It's been a long time since I've used the blog to touch base with all our members, but we just aerated greens and no other thing I do results in so many questions.
Of course the first thing many a golfer associates with aeration is the greens are going to be covered in sand and almost unplayable for something short of eternity. Nothing seems to get golfers more worked up. So why do we put you through this torture?
First off, I have a love/hate relationship with aeration. Aeration is a lot of work. Lots of planning goes into deciding what the greens need. What are the soil deficiencies?. How much and how do we manage thatch accumulation from the season? What size tines should I use? What will the weather be like? Is all the equipment in good running order? Does any training need to be done so the crew operates efficiently that day?
As for the day of aeration, it's a long one! Starting at 5 am, the day usually goes till 5 pm. The whole crew is pretty whooped at days end. So why would I like all this work?
Simple, no other thing I do has a greater impact on the health and future performance of the greens. A seasons worth of mowing every day at .100 inches, rolling, foot traffic, disease and insect pressure, hot and humid weather, and no rest take their toll. Soils get compacted, some nutrients are a little out of balance, and soil to air to water ratios are off. I like to say the greens get tired. They need to be rejuvenated and nothing works like aeration, and when the greens are healthy and happy, so am I!
So, what happens that day when I close the course? I decided to document with photos and show you what we did last week!
Starting at first light :
|The first operation is to mow the green to create a smooth and dew free surface.|
|The dethatching reels are used to remove excess thatch from the green|
|After dethatching, a core aerator is run over the greens, pulling cores every 2.5 inches|
|It takes about 8 hours to aerate all the greens. Operators are changed through the day to provide relief from walking backwards with the machine.|
|The putting green, dathatched, aerated, and ready to be dragged.|
|Plugs ready to be dragged|
|Dragging the plugs breaks up the soil from the thatch. This is a fun job, you get to break taboo and drive a cart on the green! Don't get any ideas!|
|Once the plugs are broken up, the thatch is blown together and removed from the green.|
|Dry sand is applied next|
|We apply over 35 tons of sand to the greens by the time we are done!|
|The sand is then dragged into the surface for even distribution and to fill the holes|
|The brushes used to drag the sand.|
|After the sand is brushed in, a roller is used to smooth the surface|
|The finished product! Holes from aerating, and grooves left from dethatching are filled and rolled. Bring on the water!|
|It was crucial for all aspects of the aeration to go through without delay. The day was hot and dry, if we did not get finished in a timely manner, we risked the greens getting too hot and dry.|
|The day after aeration we added soil amendments and just enough fertilizer to move the healing process along|