Last week at Westbrook Country Club annual spring aerification took place on Monday and Tuesday. You will notice that there are tiny holes that have been filled with sand on the greens. This is the process of aerification and aides in providing oxidation (the process of circulating oxygen through the ground) oxidation also provides oxygen to the root system. If the root system does not have oxygen the roots will suffocate and die. Finally, it resolves compaction related issues. At Westbrook we have many factors that go into this process which will be listed at the conclusion of this article. Furthermore, Eric Howarth and myself, with consultation from agronomist, Brian Mavis (specializing in the effects of soil in the natural environment) have determined that using a solid tine method is the best method when it comes Westbrook. Some would argue that pulling soil cores would be of benefit however, this causes adverse and sometimes harmful effects on the quality, playability, and overall structure of the plant.
A study in 2012 by Michigan State University showed this method to be highly effective in the relief of soil compaction and aiding, as mentioned above, in oxidation. “In conclusion, soil porosity, micropores, and macropores showed great enhancement when the solid tine cultivation was utilized…” To further understand this statement micropores and macropores refer to the two general sizes of soil porosity. Macropores, are large soil pores that allow air and water movement and root exploration. Micropores aide in water retention. This study shows that STC (Solid Tine Cultivation) enhanced factors of water movement, root exploration, and oxidation. Making the study conclusive in the benefits of this method in the industry.
The steps of aerification are simple but take time to accomplish.
- Mow the green.
- Pull flags and cups.
- Complete the aerification process.
- Top dress the green.
- Brush and fill the holes.
- Roll the green.
- Fertilize the green.
- Replace flags and cups.
Some additional facts.
- 12 million holes were punched.
- Two people spend an average of a half hour per green punching holes.
- 11-13 greens can be accomplished in one day.
As you can see there are many factors in this process. Some of the process you will see pictured below. We appreciate the patience and consideration in doing our best to provide the best playing conditions and turf quality that we can.