Why we aerate…
As grass grows it produces new leaves, shoots and roots every day. Naturally, the new growth on turf carries much of the workload when it comes to producing carbohydrates. Therefore, the plant gets rid of the old growth. All this old plant material becomes organic matter.
Organic matter can accumulate very quickly throughout the season when grass is actively growing. This can become very problematic because organic matter will act like a sponge and stay very wet at the surface where it is decomposing. Not only does this create a friendly environment for disease and many other turf problems but it also creates a soft, spongy surface that is not good for the playability of the greens.
Here a picture of the organic layer on #11:
This is why it is essential for us to aerify: we can maintain good putting surfaces throughout the season and remove some of the organic layer and replace it with sand. This allows water and air to move down through the surface and allows the grass and the roots to breathe.
Have a great weekend,
Golf Course Superintendent