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Traditional Bowls Green Aeration

Rob emailed with an interesting question about using the old fashioned forking method of aeration during periods when the green is excessively wet, like now probably in many parts. Here is Rob’s full question and my reply to him earlier. If anybody has views on this subject please feel free to share:

Do you know anything about the traditional ‘raise forking’ or ‘graip’ aeration methods that were used? What kind of forks were used? (straight? curved? how thick were the prongs?) and how deep did the go down ? etc.

I am interested in such traditional techniques and yet cannot find out any information about it?

After the snow the greens are absolutely soaked through and I wondered if trying this traditional technique might dry them out with minimum disturbance?

Well, although I have used the method (under duress) in the past, I didn’t have all of the answers I would have liked for Rob:

Hi Rob and Happy New Year

I am not aware of any special equipment for this, but I have done it.

Usually this was with a normal garden fork; the technique was to work backwards and push the fork in as far as possible at intervals equivalent to the space between the tines on the fork so as to create a square hole pattern.

After pushing the fork in to full depth (6 to 8 inches) you wiggled it about and heaved it backwards slightly before removing and moving on to the next.

Back-breaking and very labour intensive mind you.

Before going to extreme measures it might be worth checking that the ground isn’t still frozen at some point below as this might be causing the slow down in drainage.

During the winter I recommend using a deep slit tiner as often as possible, which automates this procedure to some extent and has a very good effect on compaction related problems like this.

You can find articles on this here:

Last week I shared some links to resources including the most suitable machinery for this work; you can see that article here:

If any reader has some light to shed on this subject then I would be very interested to hear it.


One comment

  1. Anthony Coward says:

    Hi. seems rather hard work, with a fork. I’m rather wet behind the ears as far as greenkeeping is concerned, so, what I would like to know is, do the green have to be dry to Aerate throughout the winter months and do it need to be Aerated throughout the winter. any help on this subject would be very much appreciated. Sincerely Tony.

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