AERATION!!!! That dirty word all golfers hate to hear, but yes it's that time of year again.
We need to think about aeration the same way we think about changing the oil in our cars. Sure your car would run for awhile on old oil, but the life of your engine would be comprimised in the long run.
Preventative maintenance is an integral part of golf course management. Golfers view aerification as an inconvenience that takes the greens out of play for a few days, but remember that without those tiny sand filled holes, the greens would eventually die.
Why do we aerate? Aeration is needed when the soil beneath the greens become compacted. When the soil is compacted, the grass roots struggle to breathe and water struggles to reach the roots. Think about how many footsteps are on any given green at the golf course. The average golfer will take about 45 steps on any green, thats 180 per foursome, and about 1,800,000 steps per year!!! Now think about all the maintenance equipment that is used to maintain the greens throughout the year. Run a mower over the greens 180 times per year and thats an additional 180,000 pounds of compression per year. It's a wonder the greens survive as long as they do with all that compaction going on!
The Aeration Process: There is a lot of work and many steps that go into aeration.
|5/8'' tines pull cores at 2.5'' spacing|
|Cores are harvested from greens and added to low areas on the course|
|Greens are blown free of loose soil and thatch|
|Greens are topdressed with a sand and soil mix|
|Sand is brushed into the aeration holes|
|Finally greens are fertilized and irrigated|