Thursday, March 21, 2024

2024 Spring Rough Aeration

We started our core aeration of the primary rough this week according to plan.  Planning, in the context of  spring core aeration of the rough is somewhat abstract for us in Granite Bay as the process is entirely weather dependent. And in a part of the world that averages 24" of winter rain, it is challenging to plan these events with any type of precision as this process leads to a big muddy mess if done when wet. Been there, done that, on this very property!

Additionally getting everything aerified  early in the spring is a must as fertility and weed control strategies are best conducted post aeration and have a time sensitivity of their own. It's easy to see how core aeration of the rough gets skipped frequently given these weather challenges in the spring. However in our case with our native soils, the lack of timely aeration can lead to marginal summer conditions and more necessary fall recovery then we want. Therefore we identified spring core aeration of our primary rough a best management practice, and are in the process of doing it right now.

Step #1 Flagging.
There are a lot of sprinkler heads, valve boxes and yardage markers on the course that we dont want the aerator's to come in contact with. Pink is our new color in honor of  our beloved Head Golf Professionals occasional apparel choices. Kidding aside, this florescent  pink is very visible.

Step #2 Aerate.  
Enrique ripping away with the Toro 1298 Procore. 

Here is the smaller aerator, a Toro 648 working around the greens. Our strategy this week was to aerate the green surrounds utilizing both the large and small aerators on Monday 3/18/24 while the club was closed as it is harder to work on the green surrounds when we have Members playing. We were able to complete greens surrounds on the F9 on Monday, then continued aerating primary rough a few holes at a time starting on Tuesday where we completed #1, #2 & half of #4. Wednesday we completed the remaining half of #4, #5 & #8. Thursday we completed #9, #6, #7, #10. Friday we plan to complete #11 & #12.

Above depicts a freshly aerated rough surface. We have had almost perfect weather prior to starting the process. End of the last rainy period was 15 days prior with a nighttime 0.12" event in between on 3/12/24. Ground is moist but not wet and perfect for extracting a core. After we extract the cores we allow them to dry a bit in the sun which is extremely beneficial to the clean-up process. 

Step #3 Cleanup. 
The cleanup portion of the job is the most time consuming and weather dependent as this process is hard to do right unless we have sunny weather. Around the greens, much of the cleanup is by hand with back pack blowers moving  cores into piles then picking them up with shovels and tossing them into utility vehicles. 

Cleanup of the primary rough around the fairways can be more mechanized. Above depicts a scarifying mower chopping the semi-dried cores up to facilitate sweeping and blowing.

A close-up of the scarifying reels.

Next in the clean-up process is sweeping up the scarified aeration core debris. These sweepers pick up the vast majority of the cores and debris. 

We couldn't do this process without the support and understanding of the Membership. Allot of the work is done in the dark and before Members start playing,  but golf does begin on  freshly aerated rough with cores laying on the surface before we have processed and cleaned the area. Additionally keeping golf carts from driving on the holes we are working is crucial, as it  keeps the cores from being smashed into the turf which is then difficult to mechanically remove and we have to do it manually. 

Above is a good representation of the finished product. Pretty clean, for the most part and in a much healthier position going into the heat of the summer.  

The weather forecast does not bode well for completing this process next week unfortunately. As I've already indicated, this job does not work when it is wet. More to come as to when we will finish the B9. 

Thanks for Your Support!

No comments:

Post a Comment