Aerification Notice from Our Superintendent…

posted on September 13th, 2018

Dear Golfers,

         Lately, I’ve received a lot of questions regarding the upcoming aeration of the greens. It has come to my attention that a majority of people were under the impression that the DryJect process we do in the spring was a substitute for core aeration. This is not the case, so I wanted to outline a few key points regarding both.

                 DryJect does not remove anything from the soil. We started using the process a few years ago in an attempt to get sand to deeper depths than what is obtainable with conventional aeration methods. We were starting to get a layer of dead, organic material approx. 7-10” down that was preventing water from penetrating and percolating properly as well as prohibiting root depth in some locations. Using DryJect, we were able to penetrate this layer and get sand to an average depth of 8” while reaching 12-14” on some greens.

                 Core aeration, while providing a chance to get sand into the greens, is more about removal for us. While we do not currently have a thatch issue on the greens, pulling cores and topdressing this year will help to ensure that we don’t in the future. By removing a percentage of what little organic matter has built up now, it allows us to get by with DryJect for a few years before we need to core again.

                 Another primary goal for removing cores is to get some of the Poa annua out of the greens and increase our bentgrass population. While Poa can be an ideal putting surface for some, in general, it is a significantly weaker plant than bentgrass. Bentgrass has a significantly higher tolerance to almost all stressors; heat, wear, traffic, drought, disease and most importantly, cold.  When we have a winter where we lose turf on the greens, 90% of what we lose is Poa. Unfortunately, in the spring time, Poa establishes itself in any damaged or thin areas significantly quicker than bentgrass.

          In summary, DryJect does not take the place of core aeration; it is supplemental to it. Coring in the fall and spring every few years allows us to get by with only DryJect for a few years. While DryJect has been extremely beneficial to the greens by firming them up and increasing percolation, nothing takes the place of core aeration. We will be using the large core tines (roughly ¾”) next week and more than likely next spring as well. This should “reset the clock” and allow us to go a few years before core aerating again. The weather (both summer and winter) has been more extreme lately and core aeration helps us give the greens a fighting chance to get through the stressful periods.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Respectfully submitted,

Toby S. Young

Class A Superintendent