Monday, September 16, 2013

Aeration and Renovation!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"! Today is Monday, September 16th and I wanted to briefly update you on the process of putting green aeration.  Yesterday wrapped up the 2013 edition of the Men's Club Championship and thus summer is officially over in golf course maintenance land.  As we turn our attention to fall my staff and I would like to congratulate Brett Boner, 2013 Men's Champion; Rob Campbell, Jr., 2013 Senior Champion and Jenny Porter, 2013 Lady's the words of Head Golf Professional Jeff Peck, "Well played!"

There are several ways to aerate and several reasons why but core aeration, physically removing small cores of soil, etc. is a vital process in the long term health and performance of our putting greens. 

Thatch is naturally occurring as it is an accumulation of dead and decaying organic matter.  Over time leaves and roots of the turfgrass die and this material sloughs off into the canopy and begins to decay.  Some thatch is desirable but too much creates a myriad of problems such as higher disease pressure and poor water infiltration, thus removing this material annually and replacing with sand allows us to maintain our putting greens with the amount of organic material that's best for the expected performance of our greens.

We are fortunate to be closed today and tomorrow to complete the aeration process.  This is a vital time of year for the golf course.  The greens need to be aerated and all the bermudagrass areas (tees, fairways, roughs, etc.) must be treated with pre-emergent herbicide to prevent the germination of annual bluegrass (A.K.A. poa annua).  Without the application of a fall applied pre-emergent herbicide poa annua would germinate and infest our bermudagrass areas.  Once the bermudagrass goes dormant the poa annua would become unsightly and playing conditions would deteriorate to unacceptable levels.  Thus we use both days of putting green aeration to perform the important task of spraying the golf course with necessary herbicides to keep our turf weed free.

Last time I informed everyone how the natural/native area on number 9 was ready for reestablishment.  The staff had applied compost prior to Labor Day and then last week we got back to business.

After the area was prepped with the power rake the staff smoothed the surface and removed small rocks and clods of soil.  Next, I hand seeded the entire area and then staff members mulched with a product called Seed Aide.

Seed Aide Mulch
Paul and Roman Spread Mulch

Seed Aide is composed of recycled newspapers mostly and also contains some fertilizer.  Once the product becomes thoroughly wet it helps retain the moisture so seeds do not dry out.  We watered multiple times daily and the early results are promising...
Green is Good!
Looking Better!
Well, that's about all the time I have for now as I am needed back on the course.  We'll see you in a couple of days and don't worry, the greens will be back before you know it!
See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent