Three Key Benefits Of Golf Course Aeration
If you’ve been in the turf industry for any amount of time, you’ve heard the word aerification more than once. If you are a golf course superintendent, you are familiar with the practice as a part of your turf management program. This short-term disruption leaves courses with long-term benefits— including stronger, healthier turf and optimum playing conditions.
We’ve narrowed the long list of benefits that come with aeration down to the three most vital: reduced soil compaction, increased thatch control, and enhanced fertilization.
REDUCED SOIL COMPACTION
One of the most significant benefits that come from aerating your course is reduced soil compaction. The high traffic on golf courses leaves soil susceptible to becoming compacted over time. Depending on your region and type of soil you’re working with, you may also be facing the risk of heat and drought causing the soil to harden and become even more compacted. As a professional, you know the health of your greens starts with the roots.
Compaction affects the turf by not allowing roots to grow deeper into the ground and crushing air pockets that they depend on. Shallow roots leave grass vulnerable to stress and drought, which will result in the plant becoming weaker and eventually dying. Removing cores allows the roots to grow deeper, and water and fertilizer to do their jobs better. Filling the holes with sand will ensure the soil retains air space and enables better root establishment. This step in the aerification process will also help improve drainage, and in the long run, it may help superintendents avoid or postpone expensive rebuilding or renovation of greens.
Another significant benefit of aerating your course is improved thatch control. While thatch can help protect turf from becoming too hot, cold wet or dry, it can also bring problems if it becomes too thick. When this happens, the thatch acts as a sponge and holds water at the surface while also making the course softer and more prone to ball marks, footprinting, and inconsistent playing conditions. Thatch is also hydrophobic, making it a perfect breeding ground for disease and insects. Aeration and topdressing with sand will help reduce thatch buildup and ensure firm putting surfaces.
Aerification creates pockets that are perfect for fertilizer. When fertilizing turf, the better it can penetrate the soil profile, the more effective it will be. With fall right around the corner, you should be planning to aerate and then fertilize your course, especially for cool-season grasses. We recommend using a root revitalization fertilizer like our Country Club Root Reviver, which will also help speed up the healing process from aerification.
Of course, the frequency of when to aerate is specific to each course and its program. As a superintendent, factors such as soil condition, weather, events, and turf requirements will dictate when and how often you aerate. To learn about fertilizer options for your course, contact your local LebanonTurf distributor. They’ll be able to get you set up with these products quickly, and can have any product available within a matter of days if it’s not already in stock.