Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Aerification Update Part III

When I looked at the hourly weather forecast on Saturday morning, I had my doubts that we would be able to aerate greens on Monday 3/25/19 as planned. However when checking again on Sunday I was pleasantly surprised to find the impending storm had pushed to later into the afternoon, and we were just able to get greens 1-18 & Upper PG completed before it started raining. 

The hourly forecast from this AM. Luck of the Irish.
Below is a quick pictorial of the process we just completed. We've provided this step by step pictorial before but for those who might just be starting to follow these updates and are interested, here you go.

First step is to core aerate. This process removes the little core of grass, roots and
associated soil relieving compaction by removing some excess organic matter. These
holes are the avenues that allow much needed air to the root zone of  the putting surface.

 Second step is to remove the cores. We remove the cores with a machine
called a core harvester. This is the machine that allows us to complete
19 to 21 greens in a day.

Core Harvester first lifting, then ejecting cores and soil into the back of a utility vehicle

Third step is to apply sand topdressing. We purchases a very high grade
USGA spec, kiln dried sand  to fill the aeration holes and firm the surface. 
Fourth step for us is another type of aeration called deep tine aeration.
The above mentioned core aeration penetrates to a depth of about 4"
whereas deep tine aeration penetrates up to 8". Even though this process
 does not extract a core it facilitates deep drainage and air deeper in the
root zone hopefully  encouraging deeper rooting.

Fifth step is brushing in the topdressing sand. Since we start this process before sun up,
and even though we use kiln dried sand we normally wait for the morning dew to subside
before we start brushing the topdressing sand into the greens as it brushes in nice when
it is bone dry. Today was a different story as we were racing to beat a rain storm.

#15 green brushed in the dark this AM. A substantial amount of this sand did not
 flow real well into the aeration holes because of the predawn dampness. Good news
is there is close to 2" of rain forecasted for the next three days and that amount of
rainfall will wash allot of this sand into the turf canopy and aeration holes.
Closeup of #16 green that was brushed towards the end of the day today before the
rain started. Much better overall filling of the aeration holes. 
There is still allot of what we call "tweaking" that we do to the greens after this initial aeration to get the holes covered and the surfaces firm, and back to pre-aeration putting quality. These "tweaking" practices include additional lighter topdressing's, fertility applications, seeding, rolling and vertical mowing which helps get the sand into the turf canopy and grass to cover the holes. Weather permitting we can usually get the holes covered in a week to two and back to pre-aeration putting quality in four weeks.

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