Friday, August 11, 2017

Thatch Control in Greens

Earlier this week the grounds staff completed a mini-tine aeration on the greens.  I call the process mini because often when the superintendent says the "A" word, golfers get concerned, and I wanted to convey the minimal effect the process will have on the playability of the greens during the project.  The small diameter of these tines allows for minimal disruption of the surface while still benefiting the turf.  As you can see from the picture above, quite a bit of organic material was removed from the greens.  Once the cores were pulled, they were blown off the putting surface and a heavy application of sand was added.  Once the sand was brushed in and rolled, the surface is very playable.  The finished product is shown in the picture below.

Each year, during the summer, the Bentgrass on our greens tends to accumulate excessive amounts of thatch.  Excessive thatch leads to a softer, less true surface that is more prone to ball marks, imperfections and disease pressure.  This shallow, mini-tine aeration has become another tool for our team to use to maintain firm conditions.  The tines do a great job of physically removing some of the thatch, while brushing the topdressing sand into the holes further dilutes the thatch in the top inch of the soil.  Reducing organic matter by replacing it with sand will allow us to maintain a consistently smoother, firmer surface.

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