Unique application of deep aerator at Woolmers Park Polo Club
By Peter Driver
Brian Ruggles, Estate Manager at Woolmers Park Polo Club has used a Wiedenmann Terra Spike XP210 in a unique application which enabled polo games to be played at the end of last season despite the hard grounds that resulted from the summer drought.
It is imperative for the safety of the players and ponies that there is a certain amount of 'give' in the top section of the turf, so that the ponies can turn sharply and safely during a chukka. Obviously on hard ground this is problem and would have prevented important matches being staged.
"We purchased the Terra Spike from our local dealer Ernest Doe and Sons at Benington towards the end of last summer. Using the 19mm diameter tines we ran over the entire pitch and run-off areas to loosen the top surface," he said. "Although 400mm long, the tines penetrated the hard ground just far enough to loosen the top of the soil and provide enough grip to give the ponies the confidence to turn. It's an unusual application for a deep aerator, but it certainly ensured that we were able to continue playing while many other clubs had to cancel games."
Recent major investment, following the purchase of the 250 acre estate from the polo playing Lucas family, has added two new fields to the existing two full sized and boarded fields. Since the end of last season all the pitches have been deep aerated with the Terra Spike to relieve compaction and improve drainage and 150 tons of Norfolk loam has been top dressed onto the No. 2 pitch.
"We have a mixed soil here, some areas are gravel, and some are clay, so it's important that we can quickly change the depth of penetration to suit the prevailing conditions. It's easy with the Terra Spike and it's been a very sound investment."
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