0 Terrain's new tracker put to test


By Carol Dutton

Terrain Aeration, known for their compressed air de-compaction treatment of sports turf using purpose built Airforce terralift machines, have developed a new, more manoeuvrable model, for treating small areas. The Airforce Tracker, designed and built by Terrain's MD David Green is a combined hole preparation machine and remote probe, mounted on a powered track chassis. Mr Green states that the "Tracker has the same hydraulic hammer and probe as our standard Airforce machines, but it's mounted on a Honda HP500 Powered Barrow," he explains. "The diesel powered compressor stays on the trailer and a 50 metre long, high pressure hose connects the two pieces of kit."


The present owners, who moved in last Dec., soon discovered they had water flooding their garage, which was put down to the fact that a concrete path had been laid alongside, above the damp course. Having dispensed with the path and dug below the damp proof course, the owners uncovered a gravel-filled trench intended to take water from the garage and nearby shed roofs into a main drain located under a patio near the house. "Once the clay soil had been removed from the top of the gravel filled trench, water welled up through the ground like a spring," observes Green. The situation was not helped by the fact that 300 sq metres of garden beyond the patio had been built up by the previous owners to a height of approx 500mm and supported by a retaining wall. Another gravel filled trench, running alongside the wall was supposed to take surface water from the raised area, but this had been breached before it connected to the sewer.

"The surface of the raised area had been covered by a geo-textile membrane and covered with shingle, which could have been there for anything up to five or six years," continues Green. "As the new owners wanted to lawn this area, they removed the shingle, and uncovered the membrane. The ground beneath was severely compacted and anaerobic, yet beneath the saturated top 50mm, the subsoil was reasonably dry."

Arriving on site with Tracker, Terrain Aeration used two ramps from the back of their trailer to form a bridge over the dug out section next to the garage, onto the 300 sq metre raised area, and took the machine across. The engine and compressor unit were placed on the trailer and parked on the tarmac in front of the garage, while the 50 metre hose connected both sections of machinery.

"We injected compressed air at 16 Bar to a depth of one metre, over the whole future lawn area, and the soil heaved in a very satisfactory manner." Green reports. "Working at two metre spacings we injected dried milled seaweed on the final air blast and back filled the probe holes with Lytag, before testing the machine to the limit by trying it in the dug out areas where there was six inches of surface water. We gave this section of the garden four shots and the water drained away. I think we gave the opened drain a shock."

Forty-eight hours after the company left, the present lady homeowner, (who will shortly be installing a new drain in the dug out area) walked across her future lawn without sinking up to her ankles in mud.

"Last week I needed to get to the shed and I had to put sheets of cardboard down to keep my feet dry," she remembers. "Although we won't know if the treatment has been entirely successful until it rains, we've very pleased with it so far. I didn't think we were going to have a garden, but now it looks as if we can."

For further information on the services of Terrain Aeration, contact the company on Tel: 01449 673783.

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