If you’ve been to Scotsdale this week you may have noticed the greens were recently aerated and verticut. We then followed this up with a heavy topdressing of sand. We aerate greens to help regulate thatch by removing the excessive thatch with small cores and then incorporating sand top dressing into the aeration holes.
Vertical mowing accomplishes similar results through the utilization of small knives which cut linear patterns about a quarter of an inch deep into the surface of the green. These two processes are done to help the turf optimize growth and provide a smooth, firm surface to play from. It also helps create better drainage, gas exchange and alleviates compaction that sets in overtime from play and equipment. Topdressing is performed after aeration to fill these channels with fresh sand, free of thatch; this also improves gas exchange and water movement, while firming and smoothing the surface for better play-ability.
We will do these two more times this summer since these greens were renovated using a no till method. This will help make a more uniform profile and remove more of the layering that comes with no till renovation. Since it is still late spring, and we never know what mother nature may do, we went with a smaller coring tine this time with close spacing. This will help speed up the recovery since it is not such a large hole to fill in. In warmer weather we will use slightly bigger cores to help remove more of the layering when we aerate. The Bermuda grows more vigorously with warmer temperatures, so the healing time is better for larger cores.
We will follow this with a lot of rolling and additional brushing to continue incorporating the sand into the holes and grooves to complete the smoothing of the putting surface.
We also aerated tees this week. This helped to alleviate compaction and will make the tees grow healthier while also improving water utilization of the plant. Although aeration is disruptive to play, it is an important program for the overall health of turfgrass plants. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to everyone enjoying the course this summer.
Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent