It’s that time of year again, we get out those dreaded machines that “mess up the greens” and start our aerification practices. If you have played over the past week you noticed that we aerified both White Wing and Legacy Hills last week and have core aerified Cowan Creek this week. We know it appears right when the Cowan greens seemed to be on the right track to recovery we go and poke a bunch of aerfication holes in them but please realize that aerification is for the long term health of the turf and will ultimately promote a healthier green. I have attached part of a GCSAA article below that goes into more detail about aerification and have also shared a link to the entire article on the Sun City Golf Course Maintenance Blog sctxgcmaint.blogspot.com.
“Aerification (also known as aeration) achieves three important objectives. It relieves soil compaction, it provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green’s roots and it reduces or prevents the accumulation of excess thatch.
Like so many things, the quality of a good putting green is more than skin deep. In fact, the condition of a green has a lot to do with what goes on below the surface. In order for grass to grow at 1/8-inch, it must have deep, healthy roots. Good roots demand oxygen. In good soil, they get the oxygen from tiny pockets of air trapped between soil and sand particles.
Over time, the traffic from golfer’s feet (as well as mowing equipment) tends to compact the soil under the putting green – particularly when the soil contains a lot of clay. When soil becomes compacted, the air pockets on which the roots depend are crushed, and the roots are essentially left gasping for air. Without oxygen, the grass plants become weaker and will eventually wither and die.
Aerification is a mechanical process that creates more air space in the soil and promotes deeper rooting, thus helping the grass plants stay healthy. In most cases, it’s done by removing half-inch cores (those plugs you sometimes see near a green or in fairways) from the compacted soil, allowing for an infusion of air and water that brings a resurgence of growth. The spaces are then filled with sand “topdressing” that helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for roots to grow downward.
Older greens often are constructed of soils with significant amounts of silt, clay and fine organic particles that are prone to compaction. Filling aerification holes with sand improves drainage and resists compaction. The periodic introduction of sand to a green’s top layer can, over time, avoid or postpone expensive rebuilding or renovation of greens.
Finally, growing of turf adds to a layer of organic matter on the surface. This layer, called thatch, is an accumulation of dead stems, leaves and roots. A little organic matter makes for a resilient green, but too much invites diseases and insects. Topdressing with sand can prevent thatch buildup, and aerification is one of the best ways to reduce an existing layer and prevent an excess of thatch from becoming established.”
Cowan Creek Update
The greens at Cowan Creek are getting better daily and the warmer temperatures are helping out with the recovery from winter dormancy. The green at #6 will be sodded on Wed. April 12th baring any rain that day. Starting on that day we will be using a temporary green for the rest of the month of April and will reopen this green once the putting surface is healthy again. The #6 green at Cowan seemed to be the only one of them that would not respond to all of the cultural practices that we have done so we sent in more soil samples to the lab and found that it also has a disease called Pythium Blight. We are treating for that this week with a Fungicide labeled for that particular disease which will stop its advancement. All of this in conjunction with core aerification will help insure that we will soon have smooth and healthy greens for the remainder of the season. Thank you all for your patience and understanding during this transitional period.