Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Golf Course Maintenance Weekly 10/5/16

Fall 2016 Putting Surface Aerification

A great article on Why Do Golf Courses Aerate is linked here and does a concise job on explaining the whens and whys of aeration of putting surfaces. Below is a pictorial of the process we did yesterday (Tuesday, October 4, 2016) We did have a hydraulic malfunction on the piece of equipment the we use to remove the aeration cores first thing in the morning on #12 green. This will require some re-sodding from our nursery green next week. Other then that, the process went well as interested members can see from the below pictures.


Step #1 - Core aerify. This is the process that removes an actual core of  grass with attached roots and sand. Benefits are removal of excessive organic matter and relief of surface compaction & drainage.


This is what a green looks like when almost completly core aerified ahead of cleanup.

Step #2 -  Core Removal. The above machine is called a core harvester and is a big part of getting all of the greens done in a day here at Granite Bay. This front section corrals the aeration cores into an elevator belt with paddles that......
....... dump the cores onto a cross conveyor that ejects the cores into the back of a workman utility vehicle. We utilize an extra guy to keep the cores from piling up and obstructing the cross conveyer.

Another crucial part of cleanup is to keep the path clear so the core harvester doesn't run over wet plugs smashing them into the turf canopy. 

Step #3 - Apply sand topdressing.


Step #4 - Deep Tine Aerify. We run a separate aerifier over the topdressd surface that does not remove a core but pokes a hole 6" to 8" deep. This helps break up layering that can impede rooting and created a deep channel for air and water. 
Close up of the "VertiDrain" deep tine aerifier.
Step #5 - Apply soil amendments.  When the green is opened up during the above mentioned practices it is a logical time to add soil nutritional products. We usually add organic carbon based fertility, calcium in the way of gypsum and a coated slow release  potassium product.
Step #6 - Brushing in the sand and amendments.  This is a time consuming process that must be done when everything is dry. Time consuming because it does take some doing to get the 6" deep holes from the deep tine aerifier filled. Additionally if this step is done improperly or  in a situation where it is hot you can really experience some bruising and burning to the turf surface. Fortunately yesterday the weather conditions were perfect.
Step #7 - Rolling. This step is repeated for several days and a key to getting the surfaces smoothed out. 

The aerification holes will typically recover in 10 to 14 days and full putting quality can return in 21 to 28 days give or take. We typically like to let sand in the holes settle and then verticle mow and seed along with another light topdressing 6 days after the initial aeration process. Something  that was slightly different this fall is the coring tines we used were longer and we set the machine deeper in an effort to get deeper rooting which has been elusive amongst all of our successes with these putting surfaces. Time will tell. 
Thanks for your support!

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