Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Aerification

We have begun the Fall projects at both Leslie Park and Huron Hills. We aerify in order to decrease compaction in the soil and to slow the accumulation of organic matter in the soil. We can do this by either removing the plug created when we "punch holes" or by dragging the plug until all that remains on the surface is the thatch layer.

We use the first method on greens. We remove the plug and then put down a layer of sand. This sand is then worked into the holes left on the surface.

The plugs of soil, grass and thatch removed from a green.

Spreading sand on #12 green at Leslie Park.

The finished product.

On the tees and fairways, we will drag the cores around to mechanically break them up. The soil will go back into the holes while the plant material will not and be able to be removed, usually by blowing it off the playing surface into the rough where it will be mulched into the grass.

Here we are using a tractor mounted aerifier on #8 tee at Huron Hills.

Fairway plugs. Notice the larger diameter. We use 3/4 inch tines on fairways and tees and 3/8 inch tines on greens.

A turf vehicle getting ready to drag the cores on a fairway.

All that remains after dragging is the grass and thatch.

Blowing the thatch off of a fairway.

Since Labor Day, we have completed hollow tine aerification on all of the greens at Leslie Park except #8, #9, #11, #12 and #18. We elected not to do those greens until later in the fall in order to minimize disruption to golf play. We have completed all of the tees at both Huron Hills and Leslie Park as well as a number of fairways at Huron Hills. We are now working on the fairways at Leslie Park. We have also done a solid tine aerification of the greens at Huron Hills. This is done by an outside contractor with a specialized machine. It uses 14 inch long, 1/2 inch diameter tines. This allows for air and water to infiltrate much deeper into the soil than the 4 inch long tines on the aerifers that we have. We plan on hollow tine aerifying the greens at Huron Hills next week.

We know that disrupting the playing surface, especially on the greens, is one of the least favorite things for golfers. That being said, it is necessary to do this in order that the golf courses can handle the number of rounds we enjoy at Leslie Park and Huron Hills. A small inconvenience at this time of year will allow the turf to survive during the long, hot summer months.

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