Agronomy Weekly: Aerification, Week 2

Each year we have closed the course to be able to orchestrate our aerification program as quickly as possible.  This year was no exception, and I thank you all for your understanding as we were closed the past two Tuesdays in doing so.  As I outlined what was accomplished in last week's Agronomy Weekly, I will once again outline what happened this past Monday and Tuesday.

Greens:

The greens were vertical mowed again on Monday morning.  This further eliminates any lateral growth in the greens.  We use aerfication to become more aggressive with this practice compared to other weeks of the year. The vertical blades cut the stems, creating a void in between the growing points of the plant.

We were then able to heavily topdress the greens to fill these voids.  As a result, our greens will roll much more consistently over the next few months.  We were able to slightly lower the mowing height this week to .150 of an inch.  We will slowly work our way back down to the heights needed to reach our benchmark speeds. 

All the greens will be dryjected on Monday, July 25th.  This process is much like aerification but with less disruption to the surface.  We plan to have all the greens on the course done on Monday and finish with the practice area on Tuesday morning.  This practice allows us to not have to do other aerifications throughout the year.  

Meyer Zoysia Teeing Grounds:

All 4.5 acres of teeing grounds were aerified on Monday, July 18th.  We plan to vertical mow all teeing grounds over the next few weeks.  Once this has been completed, we will topdress them to provide a smoother, more firm surface.  We were also able to replace several areas on tees that were not healing in fast enough.  These tees include No. 2 Bravo, No. 2 Carson, No. 7 Bravo and No. 15 Carson tees.  We plan for these tees to be back in play in several weeks.

Meyer Zoysia Fairways:

We were able to begin vertical mowing the fairways on Tuesday this week.  Much like the greens, the vertical mower clips the lateral growing stems in the Zoysia.  The machine lifts up much of the organic matter material to the surface and allows us to thin out the thatch layer.  This process greatly benefits the firmness of the fairways by removing this material.  Due to the slow process, we were only able to complete Holes No. 4-10 this week.  Our plan is to begin again on Monday, July 25th, in efforts to complete all fairways.

The fairways are all being mowed at the height of .550 inches.  We will remain at this height until we feel like we are completely healed in from the aggressiveness of the vertical mowers.  

Meyer Zoysia Approaches:

All approaches (greens aprons) were aerified on Monday as well.  We were able to remove a plug to eliminate any thatch accumulation in these areas.  All cores were removed, and we will begin topdressing the approaches next week to aid in the firmness as well as dilution of the thatch layer.

Palisades Zoysia Rough:

Wow how the rough has exploded.  The heat has showed up, and the rough is responding.  This week we will incorporate a second mowing into our program to keep the rough from being so thick on the weekends.  As you can imagine, we are mowing tons of grass.  There is a need for blowers to follow these mowers in efforts to keep grass clippings to a minimum.  During this period, you may encounter a hole or two that has not been blown as a result.

We were also able to Aerway all 90 acres of rough on the course this week.  This machine slices the top layer and shatters the soil underneath, allowing oxygen to enter the root system.  You will notice small slits in the rough for the next few weeks.  We plan to continue using this machine in some of our weaker areas to promote growth in those areas.

Bunkers:

Another great benefit to being closed is being able to address the bunkers without having to maintain them.  This week we were able to edge all the bunkers on the course.  This practice usually takes us several weeks to complete during play.  We also were able to apply a growth regulator to all bunker faces in efforts to slow the growth down.

Other Happenings:

  • We were able to aerify the entire practice facility this week, as well as edge all the practice bunkers.
  • Continue filling the sink hole on No. 7.  We plan to have this project completed by the upcoming week.
  • Sprayed fairways with growth regulator and wetting agent.
  • Able to pump out over 2.5 million gallons of water in two days to help some areas bounce back from last month's drought.

If you should have any questions regarding this week's practices or any upcoming happenings, please feel free to contact me at (901) 201-0320 or scottn@springcreekranch.org.  I look forward to seeing the course respond positively from the aerification and what we are able to accomplish as we get deeper into the summer.  

Best wishes,

Scott Newman