As we now move further into autumn and the days shorten, temperatures begin to drop, and moisture is likely to increase, all leading to diminished play, I want to complete a second aeration session utilizing larger, more conventional sized tines for the primary purpose of managing the natural increase in organic matter accumulation. We began the process this week and it simply involves aerating with approx. 5/8th inch diameter tines, removing the cores, applying a heavy amount of topdressing sand, and incorporating to fill the core holes.
Core Aeration with approx. 5/8th inch diameter cores.
Yes, I know it's not popular... but it's essential! And it is November!
We're removing cores this session to manage accumulation of naturally developing organic matter which can lead to excessive moisture holding and surface softness.
Heavy application of sand is needed to fill core holes as completely as is possible.
Over years of frequent sand topdressing in conjunction with the natural accumulation of organic matter (as stems and roots naturally slough and decompose) a 4-5 inch layer of sand/organic rootzone now exists. This sand/organic layer is indeed desirable and many times when we aerate the greens we re-incorporate this mixture. Too much organic material accumulation however, could eventually cause surfaces to hold excess moisture and lead to anaerobic (lacking oxygen) conditions and therefore periodically I like to remove the material completely and then re-fill all the core holes with fresh sand. We do "recycle" the removed core/sand material by using it to propagate putting green nursery sod, for use should we have any damage to our regular greens.
Profile shows twenty-one years of frequent light topdressing on top of former heavy soil / organic material. The light colored column is a recent core hole filled with fresh sand. Color contrast shows how organic matter (from naturally occurring, continually decomposing, plant parts) darkens the sand. Our management practices includes the periodic removal to prevent excessive accumulation.
With this aeration - core removal - heavy sand topdressing - brooming process requiring more time to conduct and days being shorter and frost delays now quite common, this task will likely require several days to fully complete. At this time we have completed the back nine holes. Next week we will tackle the front nine. Thank you for your understanding of this vital, putting green, quality maintenance task