Fall Aeration

Well we finished up the greens aeration Tuesday, October 14 by the end of the day. All in all the process went very well with the weather cooperating and the staff working hard long hours to complete the aeration portion on Monday evening. The topdressing portion was completed by 4:00 pm on Tuesday and the course was back in quite playable condition. Thanks Guys!

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There are many different reasons that we do things here in the Turfcare Department and aeration is no different. Some people ask why we do our aeration late in the fall when the holes wont heal? Others ask why we would do it in the middle of the season when the greens are in great shape? Everyone has answers of their own but I thought I would give a few of my own.

Every season is different. Some summers we may need to aerate in the spring and others late summer yet others fall. If we come out of winter and have damage on greens for instance. We would probably look at a spring aeration not only for compaction and air and water movement but to provide a seed bed for overseeding any of the damaged areas. Sometimes a early spring or late summer aeration would be a great choice so that he turf is actively growing and it provides a good opportunity to have the turf recover.

Why would you aerate late in the fall Heath? Well, the reason that we used this method this year is that we choose not to do a “core”aeration during the summer months. This doesn’t mean we didn’t aerate. It just means I used other methods to get a similar result. Planet Aire slicing, and needle tining are just a couple other methods that were used. We don’t have a huge amount of thatch here at the Country Club and frequent topdressing helps keep that in check along with smoothing the putting surface. I chose to do a fall aeration not only because it needs to be done sometime but at this time it disrupts play very little. I like to have some channels filled with sand during the winter months so that if we have any sort of melting event during the winter there is an area for water to percolate down through the profile hopefully alleviating or minimizing damage caused by ice. In the spring when the turf comes out of dormancy we like to push growth with liquid fertilizers applications and recovery should be quite quick. We now are in a situation where the greens have been aerated and we can look at a long spring with little disruption in play.

A wise turfgrass manager told me one day. “always have a reason for what you do” and aeration is no different. I will not aerate greens just because someone says that it should be done twice a year on May 12 and the August 23. We need to look at all the factors that would cause someone to aerate and we do just that. Compaction,water movement, health of the turf, health of the root system, soil structure, air movement, nutrient uptake too name just a few.

Thanks for understanding that in the Turfcare Department we want the best possible playing conditions for as long as possible and we take aeration as well as all other management practices very seriously in taking care of the health of the turf here at the lovely Red Deer Golf and Country Club.

I hope everyone has had a great golf season and we are looking forward to a great start next spring

Heath Koch

Golf Course Superintendent

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