Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to use a hovercraft 3 grass drying 101

This pond was even larger than the last and I thought to myself if I get all the water out of this would we find fish at the bottom? Not to worry there was no way we were going to get this water to dry up it was probably two feet deep and covered about an acre of his property but I tackled it anyway, its not like I was working or anything flying a hovercraft around a wide open smooth fairly short cut grass field and over a few ponds was what most of us hope for when we hover so this was like an outing for me. In fact I wished I could just fly all over the place on this nice warm summer day. It was rather funny now that I think about it because when we started Tim didn’t really want me on the sod but now he was directing me all over the place. We did as he asked and flew where he wanted, after attempting to dry up his ponds (puddles) he directed me to a spot that had some dead grass and open spots on it. I was rather puzzled so I stopped and asked what he would like me to do at that spot. He explained that the soil was depleted of oxygen and he thought perhaps the down flow of air from the hover might inject air into the soil so I basically sat on the spot with the hover and let it hover for about five minutes. It would have been neat to have grass instantly appear but that would have required the heavens to open and the angels to begin singing and I didn’t see that happening so I figured I would humor the guy and do what he asked when I was done we ended our little attempt to dry the field and put the hover back on the trailer. We stood there looking at the sod field still covered with water and pretty much concluded that the experiment into hover grass drying was pretty much a failure and with that I left.
It wasn’t until the next day that the true results of my effort were made known. A few of the ponds I had flown over were dried up! Tim was actually very pleased with what he saw and called my son Paul to tell him the results of our efforts. I was completely puzzled over the results and so I called the University of Illinois Department of Horticulture to ask them what might have caused the overnight sensation. They explained to me that in a standing water situation the thing prolongs the pond is the soil under the water. It seems the problem is not that the soil is so saturated with water it can’t run of but rather the weight of the water packs the soil and turns it into something similar to clay, which acts as a barrier. It is kind of like putting a sheet of plastic wrap on the ground and the water is left to evaporate into the air rather than seep into the ground. My activity with the hover caused the soil under the water to be loosened up which allowed the water to drain off. That little change in the soil allowed the water to drain rapidly into the soil and dry off the field. I pretty much saved Tim thousands of dollars in damage and he was real happy about that. I realized at that point there was some potential for some income from doing not only this but applying some other applications to this type of crop using the hovercraft. One of the worse things you can do with grass is pack it down, think about this would you want to have tire tracks from a tractor running across your newly sodden lawn? The less you have to run a tractor tire across your sod the better so a hovercraft with a sprayer on the back could apply liquid fertilizer and other applications onto the sod and never touch the ground. This could apply to a lawn as well as a sod field. I will continue this thought later.

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