With golf course projects like aeration, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. With well-timed and executed aeration the plants get what they need just in time. To establish and maintain the firm fast greens that golfers have come to appreciate, the grass growing at 1/8”-3/16” needs to have deep healthy roots.
Aeration is one of the most important methods that Superintendents use to maintain good roots. Aeration usually involves the mechanical removal of ½” by 3” deep cores that include different layers including live and dead plants, roots, and soil. The removal of these layers reduces organic matter accumulation and provides an open column in the root zone. The open column is often filled with sand “topdressing” that helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for roots to grow downward.
The timing of the aeration process coincides with anticipated changes in growing conditions. In the spring the greens are aerated when they are actively growing and will heal quickly prior to the heat, golfer and mowing stress of the summer. In the early fall aeration is done before the most advantageous growing weather. Consider aeration a short-term investment that pays long-term dividends and without those little holes things really could get worse.