Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Greens Aerification - October 28th

We will begin aerifying greens on October 28th.  Depending on the weather, this process will take between 2 and 3 days to complete.  This is one of the most important practices we do to provide for the health of the greens.  We purposely wait until after the Club closes to aerify because we understand that the Fall is the best time to play golf in the mountains.  After we finish the aerification process, please be aware that with the Club officially closed for the season, we will no longer prepare the course for regular play as we will be changing our focus to winter projects and agronomic practices.
Core aerifying a green
Close-up of core aerification
Core removal with a core harvester
Aerification is one of the most important agronomic practices for the maintenance and health of the greens.  For the greens at HFCC, the normal aerification requirement is twice in the Spring and once in the Fall with hollow tines that pull a plug.  After removing the plugs, a heavy topdressing of sand is applied on top of the greens along with several soil amendments and fertilizer. The heavy sand topdressing does several things; fills in the voids from the plugs, reduces organic matter, keeps the surface firm, and protects the turf from desiccation during the winter. 

Benefits of aerification

There are several reasons why it is important to aerify greens on a regular basis.  First and foremost is that it alleviates compaction and loosens the soil for better water infiltration and air exchange.  Secondly it helps the soil to "breath" allowing it to expel harmful gases caused by decomposition.  Additionally, aerification removes dead plant and excessive organic matter otherwise known as thatch.  Thatch can greatly reduce water infiltration and gas exchange while also providing a breeding ground for disease pathogens.