So yes, we delayed fairway aeration due to the persistent wet weather. Was that a good decision? You bet! We had perfect weather the last week of April and here's some pictures which show just how well the process went.
Check out the gorgeous sunshine as we're pulling cores around the 18th teeing grounds. Okay I keep calling them fairways but really since our fairways and teeing grounds are all connected it's hard to distinguish between fairway and the other short grass areas like tees and approaches. We treat all the short grass the same and we call all the short grass the "fine turf".
The machine we used to punch the holes is brand new and we just acquired it a few weeks ago. The main reason for getting this new machine is that it simply is amazing compared to other aerifiers. It is super fast and the cores come out of the ground in fragments. Check out this close up of the turf right after this machine has done it's thing.
You can see there is quite a bit of soil brought to the surface. That's really the whole idea. Bringing up soil and then returning it back into the turf canopy is what in turn makes for a healthy stand of turf. Yes punching holes and getting air into the surface is important and yes punching holes for better infiltration of water is nice too, but in my opinion it's the recycling of the soil that is the key here. When soil is recycled there is nutrients and micro organisms that are turned over and this is where the power of nature takes over. For centuries the "turning over" of soil has been known to be important for growing healthy plants. We're getting back to the basics by pulling cores and it's working. Our fine turf is now much healthier and our summer diseases like fairy ring are much more manageable.
After punching the fine turf and letting the surface dry out a little, we drag the areas with a harrow mat. This breaks up the soil and knocks it down into the turf canopy.
In this picture you can see the difference between an area that has been drug with the mat and an area that has not. Pretty cool huh?
The last step is to now pick up that little turf plug which is left behind. It helps to condense them by blowing them into long rows.
This marvelous time saving machine gathers them up and now we're done. Waiting for the good weather, and having the new punching machine made this the most successful fairway aerification I've ever seen. Thank you for your patience. The result is some pretty gorgeous fine turf. Hope you're enjoying it today.