A rainy day gives me a chance to write up a new post since it has been awhile. The course is looking pretty good and should really jump next week with some sunshine.
Next week (May 2 and 3) we will be aerating greens similarly to last fall. We use a 3/8 tine but go slowly to poke a lot of holes. Our goal with the numerous holes is to impact a large amount of surface area and give roots lots of growing spaces. The smaller hole though should be able to fill faster than a larger 1/2" or 5/8" hole like we use in the fairways. We want to minimize the healing time but still get the agronomic benefits of aeration.
We went several years without aeration or very small needle tine aeration. We felt like we were able to manage thatch adequately with topdressing, but our greens were starting to become slightly compacted and the root structure was declining so we have implemented this new regime of spring and fall greens aeration. We know you all hate having to putt bumpy greens but we are confident that our greens will be better off because of this practice. In fact we are already seeing improved rooting due to last falls' aerification.
Everyone wants to know how long until greens will return to "normal" after an aerification. That is always tricky and depends quite a bit on the weather. Soil temperatures are still a bit cool which can hamper recovery but we are hopeful for a warm week following the process which would improve recovery. Usually within a week putting quality is pretty good and within 14 days the greens are pretty much healed. We make every attempt to heal them by timing fertilizer applications to promote accelerated growth right after the process. Also we may skip a mowing or two to help them maximize their growth potential. This can lead to slower greens for a few days but the "back to normal" will be realized sooner.
I apologize for not having a picture of the next topic discussion but it is pretty easy to see if you have been out here. I am referring to the brown strip around the edge of first cut of rough. Late last fall we applied roundup to kill the unwanted bluegrass that was dominating this interface between rough and fairway. By spraying late in the season the native warm season grasses that we want are not harmed and only the cool season bluegrass and bromes are killed. It may look like it is all dead in that strip but there will be some warm season grasses come back in there as the season progresses. Unfortunately there are some areas that were nearly 100% bluegrass that will be pretty bare for awhile but over time natives will reestablish. The other problem with having open ground is the potential for weeds but we will try to keep them under control through the season.
You can read more about our rough management philosophy in a previous post but our goal with this process is to avoid the rough becoming too thick along the edge of the fairways. It may take a few years to get to the composition of grasses we want in that area but in the meantime it should make for easier ball spotting and playability.