Aerification season, for the most part, is now behind us. Many of you have shared my sentiments that this was the best stretch of weather we have had to complete aerification in a long time. Greens have healed nicely for being aerified one week ago and fairways are well on their way.
While I have blogged a few times about the benefits of aerification (the USGA has a great video you can watch here), below are 2 video links that demonstrate the processes we aerified both fairways and greens.
To some of you, it comes as no surprise I am some what of a math and science nerd. Below are a few facts about the last 14 days out on the golf course:
- 7,668,000 holes were made on the green surfaces at a 1.5″x 2″ spacing, impacting 12.63% of the surface
- Approximetely 84 tons of sand were applied to fill holes on greens
- 43,908,480 holes were made on the fairway surfaces at a 2″x 2″ spacing, impacting 7.67% of the surface
- Counting tees and the entire Practice Facility, a total of 62,016,480 5/8″ wide holes were created on the property
- 205 man hours used to accomplish all aerification
To accomplish this and only have one snapped belt cause an issue/turf damage is a testament to our operators and especially our equipment manager, Steve Ott. Their efforts and long hours these last few days are very much appreciated. Thanks fellas!
We have also began small project season here at the club. One such small project is expanding the intermediate cut at the beginnings of holes 9, 10, and 13 to reduce the length of carry from the tees to the fairway. Other small projects in the next 8 weeks will include re-aligning tees on hole 1,9, and 15, and installing drainage/irrigation around the property to better manage water.
While the golf activity on the course has began to dwindle down, many jobs need to be accomplished before the real cold air shuffles its way here. Leaf clean up consumes most of our time in the next 6 weeks. The native areas are currently being mown down for the year, herbicides are applied to take care of any weeds on the course, and ballwashers and other water features are pulled in for the year. Two major jobs ahead for us include winterizing the irrigation system, which will take place October 31-November 2. If you are out on the course these days, please heed caution as sprinklers are automatically turned on and off during this process.
The greens will have their annual deep tine aerification performed on November 4th as well. These 1/2″ holes, penetrating the soil profile about 8″, create three advantages: additional channels for spring root growth, aid in relieving any deeper compaction within the rootzone soil profile, and extra drainage capabilities for ice/snow melt to prevent ice formation on the plant surfaces. The greens are rolled immediately after being aerified, and these holes do remain open throughout the winter for the above mentioned reasons.
We also have begun other activities that will maximize turf health and protection from the severe winters that can visit our area. For the greens, that entails the following:
Raising mower heights. The height of cut on greens from the normal height of .120″ to .135″ slowly. Raising height of cut allows more leaf surface for the turf to maximize their photosynthetic capabilities and carbohydrate storage. Raising height will also lessen stress to the plant and create a deeper root system going into winter. While raising heights may not create the speeds that summer brings, it is best for the long term health of the greens going into winter.
Fertility and Plant Protectants. While we limit nutrients on finely maintained turf during the season to provide great playing conditions, the fall is the best time to feed the turf to maximize carbohydrate storage going into winter. The more carbs the plant stores, the quicker it will break dormancy when temperatures warm up in the spring. Winter can also bring the threat of snow mold to all varieties of turf on the golf course, and our sprayers will be out applying plant protectants to help prevent infection from those fungal diseases.
Topdressing. When growth has ceased for the year, we will apply a thick coating of sand topdressing to bury the crowns and as much leaf tissue as possible. This sand helps protect and insulate the crown of the plant from any extreme cold temperatures. This practice is very effective in protecting the turf from any potential ice damage and helps maintain a smooth surface when the course opens next year.
If you have any questions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and have a great week!