Rain, more of the same. Everyone knows that the month of August was extremely wet and the trend looks to be similar in September. With the .70″ of rain and lightning yesterday morning, it left no time for maintenance before the shotgun. Another 1.4″ fell last night and this morning which equates to a completely saturated property. With losing yesterday to an early shotgun with normal maintenance as well as today being too wet to accomplish any mowing, we have fallen behind on a shortened week. Please be patient as the roughs will be longer than normal. Since we aerified all playing surfaces last week, they have yet to be mown as we were planning on starting that process yesterday. Again, please be patient as there will be clippings on fairways since the turf will be much longer than normal. We will do our best to get things cleanup up and caught up on our normal routines. As it’s that time of year with college back in session, we have a much smaller staff so we have our work cut out for us.
Aerification went well last week as luckily the weather cooperated. As you’ve noticed if you’ve played there are certain areas of fairways where the sod lifted and flipped. These areas have a few things in common; most of the them are Poa Annua, which is shallow rooted and couldn’t handle the tines going in and out of the ground. There is also a good amount of compaction from carts and/or mowers in these areas, which creates a hard-paned and resists the tines coming out of the ground smoothly. All of these areas will heal in time.
You will notice there are areas of fairways where we simple poked a hole and there areas where we took a soil core out. This is for two reasons. First, these areas continue to be thatchier because of their soil composition and need actual removal. Thatch is the bi-product of growth and makes the turf spongy, puffy, disease vulnerable and slows percolation of water received.
We also used these soil cores to expand our nursery green. The cores are collected from the fairways with our large vacuum, spread smoothly out over the nursery area, Bentgrass seed is dropped over the top, sand topdressing is applied over that and regrowth of turf occurs over time. Our entire nursery area has been created using this method and proven effective for replacing turf that has been damaged by summer or winter weather as well as expanding greens back to their original shape and size.
I know there are always questions on why/when we aerify, the process and it’s benefits. The USGA has put out a great article on the why’s behind it that you might find interesting. There is an additional link in the article if you’re looking for more information.
The USGA has also put out a fantastic article below explaining the differences between green construction and how water moves through them. Our “push up” greens were built 97 years ago, so that is the technology we are using to provide current conditions to meet modern-day demands, not an easy task. It’s like taking a Model T out on a race track and expecting it to drive fast at all times with no break downs. This article might be too much information than you’re looking for but know that there is much more under the turf, in the soil, that is determining how that turf you see is managed.
A lot of labor goes into aerification, before sun up to past sun down started last Monday night all the way to late Wednesday night. Hats off to my staff for all of their hard work and commitment as it’s not an easy, and at times, a fun process. Each staff member played an important role in accomplishing everything in a small window of time.
Unfortunately our deep tine machine had a major breakdown on Saturday September 3rd. The deep tine machine makes deep holes in our playing surfaces, which allows water to get into the profile quicker, promotes deep rooting and Bentgrass. It can be a violent environment when getting down to depths of 14″, finding large rocks, old irrigation metal pipe, stumps, etc. It’s repairs could take weeks as a large part of the machine must be taken apart and rebuilt, so we are not sure when we will be able to finish the remaining fairways.
Projects, now that we are somewhat done with aerification, we will focus on projects to improve the property, when time allows. We will be converting turf areas behind the Turf Maintenance Building, behind 9 green all the way wrapping around the large putting green to Fescue. Once matured, it will make a great impression from the parking lot, reduce maintenance on a dangerous slope, create a wildlife corridor and prevent surface water from flowing down into the parking lot. Once seeded, please refrain from walking through this area and use the side walk on the East side of the putting green. The area in the map below that is circled shows what’s being converted.
Other projects that will take place over the next 2 months will be drainage additions to areas where our equipment is capable, moving irrigation heads around converted Fescue areas as we want to keep all inputs of water, nutrients and labor off of them, adding vines to the fence on the right side of #6 to increase privacy, replanting the worn out parking lot rose-bushed island beds, edging cartpaths, as well as other small projects you may or not notice. All projects are completed with the goal of improving your time spent at Midland Hills.