Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 Aeration

Aeration of turfgrass has a multitude of benefits. It includes a variety of techniques that punch small holes in the turf & soil surface as a means of relieving soil compaction. This loosening of the soil facilitates air and water movement in the soil improving root growth and mass. Additionally the process produces a firming of the surface when aeration is done in conjunction with sand topdressing. We include sand topdressing with aeration on putting surfaces, teeing surfaces and approaches leading up to the greens.

Another huge benefit of aeration when you actually remove the aeration cores from the ground is the removal of the associated thatch with the core. Thatch is excessive organic matter consisting of roots and stems that form the soft mat directly below the green leaves of the turf stand. Excessive thatch is the main culprit of the soft conditions we experience at Granite Bay in the summer because it acts like a sponge retaining a portion of applied irrigation. We need to continue to reduce this excessive organic matter to improve conditions. We have some different plans to accomplish that goal this year, in part, which I will now explain.

As planned we will start aerifyng the entire golf course beginning next Tuesday 4/6/10. We will start with the green’s which really need an aeration to get the bentgrass going & growing so as to catch up with the patches of Poa Annua. These two different growth rates definitely contribute to sporadic bumpiness we have been experiencing in the afternoons. We have not been able to roll the greens as much this spring to date because of the hit and miss rain storms which would have helped with this bumpiness. Rolling the greens when they are wet just compacts them further ultimately hindering rather then helping the situation. We hope to aerify and topdress a portion of the tees immediately following the greens and finish up what we missed the following week.

We plan to core aerify the fairways along with deep vertical mowing to remove additional thatch the following Monday 4/12/10. What fairways we do not complete on that Monday we will complete on Tuesday 4/13/10 after the ladies clear the front nine. The approaches to the greens will be done at the same time followed by sand topdressing.

Rough areas or the tall grass areas between holes and surrounding greens and tees will be core aerified the last two weeks of April. Because the cores are typically damp and prone to being smashed into the turf, we will ask during this process that carts remain on the path on the holes we are working on. A wet plug is difficult to pick up much less a smashed down wet plug. Once we clear the hole of cores we will re-open the hole to cart traffic.

As I have mentioned previously this course has a fifteen-year accumulation of organic matter that has become excessive. Again it is the primary cause for the soft surfaces we experience in the summer. We have done some work on inhibiting further development and reducing accumulation the past two years but lets face it we have been busy with any number of projects improving the course. Now as we get closer to completing the bunker’s (at least the greenside bunkers) we need to start focusing more efforts on our playing surfaces. I think we have come up with a good aggressive plan for core aerifying all of the surfaces this spring, and we have some non aggressive, unobtrusive plans for this summer that we calculate will really help with surface softness up the middle. There will be definitely more to come on this subject.Bottom line is most everyone knows that aeration is a necessary evil. However we feel it is legitimate to expect the most rapid recovery of the putting surfaces as humanly possible.

Core aerating putting surfaces
Aeration Plugs
Picking up the aeration cores

Applying topdressing
Deep solid tine aeration

Brushing in the topdressing

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