Saturday, May 17, 2014

Soil test results

One big change we are implementing this year is no August aerification on the greens.  The last few years we have typically aerifyed greens in late March, mid August and late October.  This year I am combining the August and October aerifications into one late October greens plugging.  We are going to poke twice as many holes as we normally do in October to compensate for the loss of aerification in August, in doing this we will be providing more time of uninterrupted golf for our members during the key months of golfing weather.

I am in no way diminishing the importance of aerification, our greens would not hold up without it.  Due to the continued improvement in our soil test results, we can make this slight change, or at least try it for a few years.  We take yearly soil samples and get data for nutrient levels and fertilizer recommendations.  We also get data on pore space, infiltration rates, organic matter content and sand particle size distribution.  We track trends and apply practices to meet the needs of the greens and move the numbers in the right direction. 

Last fall I spoke with our soil consultant about implementing this change in aerification schedule.  He stated that with our conditions and recent data, this could be a viable option.  In the least, it won't hurt to try - we can always move back to the past schedule if needed to improve greens conditions.

A few weeks ago, Brian Mavis our soil consultant was here for his annual visit.  We took multiple soil samples and performed a few tests.

The results just came back yesterday, the data continues to improve (I won't bore you with all the data, I'll save that for the Grounds Committee).  Because of this, we are very comfortable implementing the change in aerifiaction schedule this year.

One item of note on our test results were higher numbers of medium size sand particles.  This has caused us to test our topdressing sand to insure it continues to meet our standards.  If the sand has changed compared to what data we currently have, a new sand will be found.  Here is a picture of our OSU intern, Evan Riggs taking a sample from our topdressing pile.  To get a representative sample we need sand not only from the outside of the pile, but also the inside - hence using a tube.  We take samples in this manner on the top, middle and bottom of the pile in 5-6 different sides of the pile.

The sand is then brought to a clean surface, mixed and divided until we get an adequate sized pile to send in.