Greens Aerification

We started the week with a cold snap in the 30's. Not much of a chance to do damage to pipes or ball washers but enough of a wake up call to set the winter preparations into high gear. I grabbed Murph and Chris and trained them on the winterizing of the fountain and water line on number 3 tee. We drained the town water pump house ( I had the town shut that off before I left for vacation) and blocked the vents in the main pump house. We insulated that building years ago after breaking some pipes in there. Murph buttoned up our outdoor shower and Will continued the prep by fully winterizing the course bathrooms and also the fountains on that waterline (7 T, at bathroom). The rest of the week was spent aerifying greens and chasing leaves. The leaves are coming down in earnest now and several trees are completely bare while others have not dropped a leaf. Have to love oaks. Swear some only drop their leaves when the new ones push them off in the spring. The crew is being whittled down with Mardell only doing the clubhouse bathrooms and Otis being laid off for the season. Frank is still here but only works when the weather is decent. He drained and filled the ball washers with non-toxic antifreeze and water for the next month until we pull them in and is continuing to seed divots. The rest of us are sharing duties to keep the course playable and as leaf free-as possible.
1st green w/ cores
 Aerification is a process of poking holes into turf. The main purpose is in the name: to aerate. Unlike a farm field or garden we do not get the chance to till the soil to break up compaction, introduce air or add amendments. We maintain a crop all year long and drive and walk on this crop daily. It takes a toll on the soil and we need to do cultivation to this soil often to keep it in as healthy a state as possible. The process is simple you run a machine over the ground and it drives a tine into the soil. The tines have many sizes and shapes and accomplish slightly different goals . I looked through the archives and you can read other blog posts about aerifying HERE and Here The second shows pictures of some of the different styles of tines we have used over the years.
close up of cores and holes
The main reason to use hollow tines and pull out cores is to remove unwanted material. Whether it is thatch, organic mat, heavy soil etc. you are trying to remove it to improve the soil and thereby turf. Some believe hollow tines by their nature may alleviate compaction better since you have created a void. The detriment of hollow cores is the added effort to clean them up. For this reason we have not pulled cores on greens in two seasons. So we bit the bullet and pulled them this time. It took us all day to clean them up, in fact, we left the last two for the next day. It is very labor intensive and although they have made all kinds of different tools to help reduce the hand labor we unfortunately do not possess any of them and were left to pushing them into rows and picking them up by hand. Will top dressed six greens on day one and I brushed them in but the holes were no where near filled so we had to add more sand Wednesday when we did the rest. Perfect timing for a weather event Wed. evening and all day Thursday. We received 1.2" of rain and this helped wash the sand into the turf canopy (and help to alleviate the drought we are still in). Unfortunately the wind and rain brought down a ton of leaves so it took all 4 of us the entire day to clean the place up for the weekend. I had hopes of cup changing, greens rolling, bunker raking, possibly brushing greens again. Damn Trees. With winds in the 20's and 30's last night I was not optimistic about my chances to get all that done as a solo worker this weekend. I spent the first few hours chasing leaves switching between the mower to chop them up before they could blow back onto the greens and fairways and the blower. I then tried to brush the putting green but felt it made more of a mess than it was worth so proceeded to change all the cups and call it a day. Hopefully tonight it will be calm and I can accomplish more course conditioning and less leaf chasing. 
morning after big clean up. reason 16 to hate trees
Next week we will again attempt to get a contractor in to hydroseed bunker faces. If it does not happen this week we may have to look into a different one. My hope was to do it now and possibly again in the Spring if we do not get a good catch this fall. The weather window is closing but we often have pretty good November weather. We will also attempt to begin the bunker and tee work planned. The forward tee on 8 will be re-built much larger and the right green bunker on 5 will be re-built more shallow.
nice clouds

No comments:

Post a Comment