I have been asked on many occasions by members if rain will hurt us when it comes to turf aeration. There is no real short answer to that question except it depends on when it rains. The actual process requires dry conditions, so in that sense any rainfall either before or especially during an aeration process will hurt us. If it rains heavily, like it has this past week, we cannot proceed however the rain pounding on newly aerated putting surfaces can be beneficial.
|These type of conditions are difficult to play in much less|
core aerate in. #12 fairway right after a downpour on Wednesday 4/11
Our current strategy for aeration greens is to punch 5/8" holes on a 1" X 2" pattern. This produces 48 holes per square foot and displaces close to 14% of the actual putting surface. This is considered an aggressive aeration by industry standards. When the heavy rain we are currently experiencing subsides, all of those sand filled holes will allow a tremendous amount of air to be "sucked" via soil capillary forces into the root zone of the green. Air in the root zone is necessary for root growth and all plant functions so the more the merrier especially with a highly maintained putting surface. Another benefit with this heavy rain on the putting surfaces is the sand between the aeration holes will be driven into the turf canopy more effectively then it would if we were irrigating the green. Will the heavy rain help the greens recover sooner? The current storm has been warm and steady, so combined with the above mentioned benefits along with the sunshine that will follow the storm, I think we could have a fairly rapid recovery.
|This picture was taken this morning Friday 4/13/12 while it was|
raining on our #2 green. Notice how there is no standing water and
no apparent sand or open aeration holes at least from this view.
The other side of the question does the rain hurt us during aeration has to do with progress. Because this process cannot be done when conditions are wet aeration progress is stalled. However we made great progress last week Monday 4/2/12 through Monday 4/9/12. We completed all putting surfaces, fairways and over half of the green surrounds, the areas that are difficult to do around member play. Additionally we were able to get the areas completed cleaned up much better on Tuesday after getting our vertical mowers up and running properly so at this point we are very happy with the progress on core aeration thus far, despite the weather.
|Close-up of #2 green taken at the same time as the picture above. The fuzzy yellow stuff is flowers from|
the Oak Tree behind and to the right of the green. Notice again no standing water, and almost
covered aeration holes.
Our plans for next week, Monday 4/16/12 through Friday 4/20/12 are as follows. We anticipate the soil still being too wet to continue core aeration on Monday but by Wednesday we should be good to go. On Wednesday we plan to have a normal front nine start and complete the green surrounds on #16 & #18. Thursday and Friday we plan to have back nine starts and to complete the green surrounds on hole #'s 4 through 9. The back nine starts will allow some drying so we can process the cores prior to the bulk of member play. I'll post another update next week with progress and plans for the following week. With any kind of luck we will have the entire property core aerated by the first part of May.