September has been a little damp to say the least. In Columbus, the average rainfall during September is around 2.4″ and rarely exceeds 4.3″. This year we experienced 8.01″ here at the course. This amount of precipitation is challenging when it comes to maintaining course playability. We experienced a few 3 to 4 day stretches where rough and fairways were not able to be cut. Overall, I believe the crew did a great job to keep the course in the best shape possible.
Greens Aerification was done on September 4th. It was a cloudless 90 degree day so I must give kudos to my staff for a job well done. As we all know, this process is not very popular, but it’s necessary to keep the plants healthy. There are many benefits acquired from the cultural practice. Aeration is performed to remove organic matter which consist of decaying shoots and roots. If we allow the organic layer to build up it becomes a major problem. It can inhibit root growth, prevent oxygen from entering the root zone, prevent water drainage, and promote turf disease. The thatch (decaying organic matter) can act as a sponge by holding water near the surface making greens soft and very susceptible to disease.
There are many types of aerifcation practices which we do throughout the year. In spring we performed a vertical cutting process to remove thatch and introduce fresh sand into the green. During summer we vent the greens allowing them to breath. To vent them we use smaller solid tines that punch a very small hole in the surface followed by a light topdressing and roll. This September we did a traditional core aeration which involves removing plugs. The tines are hollow and 5/8″ in diameter. The healing process takes about 14 days on average, depending on weather conditions. Playability suffers from this process. Plant growth regulators are removed from the chemical applications to allow faster healing. This means that the plant grows a lot more than usual during the day causing greens to putt much slower. Once we see a good amount of growth we then reintroduce the PGRs to attain a better smoother putting surface.
We will soon begin aerifying tees and approaches in October. Followed by fairway aerification in November. Thank you all for bearing with us through the aerification process. We are looking forward to a great fall season!
-Dave Norris, Superintendent