It was a great effort by the turf team to battle through the heat this past week and accomplish the late summer aerification. The heat and high humidity slowed the process down, but by the end of the day Tuesday all the greens, tees and approaches had been aerified and topdressed.
The new greens received their first core aerification since seeding. I used a small coring tyne with narrow spacing to help with any surface imperfections and increase oxygen to the rootzone. This will blend together the rootzone with the turf canopy and create some needed mat to help withstand the heavy traffic. We then applied heavy sand topdressing to smooth the surface and help fill in the aerification holes and ballmarks. The recovery will take a couple of weeks before the greens have completely healed. Part of the process was to allow the bentgrass to grow through the sand instead of mowing the sand off. The greens were not mowed for three days, but with the humidity they grew enough to begin mowing again on Thursday. The height of cut on the greens is now raised and will remain this way for the remainder of the season. Raising the mowing height allows the bentgrass to recover from the significant amount of rounds the new greens have seen in their first year. It will allow for more growth, with less mechanical stress, and increased density going into the winter for superior green performance next spring.
Moving forward, one of the best ways to prevent poa encroachment is minimize wear on the bentgrass in the cooler seasons. Bentgrass grows best during the warmer temperatures and poa grows best during the cooler temperatures. Raising the height of cut on the putting greens puts less mechanical stress on the turf canopy, giving it the ability to withstand the late season rounds during the cooler temperatures. It will allow us to apply more sand topdressing to protect the crown of the plant, which will again help the turf withstand and recover from this seasons wear. In all, the new greens are maturing slowly but are in a great place for the fall season.
The last cultural practice to complete is the sand topdressing of the fairways. This is a long process due to the travel time required to move around the property with the big topdresser. This week we were able to complete three fairways and will continue over the next 10 days to complete them all. In total we will apply approximately 150 tons of sand to the fairways.
Have a great long weekend!
Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent