Friday, July 22, 2022

Spiking Greens Next Week

We are planning on  core spiking our new greens on Monday 7/25/22 to allow some important air exchange in the rootzone as well as remove some developing thatch. Our aeration plan for these new putting surfaces is to do frequent, non invasive aeration events at the proper time of the year to avoid the larger, more invasive events in the future. We have already core spiked these new greens once, and afterwards they were a little sandier then normal, hardly any noticeable holes, very puttable and were completely healed in a couple of days.

Old picture of a solid tine spiking event on our old greens as I dident get any new pic's the last time we spiked the new greens. Size of the holes and pattern will be the same, but we will actually pull a little core of the organic layer we need to reduce.

Same hole pattern and size of hole we will be ding on Monday.

Light topdressing afterwards

Brushing in the sand after light topdressing. We irrigate afterwards to further wash the sand off of the surface.

Poa Prevention

A strategy that is related to aerification events is poa annua encroachment. Poa seed likes to get started in aeration holes and poa annua infestation will be a battle with these new greens despite the availability better tools to combat it's encroachment.  One strategy that we plan to employ is to not aerate, or open up the greens, when poa is actively germinating and producing seed. In our area, poa starts to germinate as early as late August early September and continues through the spring of the following year. Therefore our best line of defense against poa getting started in our greens is to have a dense stand of bentgrass prior to it's germination period. That means most of our cultural practices on the greens need to happen in late May through mid August. 

The danger of aerating in the summer is the high temperatures associated with this time of the year. Aerification practices of any type, although necessary,  are inherently stressful to the plants. When you add high temperatures to the mix it can be risky. Good news is we are planning on small frequent aeration events which by scale are less risky and at the same time substantially less impactful to putting quality. Additionally, with fewer Monday events we have more flexibility with scheduling around extreme weather forecasts. 

This image shows current state of our rootzone on the #9 green. This is in an area that had a full 8" of new rootzone mix. Great news is we have good rooting deeper even then 8". The thatch layer is something we need to keep an eye on and remove via aeration and replace with sand which will allow air into the rootzone encouraging a strong microbial population which in turn will feed on this organic thatch further reducing it. Additionally we need to step up light frequent sand topdressings and dilute this thatch layer at the rate of growth.

Above image shows not only root depth but root density of the same sample. The rooting mass is strong enough to support the entire rootzone sample. A much different story then when we opened the course in October 2021. Not all of our greens have this type of root mass or depth, but are all improving day by day, even in the summer months which typically takes a toll on the roots of a putting surface. 

Tuesday the greens will be a little sandier then normal but will putt just fine.  By Thursday we should be pretty close to normal. 

Aeration and cultural practices on putting surfaces are just something we have to do and these practices are likened to  Benjamin Franklin's famous exhortation, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". I'll update with fresh pictures next week.

Thanks for your support. The Best Is Yet To Come!

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