A large part of the Master Plan work was green expansions. If you recall, the procedure for expanding greens was to excavate the soil down 5″, then refill that cavity with a mixture of soil/sand that matched the existing topdressing of the green as close as possible. Several areas of subsoils were even created during the project, meaning we brought in soils to build up the green, to create an areas to expand the surfaces.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve been deep-tining greens, which fractures not only the 5″ of topdressing soil, but more importantly, the subsoils. This promotes frost cracking during the winter months, which helps drain the water through those subsoils during the golf season. The existing green subsoils have been getting natural frost cycles for 100 years, and are fairly good at draining for our local heavy “farm” soils.
Unfortunately, we are seeing many of these new green expansions not performing at a high level yet. The cause is the subsoils not releasing water, and they are essentially sealed off. The accumulation effect of this situation is the thinning of turf at the surface. Without the expansions draining properly, the soil become saturated, roots decline, and necessary gas exchange (oxygen) doesn’t happen.
I was hoping to make it to our normal winter preparation deep-tine cycle in October, but these underperforming areas are becoming too thin for our standards. Yesterday, I took our deep-tine aerifier to the worst of these areas on greens – 1, 4, 5, 8, 16, and 18. Only select areas were deep-tined, not the entire green.
Below shows after the green was deep-tined to 10″, but has not yet been rolled or mown.
All of these aerified areas have now been rolled many times, and will have minimal effect to play. However, we need to keep these holes open to quickly promote drying of the subsoils, and gas exchange, so they will not be filled with sand. I will closely monitor all other areas of green expansions and will deep-tine additional areas as needed. It’s critical to have a healthy stand of turf leading into winter, and that is the main focus right now.
Below is a deep-tined area of 8 green, post roll.
As I’ve written many times before, what you see on the surface of a turf canopy is reactionary to prior repetitions, good or bad. We need to be proactive with this situation, as the long-term health of the canopy is paramount.
Thanks for your patience as we help these struggling areas by improving their growing conditions.