It is hard to believe that the summer is gone and the fall is already upon us, it is truly amazing how fast time flies when you are having fun. To some people the work of a greenskeeper looks like it is anything but fun, but to us the satisfaction of a job well done is all the reward we need to stay motivated. I am very happy with the conditions of the course thus far and I am optimistic we will be playing into late November – possibly December depending on the weather – so for all you die hard golfers it is time to get the long johns out.
When the leaves start to turn we start to think about putting the course to bed, however our winterization program starts in August after our core aeration. It is imperative to core aerate multiple times to open air space in the soil to allow the plants to accept air water and nutrient. Lime and Calcium as well as organic fertilizer will also condition soil and strengthen the plant to endure cold temperatures. By adding proper nutrients it also ensures the plant will store the necessary carbohydrates it needs to wake up and be healthy in the spring. We utilize the byproduct of aeration referred to as a “plug” that has a full profile of soil thatch and healthy turf. We use these plugs to level areas around the golf course such as low spots on fairways. We excavate the sunken turf and fill the low spots with plugs smooth, compact, then seed on top of them, in a few weeks the areas will blend in naturally giving the golfer a smoother more consistent surface to play on.
The pictures below highlight the progress over the last couple of weeks.
A few weeks ago we began construction on a 3,600 sq ft green, tee, fairway and rough nursery using the plugs from our green and fairway aerations. I have not been completely satisfied with how the sod we have been purchasing has blended into our older cultivars of turf, so we decided to build one using plugs. The benefit of using plugs from your own property is, you are basically making a clone that will perfectly match the grass on your golf course. The process is simple but not easy. I chose the natural fescue area between 3 and 4 due to its sun exposure and low impact to play. I started by cutting the existing sod down to bare earth. From there, I relieved the compaction on the surface by deep tine, solid tine and hollow tine aeration. Next I used a sub grade of sand mixed with organic matter that matched our native soil. We then took the harvested aeration plugs and spread them evenly. Finally, we put fresh seed over the cores, rolled it several times, then amended with organic fertilizer and beneficial soil nutrients. It has been just under a month and we already have significant growth.