Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Greens Aeration Update

Last week, our maintenance staff core aerated greens. The weather was absolutely perfect during the two day process allowing for a very smooth and well executed job. The aerator was equipped with 3/8" hollow tines set at 1.5"x1.5" spacing. This configuration  provided 72 holes per square foot, removing roughly 8% of the surface area of the green. The small diameter of tine allows for faster recovery of the playing surface while still removing the required amount of material. Now, a week into recovery, the greens are healing very nicely. The holes are about 70% healed and with frequent rolling and mowing, they are putting very good. With another week of recovery, the holes should be completely healed. Below are several pictures of the greens aeration process.

Hole spacing and 3/8" plugs pulled from greens

Maintenance staff working hard to cleanup plugs from the greens

Representation of greens after all practices were completed. Day 1

Representation of greens after 1 week of healing

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Greens Aeration September 9 and 10

Greens aeration is scheduled for Monday September 8 and Tuesday September 9. Nine holes will be completed at a time by the turf management staff. Listed below are the four main benefits of greens aeration. 

1. Improve Playability - The minor disruption in the playing surface immediately following core aeration ultimately helps improve playability. Removing cores helps create a firmer and faster green with increased plant health and density. It also improves the smoothness of the greens in conjunction with sand topdressing.

2. Removal of Organic Matter - Removing organic matter, commonly known as thatch, is crucial to a healthy green. Too much organic matter buildup in fine turf restricts water infiltration causing wet conditions on top, and dry, hydrophobic conditions deeper in the soil. It also ties up valuable nutrients needed by the plant and can cause a "sponge-like" surface vulnerable to mechanical injury.

3. Increase Pore Space - Removing cores creates much more pore space for oxygen. Oxygen is essential to the root system of a putting green. Without a strong root system, putting greens will not be able to weather the hot and humid summers. As the cooler weather slows down the top growth of the grass plant, the root system goes into overdrive as it works to create a deep mass of roots for the next season.

4. Improve Water Infiltration - The channel created by the removal of a core allows for a higher percolation rate of water. This channel of fresh sand is free of organic matter and allows for much faster drainage. This creates a drier and more firm playing surface that protects from wear associated with saturated soil conditions.

The labor intensive process of core aerating greens is absolutely necessary for the health and great playability of golf course putting greens. The few days of disruption seems like a minor inconvenience when you are able to provide many months of great conditions afterwards. The desired putting green conditions of today's golfer are not achievable without core aeration. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Not Your Typical July

The month of July can be unbearably hot and humid in Southwest Ohio. The last two years, however, have been atypical. The temperatures have been unseasonably cool and reminiscent of fall. These cool days have certainly been welcomed by golf course superintendents and anyone that enjoys outdoor activities. According to the National Weather Service, Dayton did not officially reach 90 degrees for the month of July, only the 8th time since 1893. In addition, this past July was the third coolest July on record behind July 2009 and July 1984. This month has also come with above average rainfall once again. Many of the rain events have been severe causing flash flooding and bunker washouts. The chart below lists weather information over the past 4 years during the month of July and leaves us wondering what August will bring?

July Weater Data for Previous 4 Years
Avg High Temp 
Total Precip
Days ≥ 85
Days ≥ 90
Evening Temps in 50s 
Record Lows
Record Highs