TURF AERIFICATION:

One question often asked by our golfers is: “Why do we aerate when course conditions and weather are perfect?” This question is very perceptive. Weather plays a large role in turf recovery.  Performing aeration when the weather favors turf growth leads to quicker recovery. Also, aeration is stressful on plants. Performing aeration on healthy, “perfect” turf is critical. If aeration is conducted on already stressed turf, the result can be very negative.

The range of ideal weather varies depending on the type of turf species. If the turf is predominately bent grass like the greens at our facility, late August to late September is a good time to aerate. The warm days and cool nights of early fall favor bent grass growth and recovery. Most times, our golf schedule dictates aeration timing more than the weather.

Another question we often receive is: “Why is so much sand applied?”  Following CORE aeration on greens, filling each of the aeration holes with sand will promote quicker recovery and improve ball roll. There is no doubt, the surface of greens and turf is disrupted during aeration and greens play differently. However, effects on playability as a result of aeration can be reduced if aeration channels are completely filled with sand.  Applying enough topdressing sand to fill aeration holes will result in a smoother post-aeration surface.  In addition, the grass recovers quicker than a surface with open aeration holes.

Sometimes, we do use solid tines versus core tines when aerifying.  When solid tines are used, we do not fill the holes with sand. It is not necessary as the holes created in the turf are smaller in diameter and close quickly.  Solid tine aerification looses up the compacted soil and allows the turf to “breath”.

Aeration of collars, fairways and rough can be done in the late fall and does not require topdressing with sand.  This also opens up highly compacted soil conditions and allows for water, nutrients and air to reach the turf.

Greens aerification at our facility is performed every spring and fall to improve turf health and playing conditions. Core and deep-tine aeration are critical for the health of well maintained greens. Keep in mind aerating greens is a necessity to ensure exceptional conditions during the golf season.  Tolerating aerification holes in the greens for a few days is a small price to pay for great greens and turf all season long.

Follow this USGA link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=863Ix8czcoY to watch the process of aerificaton.

Source Elliott Dowling edowling@usga.org