Update: Golf course maintenance – A year-round process


Robert Lewis, Green Committee

In the September 2017 issue of the Quail Creek Crossing it discussed aeration and the importance in conducting a year-round aeration program.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) has established recommendations for the frequency for aeration (year-round requirement). Over seed reduces the frequency normally required for traditional aeration. This means for about seven months we do not/cannot use the traditional aerating methods.

The studies conducted for us by the ISTRC (International Sport Turf Research Center) have indicated that we have a significant loss of grass root depth (they recommend a minimum root depth of three and a half inches). Current root analysis shows a depth of less than three inches. One of the recommendations from our USGA reports is to evaluate newer aerator technologies. The goal is to find a device that can be utilized year-round.

In August 2017, the Green Committee was invited to a practical demonstration of the Air2G2 aerator on the Quail No. 1 green. The Air2G2 has three tines/rods that are spaced about three feet apart. The rods (come in various lengths from seven inches and longer) are forced into the ground using compressed air. A second blast of air is then forced out through holes at the end of the rods breaking up the soil beneath the surface. The machine is then moved about four feet then the process is done again. Overall it takes about 30 minutes to complete a standard size green. We then immediately rolled the green to tap down the small holes. Most important the process was fast, was barely noticeable, was cost effective (no sand or staff time to disburse/and rake) and had no negative effect on putting. The Course Superintendent also took a core sample from the green after the aeration and it showed significant ground fracturing below the surface of the green without damage to the grass roots. We also tested the Air2G2 on some bare (very hard ground) on the fairway with excellent results.

After testing other types of aeration equipment in late 2017, we selected then purchased the Air2G2 in early 2018. From its arrival we have been using it extensively on the greens.

With additional USGA review of the water saline and calcium buildup on the greens scheduled for March/April 2018, it is expected that the USGA recommended processes specifically tailored to address these two issues, will help moisture and fertilizer absorption deeper into the greens promoting deeper root growth and prolonging the useful life of our greens.

We will still need to use the more aggressive Tine and/or Slicing aeration method to the entire course in the spring to include roughs.

Some have asked, “Why do we paint the non-over seeded fairways”? We apply a blend of products called Endurant and Greenway for two reasons.

1. The colorant provides the Bermuda grass with a layer of protection which holds moisture and adds a few degrees of warmth that it would not otherwise have.

2. It produces a green appearance to non-over seeded areas.

You can view a demonstration of the Air2G2 on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XJ5aJXn8W8.