Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ventilating the Greens

With the frequent and above normal amounts of rain over the past seven weeks, saturated soil conditions are present throughout the course. And now, with very warm temperatures upon us, the combination can rapidly lead to turf root loss and diminished quality. In spite of numerous core aeration sessions over the years and nearly 5" of sand topdressing (from 20 years of work) providing a porous surface rootzone, with the excessive amount of rain we've had recently and internal drainage lines on only a few of our newer greens, we recently started a process of Greens Ventilation.This is really just an aerification process but without removing any material and using a special tine called a cross tine. No it's not a special tine that I came up with, I wish I had, it's a special tine that is available from a tine manufacturing company shaped like two intersecting double sided knives. We use our Toro Procore aerator and adjust the depth to approx. 3 inches, and the spacing to approx. 1 1/2" on center.
Rafa beginning Ventilation process

As the tines are inserted, a cross like cut is created and these cuts result in much more area affected and open to air movement into (providing oxygen) and gases out of, the rootzone soil. A great feature of this tine is that while it affects a nice amount of underground area, the surface is minimally disrupted. 
Green surface after "cross tine" ventilating, prior to rolling

Javier rolling 

After rolling the green following ventilating, ball roll is minimally, if at all, impacted, yet valuable benefits of oxygenation (aiding root system support) and rootzone soil drying (aiding surface firmness, and ball roll) are gained. This procedure may be repeated in the coming weeks if our current weather pattern of frequent rainfall continues.
 Putting surface after rolling...surface nearly closed but ventilation channels beneath remain

As soil temperatures rise in the summer months, root growth slows and even ceases. And of course, without roots, plants weaken and ultimately die. Moist and/or saturated rootzone soils warm and retain heat more than drier rootzone soils and so anything we can do to dry and cool the rootzone, and retain roots, is critically important. Ventilation certainly helps in this regard!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Don. Haven't used the cross tine but we have been venting about every other week with .250" tines for a couple seasons. Cannot believe the results we see from this. It has allowed us to stop using wetting agents on our putting surfaces.

    We sometime topdress before venting and always roll or double roll after. You are right the affect on the surface is minimal at most.


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