Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Course opening and upcoming aerification

Last year we opened the golf course to play on March 14th due to unseasonably warm weather.  This year will be back to normal with current temperatures at or slightly below average.  Next week we are still looking at highs in the 40's with lows in the 30's.  On Monday, March 25 we are scheduled to aerify the greens.  I would suspect that we will open sometime soon after aerifying the greens unless the forecast makes a turn for the better soon.

When we aerify greens 10 days from now, we will not be pulling cores from the greens as we sometimes do.  Below is a picture of what we typically have done on the greens:

Instead we will be using a solid tine, using the same process that we implemented last October.  Below is a picture of what we will be doing in 10 days:

We will be putting the sand on the green first, going over the green with the aerifier and then dragging the sand into the holes.  There are a few reason why we are doing this:

1. Our soil tests indicate we need more sand incorporated into our root zone.  When we pull cores and clean the green off, the holes fill up with debris making it hard to incorporate good sand into the hole.
2. When we pull plugs, the greens gets very spongy for some time, even with large amounts of rolling.

The main benefit of pulling a plug is to remove the undesirable stuff - thatch, organic matter.  There are other ways that we can keep thatch down - topdressing, moderate fertilizing, growth regulators; and our organic matter % should continue to improve based on the amount of sand we will be putting down.

Therefore we are going to solid tine the greens with large (3/4") tines, incorporate lots of sand into the holes, and keep the greens smoother and firmer through the process.  I have talked to our Soil Consultant on this and he agrees this is a good approach.  There are also a few other courses in the Toledo area that are going to the route of not pulling cores, one course in Mansfield has been doing this for years and the results are great.  We did this last fall and I thought it worked great.  We will continue to monitor our soil tests and make changes as necessary   As always we want to make sure we are doing what is best for the long term health of the greens.