May 27, 2014

Holes and Sand

We wrapped up another spring aeration of the greens today with absolutely perfect weather to help keep the process moving along smoothly.  I realize that millions of holes and thousands of pounds of sand on the greens is less than ideal for the golfers, but it is hard to deny the many important benefits of aeration.

There are really three reasons that aeration is so beneficial, especially on such highly maintained surfaces as a putting green.  Most importantly, aeration opens up the turf surface and allows the proper balance of water, nutrients, and oxygen to reach the roots.  Secondly, turfgrass roots love growing deep and fast into the loose channels of sand that we provide from aeration.  This root development will help to sustain the plants during the hot and stressful summer months.  Lastly, the aeration holes and fresh sand help to dilute the surface organic matter (thatch) that would otherwise leave the greens soft and puffy if left to accumulate unchecked.

Like all things that age, a putting green also requires some serious upkeep and maintenance.  No different than an aging car that went to the mechanic to get fluids flushed, belts changed, bearings replaced, etc.  You could drive that car potentially for awhile longer without doing those things, but the risk of having a serious breakdown becomes much greater.  The same goes for our turf.  Without routine aeration, the potential for a hot and humid summer would leave our greens prone to a major breakdown.

Punching holes with our new aerator we purchased last fall
After the sand has been applied, and the holes punched, then the
sand is drug in with a broom and the surface blown off.
We utilized a new tine configuration this spring as well that should help in a few areas.  The tines we used were smaller than usual, but on a much tighter spacing.  Overall we affected about 10% of the total surface area, which is about the same as when we use the larger size tines.  However, since these tines are much smaller, the tops of the holes will grow over significantly quicker.  Combined with daily rolling for the next few days, and the holes should be almost completely gone within a week.

1 comment:

  1. Sam,

    I am interested in the modifications that allowed the 1500 to aerify greens. I am thinking about setting up mine to aerify with 5/8, 1/2 and 3/8 hollow core on 2 x 2.


    Brad Anderson
    GC Supt
    Bittersweet GC
    Gurnee, IL