Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall 2010 Aeration Progress

Anyone who has ever spent any amount of time on a golf course will inevitably be confronted with the  process of aeration to the turfgrass playing surfaces. There is some truth to the appearance that it always seems like we pick the most inopportune time for golfers, either in the springtime coming out of winter, or in the fall  when summer recovery is in full swing. Unfortunately  the simple truth is  that these procedures  have to be done while the turf is actively growing so the surfaces can adequately recover.

In turf, aeration is a cultivation process that provides for air to move or circulate in the root zone and soil. Air in the soil is necessary for most of the  turf grass plants basic functions and we can trace many of our turf problems here at Granite Bay to a lack of air in the root zone. Aeration also relieves soil compaction and when done by pulling a core, the process can be the most effective way of removing excessive organic matter or thatch which actually seals off the soil from air infiltration. Our overall problems will  only compound if we are not diligent at sticking to a routine aeration program on all of the turf areas here at Granite Bay.

#3 Green being core aerated.

Organic matter (we call them plugs) removal

We just finished aeration of the putting surfaces utilizing a more aggressive approach then has ever been applied to our greens. Over the years our greens have become soft and spongy which is a result off a over accumulation of organic matter otherwise known as thatch. The USGA states "In our experience, golf courses with successful mature greens have been on a core aeration program where 15% to 20% of the surface area has been impacted each year."  (USGA Green Section Record - Core Aeration by the Numbers July 2001) The greens at Granite Bay have been aerated twice per year since their inception. However we have typically impacted only 10% to 12% of the surface per year utilizing a minimal disruption aeration approach. hence the problems we had this past summer and our adopting recommendations by the USGA.

Total material removed from 2 greens, #10 & #11

Applying topdressing sand

Finished after brushing, sweeping, blowing and rolling

Organic matter is not just an issue with our putting surfaces. It has accumulated throughout the course and is the source of our soft conditions. The removal of it via core aeration and de-thatching is tedious and time consuming work that need to be done in a timely fashion so the surfaces recover as quickly as possible. Again as I mentioned above if we don't stay on a annual regimen of core aeration of all of our playing surfaces twice per year, our soft and mediocre conditions can persist. It is definitely one of the  necessary evils of golf course maintenance

Putting surfaces were completed the week of October 4th. Front nine fairways will completed the week of October 11th, back nine the week of October 18th along with the back nine rough. That leaves us two weeks to address the putting surface surrounds which we plan to core aerate and aggressively seed.

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