The first aerification of the year was completed yesterday successfully to only be followed by snow today, crazy! This aerification was a two-part process of a verti-drain aerification and our normal aerification. Typically this process would all be performed in one day, but due to scheduling conflicts they were completed in two separate weeks.
The verti-drain is a process of aerifing a hole 10-12″ deep through the entire green to allow water to penetrate through the green and allow gases to be released. This will be a yearly practice to help prolong the life of the greens and keep water moving through.
Early spring aerification is behind us and the next aerification is scheduled for early May. Each aerification performed is a necessary cultural practice to remove organic matter and provide open channels for water to pass through and gases to be exchanged. Every aerification timing has a specific purpose as well, the early aerification is a chance to wake the greens up from the winter, the early summer aerification is mainly to remove organic material, and the fall aerification is also for organic material removal and summer stress recovery.
Fun Facts From Aerification: Spring 2014
- 12.27 cubic feet of green remove per 1000 square feet
- 1104.3 cubic feet of green removed over all greens
- 9.82% of the putting surface affected
- 72 holes per square foot
- 6,480,000 holes over all greens
Many wonder why aerification is so important. Greens aerifications are a necessary practice to ensure the green’s health for the future. Normally aerification on bentgrass takes place when the plants are at their optimum time for growth and when golfers view the greens are at their best. Performing this cultural practice during this time will provide a speedy recovery and allow adequate amounts of oxygen and applied nutrients to the soil for healing and growth.
When selecting a tine size, tine spacing, and amount of organic matter to remove is a lot more than just a guess or how much you want to make the golfers mad. The USGA provides guidelines for the amount of organic matter removed from a green every year (15-20% OM/Year). These guidelines help to prolong the life of a green and ensure the root zone will stay functioning as it should. Typically 3-4 aerifications a year will comply with the USGA guidelines. We plan our tine sizes and spacing to remove 3-8% organic matter per aerification for the year using different tine sizes for different periods of the season.