Friday, July 29, 2016

A Breath of Fresh Air

To keep our greens in top shape, it is necessary to aerate in the middle of the summer.  With a very busy golf and tournament schedule, we have not been able to perform the regular cultural practices that we do each season.  However, this week we were finally able to take the opportunity to aerate the greens.  With the latest wet weather, the greens were beginning to seal off at the surface and water could not penetrate the surface and decomposition gases could not escape from the root zone.

To aerate the greens we used our SISIS Aer-Aid aerifier.  This is a specialized aerifier manufactured in England that can not only punch holes in the soil but also inject air into the root zone.  Every other tine on the machine is hollow and connected to a high capacity air compressor.  When the tine is injected into the soil, air is forced out of two ports on either side of the tine.  The air injection is huge bonus over standard solid tine aerification in that the oxygen that is injected displaces the harmful decomposition gases in addition to stimulating root growth.  

Aerating and injecting air at the same time.
The air injection can be set to release at any depth from 1" - 5".
This type of aerification does a great job at reducing compaction, improving root growth, and at providing gaseous exchange but it does little to reduce thatch.  However, the impact to the greens is minimal and the greens are playable immediately after aerification.  

Aer-Aid in action.

In addition to aerating the greens, we also vented the greens with a rolling spiker followed by a light topdressing of sand.  All of the aforementioned practices are designed to provide for healthy greens while also creating excellent playing surfaces.

Spiking the greens.
Brushing in the topdressing sand.