Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Greens Aeration

March, in our part of the country, is the beginning of the golf season.  It is also when many parts of the golf course begin to wake up from their winter slumber with the Bentgrass on the greens being the first turf to wake up.  Although we may mow and change cups occasionally leading up to mid-March, once we core aerate, that seems to be the beginning of our season.  As turf growth increases, the staff will begin to input more resources (topdressing, fertilizer, verticutting, handwatering, etc).  One of the most important processes we can do to maintain great greens is core aeration.
Core aeration is critical to the overall success and sustainability of the putting surfaces.  Aeration improves plant health by improving the oxygen content, and drainage capacity of the soil.  Improving the oxygen content helps encourage healthy soil biology and allows the turf to cope with all the stresses we throw at it throughout the season (low/frequent mowing, foot traffic, shade, heat, etc.).  

The process physically removes cores of soil and turf at a designated diameter and spacing.  We use those parameters to determine the total amount of material removed each time we aerate.  Once the cores are removed and then cleaned off the green, pure sand is added to the surface and then brushed into the holes.  The sand is added into the holes for two reasons.  First, it stabilizes the soil, because that many open holes would leave the green soft and almost unplayable.  Second, it helps dilute the organic material in the soil that couldn't be removed during the process.  As you can see from the pictures to the right, a lot of material is removed during the aeration process.  This will firm up the greens and allow us to maintain optimum plant health throughout the season.  A follow up aeration will be performed in September.

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