree roots via a watering can.  If the tree roots have been aerated by the Terralift machine, the product has a far better chance of reaching affected roots due to the soil being decompacted.  There are machines that will go shallower, but this does not have such an effective treatment as you would still need to get excess water away from laying stagnant around the roots. Terrain Aeration also recommend that root samples from good and affected trees, as well as tip samples be sent for full analysis from the Forestry Commission or any other Arboricultural advisor.  The samples should be labelled as well as being placed in separate plastic bags.  Photos of the location of the trees would also help, just in case there is a huge wall on three sides of the tree or something which could affect its well being. It’s best to give a complete “story” surrounding the tree. For more details on deep penetration aeration treatment for trees, sports pitches, golf courses and gardens:

Terrain Aeration 01449 673783
www.terrainaeration.com

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STIHL waters run deep

STIHL waters run deep: It was there from about 20 minutes into the journey and I couldn’t shift it, not that in all honesty I really wanted it to leave. 

The musical piece which had infiltrated my brain is a tune called “Pop Looks Bach” but it is better known as the theme tune for “Ski Sunday” and the reason that it had become my latest earworm was that we were heading into the Alps, or more accurately the Tyrolian section of the Alps, not far over the German border into Austria.

STIHL waters run deep

And the reason our group, comprising of trade journalists, gardening writers from the national press and our hosts, were traveling to this hotbed of Alpine sports was, ironically, to visit a factory which produces lawnmowers and related outdoor ground maintenance equipment.

STIHL is a name renowned the world over. It is synonymous with high quality grounds care equipment whether it be chainsaws, leaf blowers, and more recently professional and domestic ride on or pedestrian mowing equipment.

But not only is it one of the best known names in the world it is also a company which has manufacturing bases all over the world too.

We were being taken to Kufstein, in the Austrian Tyrol, which had originally been home to the Viking company, but which had been bought by STIHL in 1992 and whose name was integrated into the STIHL brand just last year.

Viking’s first product was a domestic shredder in 1981, but it wasn’t until 1984 that they began producing 1984 that they began producing their own line of lawn mowers and it that those products, something which STIHL saw as squaring the circle and allowing them to offer a full portfolio of garden and landscape maintenance equipment, that brought about the union between the two.

With backdrops of snow covered peaks the factory, which has grown from 20,000 square metres to 43,000 square metres in recent times and increased staffing levels from 373 in 2015 to 650 now, is at the cutting edge of technology. So much so that we weren’t allowed to photograph any of the work going on inside.

STIHL waters run deep

The company takes particular pride in its staff who jokingly admit that, such is the length of time that most employees remain at the company, the probationary period is 10 years.

The sheer scale of the production facility at Kufstein is such that a tour of the factory takes over two hours, more if you spend longer than the allotted time watching, for example, the stress tests that every element of a machine must survive – something it was good to see the unique mono handle bars on the mowers dealing with it with considerable aplomb Suffice to say, the recently installed robotic parts’ picker proved to be extremely mesmeric and some of us had to be dragged away.

The man who is now a brand name as much as a family name – up there with the likes of (Henry) Ford; (Enzo) Ferrari; (Willian Henry) Hoover; (Walt) Disney; (Gianni) Versace and (Ronald) MacDonald – is Andreas Stihl.

Andreas was an engineer and a Swiss national, and he designed and hand built the first chainsaw back in 1926.

Andreas was onto a winner and the STIHL name soon became popular, and also synonymous with professional grade chainsaws and soon became the number-one selling chainsaw company in the world, a title that the company can still boast.

Company headquarters is in Waiblingen, Germany but has assembly facilities spread across the world in Brazil, China, Switzerland and the United States in addition to the plant in Kufstein and a sales and marketing base in Camberley, Surrey,

Now the company boasts a product range that cannot disappoint any amateur gardener or professional turf or estates manager.

Power tools (cordless, gasoline, or electric) – chainsaws, pruners, brushcutters, shredders, scarifiers, tillers, sweepers, blowers, sprayers pressure washers, pedestrian mowers, ride on mowers, hand tools and forestry accessories, Personal Protective Equipment and more recently, some superb imow robot mowers, the technology for which is growing at a pace.

STIHL waters run deep

The staff, who are blessed with the finest “views out the window” to be found anywhere in the world, are universally keen to explain and demonstrate their products.

Some, if you are lucky, are even happy to share their chocolate with groups of journalists!

What is evident is that the care shown in assembling a machine is matched by the care shown in ensuring that part has been added just as it should and that it is ready to move on to the next stage of production.

Our group of 25 was treated royally during the two days of the trip. We ate and, purely in the interests of not being reluctant guests, drank well at our wonderful hotel and two unforgettable restaurants, including the oldest restaurant in the whole of Austria.

We also took in a traditional Christmas market and the Riedel glass factory – another world renowned company in what is a relatively small Austrian town – where we watched some of the finest wine glasses in the world being produced – four highly trained people to make one glass!

With an unexpected additional cargo of wine glass, it made the flight home rather anxious for some of our party.

It was a superb, and informative, trip and a big thank you to everyone at STIHL, and HROC, for making it such a rewarding visit for us all.

I can also add that despite the surroundings no skis, nor indeed lederhosen, were donned during the trip but that earworm is still there and beginning to become a little tiresome.

Deep Aeration Cures Waterlogging

Deep Aeration Cures Waterlogging: Heavy downpours of rain on compacted grass areas on sports pitches, bowling greens, golf courses and amenity areas can leave standing water, rendering them unusable and stopping play. The action of normal aeration, use of machines and foot traffic over time can leave areas compacted and panning occurs, causing poor drainage and depriving grass roots of oxygen and nutrients. Sports turf specialists Terrain Aeration have been providing a long-term solution to this for over twenty five years, using one- metre deep penetration of the playing surface.

The Terrain Aeration Terralift machine not only solves the immediate compaction problem, the process has a beneficial effect that lasts many years. It works like this. The Terralift hammers a hollow probe one metre into the soil using a JCB road breaker gun (this is because the ground is usually so compact at depth that it needs this hammer to break through).  Once the probe has reached one metre depth, compressed air is released up to a maximum of 20Bar (280psi), the Terralift being the only machine using such high air pressure, which is needed to fracture and fissure the soil. The probe is withdrawn and the process repeated using two-metre centre spacings on a staggered grid pattern – this means that each shot interconnects with the previous ones.

Deep Aeration Cures Waterlogging

On the tail end of the air blast, dried seaweed is injected which sticks to the walls of the fractures and fissures and, over time, expands and contracts with the moisture content in the soil – similar to “breathing” underground.   The 1½” probe holes created by the Terralift machine are backfilled with aggregate to provide a semi permanent aeration/ventilation shaft, helping to keep the whole aeration process working.  The top 1″ should be topped with the usual top dressing to encourage grass growth over the probe holes.  The Terrain Aeration process is ecologically sound, there is no mess and once the pitch or green has been given a light mow it’s ready for play to resume.

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The Power Of Deep Aeration

The Power Of Deep Aeration: The concept of one metre deep aeration, to relieve compaction and improve drainage, really needs to be seen in action to appreciate the long-term benefits. A long and very hot summer with little amounts of rain will, without doubt, lead to compaction and drainage problems on the sports pitch, the golf course and bowling green and inevitably in amenity areas and gardens. Terrain Aeration have produced a new video that shows precisely how to alleviate the problem, using the proven Terralift system that has been in operation for over twenty-five years. As soon as the heavy rains come areas of turf compaction and panning become self-evident with large stretches of standing water.

Normal aeration and scarifying are of course essential to promoting a healthy sward but the penetration isn’t deep enough to get to where the real problem lies. Go down a metre with a hollow probe, using a JCB breaker gun to penetrate the hard compaction in the soil, and release compressed air up to a maximum of 20Bar (280psi). This fractures the soil, creating and opening up the fissures that will allow the water to drain. Repeat the process on a staggered grid pattern at two metre spacings and you ensure each air blast interconnects the underground labyrinth of cracks and fissures.

The Power Of Deep Aeration

As you can see on the Terrain Aeration video, that is how the Terrain Aeration system works but it doesn’t stop there. Dried seaweed is injected on the tail end of the blast and this sticks to the walls of the probe hole and cracks. Over time it expands and contracts with the moisture content and maintains the drainage when the heavier rains fall. Water storing polymers can also be added at this stage as an extra insurance with water retention. The interconnecting system created also allows oxygen and nutrients to get to the roots, while the grass pushes them down to reach the deeper water supply and help promote top growth. The probe holes are back filled with porous Lytag aggregate and finished with the usual top dressing to encourage grass growth over the probe holes. In the case of the golf green, tee or sports pitch play can resume immediately.

Once treated, the area will benefit for many years to come as has been demonstrated by Terrain Aeration over the years for thousands of sports venues, golf courses, parks and amenity areas. The deep penetration process is used to great effect around trees, especially where the ground has become very compacted due to foot traffic. The Terralift system has treated such notable areas as the Royal Parks, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and many National Trust properties. But it is equally beneficial in relieving compaction and creating drainage on formal lawns and even small gardens as well as sports pitches and golf greens. You can see the video at: https://youtu.be/uw9k35PA5kM

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