Tee boxes and putting greens don’t have a chance against turf compaction. Every golfer contributes to compaction in these areas. The tees and greens serve the most important purposes in the game so they must be maintained in the greatest possible manner. The continuous traffic of golfers in those areas tends to create endless turf compaction problems.
Turf compaction results from heavy foot traffic and cart use. Carts can cause major problems if allowed on very wet areas. The weight of carts and pedestrians on soft turf will create the ground under it to become hard and dense. The soil loses its porosity and can no longer absorb the air, water, and nourishment it needs to feed the grass.
Aerating Aerifying the greens is the number one way to battle turf compaction. Spring and fall are the best times of year to aerate with a coring machine because the ground is softer. Air or water injection may be the answer for areas with high compaction problems. Special units with an air compressor attachment can pump a shot of air when the tine penetrates the ground. Play can resume quicker because there will be less clean up and no plugs on the surface. A routine turf maintenance program will prevent overly condensed soil conditions that could affect your course.
Slicing Vertical cutting and slicing create elongated slits in the soil surface with minimal disruption of the playing area. This process breaks through the compacted layer of earth and relieves the stress of turf compaction. Bare spots can be repaired with a treatment of overseeding at the same time.
Thatching Removing the thatch may assist with the turf compaction problem. Vertical mounted blades must be set to just skim the top of the soil without penetration. If soil tests determine an excessive layer of thatch, this procedure may have to be repeated several times. It is not recommended to try to remove it all at once due to unnecessary shock to the healthy turf.
Scarifying If dethatching the area does not alleviate the problem, a rigorous process called scarifying may be your next step to remove thatch mat and improve the turf. This involves getting deep into the root of things. Adjustable blades are set to dig into the surface of the soil while simultaneously pulling up unwanted plant material and thatch. Turf recovery will take longer than slicing and more clean is involved because it will displace massive amounts of waste.
Air Blasting For areas inaccessible to large machines, an air injection machine could be the solution to your turf compaction dilemma. The one man unit is compact and transports easily. The adjustable shaft enters the ground and pressurized air is released to loosen the soil. A large area is softened with each blast.
Severely compacted soil affects the overall health of your golf course. The fact that it will not allow for proper drainage may result in a more serious flooding problem. This situation must be remedied quickly to avoid extensive turf repairs.
Grass has a short life expectancy, it is not immortal. To maintain the plush thick turf your members expect, golf course reseeding is just as important as aerating and dethatching. Overseeding replenishes the grass that has slowed in reproduction and encourages new growth to continually provide the smoothest playing surface. Young turf is healthy turf.
1. Brown Spots Prompt action must be taken at the first sign of spots or discoloration on the turf. If not resolved immediately problems could spread and create an expensive restoration project. In the spring, circular patches of brown could be the results from snow mold. Patchy areas may also be a sign of compaction. Golf course reseeding in the early spring will mean less work throughout the year. Give extra consideration to those areas when thatching and aerating. Healthy green turf is the main objective of every golf course superintendent.
2. Thin Turf An easy way to confirm you need to perform golf course reseeding is to spread the blades of grass with your fingers to see if you can see the dirt, if you can then you need to overseed. Careless golf cart drivers might be part of the problem with patchy turf. It would be an ideal situation if carts stayed on the paths all of the time, but we know that will never happen. The stopping, starting and turning of inconsiderate patrons twist and pull the grass causing distress to the plants. The turf must be full and dense to provide the smooth, fast playing surface that is desired my all golfers. Golf course reseeding will produce thick turf that will be more resistant to weeds.
3. Dormancy In areas where weather permits, the goal is to keep the course in play all year. Golfers flock to the southern courses to escape the harsh winters of the north. Most golf course grasses will not fare well if play is allowed when the turf is in its dormant stage. Keep turf alive and green in southern climates by reseeding the golf course with a quick growing rye grass to take the place of the hibernating Bermuda grass.
Take frequent soil samples and be sure to have the samples evaluated by a qualified lab. You may think your imperfect turf has compaction issues or an excessive build up of thatch but it could be something more serious, an invasion of Nematodes! The plant parasite known as root-knot is a microscopic, multi-cellular round worm that feeds on healthy turf. Sandy soil is its preferred residence. Keep an eye on the putting greens since they are most often 90% sand. Prevent invasion of parasites by being selective on all sod and fertilizer purchases.
It is up to the individual golf courses to determine if they will allow the course to remain open during the golf course reseeding process. Follow the basics when overseeding. Remove all debris to prepare the area. Cut the existing turf shorter than usual. Remove excess thatch and aerate to allow ultimate germination of the new seeds. If soil samples suggested fertilization, do it before planting the new seed. Apply the seed in at least two directions to avoid a striping effect. Use a slicing type overseeder with seed hopper for best results. Follow this procedure with frequent watering to stimulate new growth.
We recommend INOX products to keep your CS Trading industrial turf equipment working at its best. Below you can see 2 videos that explain how to use their Battery Conditioner. We hope that you will find this very helpful.
With some much equipment out there, it can be difficult to distinguish the finer differences between the benefits each piece of equipment offers. Here is a video from our friends at Dennis UK with some help.