Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Early Aerification Done Again

Once again this year, the weather cooperated and we were able to do a core aerification in July.  Last week with the cooler temperatures, we aerified the greens.  The benefits of a core aerification are numerous whenever it is done.  The removal of thatch and replacing it with sand, provides better air movement, and water penetration.  When I looked at the calendar of events for the rest of the golf season, I knew that we either needed to do this in July, or we would need to wait until the middle of October.  The weather in October is very unpredictable, so when we saw a stretch of cooler weather, we went ahead with the scheduled aerification.

This year, we went at the process a little differently.  We made a slightly smaller hole, but many more of them.  There are (90) 3/8" holes per square foot of green versus (36) 1/2" holes per square foot in previous core aerifications.  That makes for over 12.5 million aerification holes on the greens.  With these additional holes, an extra 10% of the organic matter was removed.  With the smaller holes, the time for healing will be greatly reduced as well.

This early aerification will jump start the healing process for any thin areas on the putting surface as well as provide improved health, and firmness of the greens as we head into the fall.

I consider aerification to be a "necessary evil" it is never fun to do, and the golfers never like it.  It still must be done.  We try to do the best possible job and leave behind a surface that is playable.  The long term health of the greens must be the first consideration when maintaining a golf course.  Just know that in early September when the majority of the courses in the Metro area are doing their greens aerification, we will not be doing it then, and the greens will be smooth and healthy.

On a side note, the maintenance team is looking for additional staff; part time, full time, or even just weekend help.  If you or someone you know is looking for work, an application can be found at this link;

Orion Management Application

Once filled out, the application can be submitted to;

Monday, July 22, 2019

Very interesting article!

This is not my regular blog post for the month, but it is an interesting article that I found.  It is about why green speed can change from day to day.  Please click on the link below to read it.


Monday, July 1, 2019

A Look Through the Superintendents Eyes

Half of 2019 is already gone.  Today is July 1, and the golf course looks fantastic.  On the surface that is.  The grass at this moment is green and lush nearly everywhere.  The tides, they are a changing!!!  The weather has finally switched to a hot, humid, dry pattern.  I am sure that it will change again.  To be a successful superintendent, it is important to look beyond the surface and see what is going on below ground.  I am seeing several changes that have recently started here at Sycamore Ridge. 

The first change, is in moisture levels.  Now that the frequency of precipitation has declined, we are relying on the irrigation system to supply the required water for the turf to survive.  Each day I see new areas of turf that are stressed due to lack of moisture.  Unfortunately, the perfect irrigation system has not been created.  The staff constantly monitors the course and adjusts the system to provide the right amount of water to a given area.  The problems become visible after multiple irrigation cycles.  Some areas receive more than enough water and become overly wet, and other areas get dry and the grass goes into dormancy and possibly dies.  This is a never ending battle when the irrigation system is used frequently.  I know that the longer we rely on the irrigation system, we will see more and more dry areas, along with more wet areas.  Nothing is as efficient as natural rainfall.

The second thing that I have seen is a flush of growth on the greens, tees, and fairways.  While we have not applied any significant amount of nitrogen to theses areas recently, in the last week, the daily growth rate has nearly doubled.  This growth is caused by microbial activity.  When soil temperatures increase, so does the microbial activity in the soil.  These microbes break down organic matter in the soil and release nitrogen.  While there has been a recent spike in the nitrogen levels, this should level out over the next few weeks and become manageable.  In the short term, this will cause additional clipping litter in the fairways, and slower greens. 

The final change that I have notices has been the formation of a black layer in the root zone of the greens.  This is isolated to the lower, wetter areas.  This black layer is caused by anaerobic conditions in the soil.  The heavy spring rains are the cause of this problem.  The soil is unable to breathe, and gasses get trapped, causing a rotten egg smell below the surface.  We will be addressing this problem by venting the greens with a small solid tine aerification.  This process will create channels for the gasses to escape and oxygen to enter. 

One last side note for the homeowners that treat your own yard.  July 4th is the standard deadline for preventive insecticide application to control white grubs.  This needs to be applied and effectively watered in by July 4th to provide the best control for these root feeders.  Be sure to read the label and follow all instructions carefully.

As always, if you have any questions, please ask.