Friday, June 24, 2011

Venting....just a little.

I'd call it a perfect storm, primed for massive failure!  We've just weathered an unbelievable eight day stretch of rainy weather.  You know by now we were unable to prepare putting surfaces for the on coming stress of summer when aerification was cancelled due to excessively high winds, very dry air and temperatures in the mid 90's.  Toss in the fact that our golf course has been subjected to the abuse that comes with five golf outings in seven days suffice it to say our putting greens are a little stressed at the moment.  With all this rain, we would normally cancel most mowing operations until playing surfaces were dry enough to support people and equipment to reduce the stress on turfgrass plants, but not this time around.  And if that wasn't enough, one very cold and wet spring greatly compromised root development and placed us behind the eight ball heading into summer. 

Turfgrass 101 teaches you that turf roots need oxygen to develop and grow. Persistent wet periods has filled soil pore space with water challenging root development in hugely negative fashion.  Plant roots when submerged in water will die back to crown.  Shortened root systems are of little value in keeping the plant alive when the temperature's soar into the 90's and summer like weather returns.

To mitigate the soils loss of oxygen we will be "venting" our greens with solid bayonet tines as early as next week.  These tines are slightly more aggressive than the "needle tines" I've used in the past.  Tine breakage and cost favor bayonet tines over needle tines.  The holes are small enough to not effect ball roll and the process will not require course closure.  Some lifting and tearing of turf is anticipated however greens will be rolled immediately after venting to insure you are getting a smooth putt.  We will be completing as many holes per day as play permits and will take as many days as required to complete the project.  Once done depending on weather conditions and how much stress the greens are under we may decided to "vent"on a monthly basis.  (As no soil core is removed this type of aerification does not reduce organic matter in the soil profile and is not a substitute for hollow tine cultivation.)