Monday, May 9, 2011

Solid Tine Aeration On Putting Greens and Fairways

On Monday, May 2, the golf course maintenance staff completed the critical task of solid-tine aeration of putting greens. The entire process took two full days to complete all 27 holes. While this process does cause a temporary reduction in putting green quality, the benefit to the turf is realized during the high stress periods of the summer.

NSCC's putting greens were built in the mid 1960's. The original soil base consists of a highly organic and mucky soil. This soil does not drain well, which makes ample root growth and development difficult. Over the last twenty years, NSCC's putting surfaces have been religiously topdressed with a fines-free sand which has accumulated to a depth of around four inches. While turf roots thrive in this sandy, well-drained environment, they struggle to penetrate into the mucky layer below. The solid-tine aeration penetrates into this undesirable area and fractures the soil. The fracturing affect creates additional pore space allowing for ample air channels and root development.

Following the solid-tine aeration, the greens were rolled to remove any imperfections and to help close the holes, verticut to stimulate growth and recovery, topdressed with sand to further smooth the surface, swept to stand and long leaf blades upright prior to mowing and to incorporate the sand into the turf canopy, and finally mowed. After mowing, a combination of liquid and granular fertilizers were applied to accelerate recovery.

In a similar manner, the solid-tine aeration of fairways is also underway. Larger diameter tines are used in fairways, but the overall affect on playability is minimal. In no time, the fairways will have recovered and prepared to endure the onset of summer stress.

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