The time for aerating bermudagrass greens has nearly arrived in the Southwest. The month of June typically coincides with actively growing bermudagrass in the Desert Southwest and affords the first opportunity to core aerate greens. Core aeration is not popular with golfers and requires significant labor, equipment and resources to complete this task in a timely manner. Historically, removing soil plugs following core aeration may require as many as five to eight staff members raking, brushing and blowing cores and debris from putting surfaces. It is common for core removal to be the limiting factor that prolongs the time required to complete the aeration process in a timely manner. This regional update will highlight two tools that will reduce labor hours required to clear cores from greens.
At a recent Turf Advisory Service visit in Arizona, the golf course superintendent mentioned a new tool to expedite the core removal. The Modern Aerofication Core Collector enables rapid core removal utilizing one employee driving a mechanical bunker rake. Cores are deposited on the green collar or the edge of the green where they can be picked up by staff members. The superintendent reported that 98 percent core removal from a 4,000 square foot green was completed in seven minutes. One of the keys to effectively clearing greens is to allow soil plugs to dry for approximately one hour prior to removal.
Another option to expedite core collection is the Turf Pride Core Collector. This machine was reportedly released about five years ago and can be mounted to the back of an aerator. Combining the two machines saves labor because one less operator is needed. It is interesting that in the company videos you will see the machine working on greens that were topdressed prior to core aeration, and this is becoming a very popular practice. The fear was that this machine would pick up topdressing sand in addition to soil cores, but the tool is shaped in such a way that very little sand is removed so long as the sand is dry.
With consideration for diminished labor resources at many golf facilities, any tool that can complete an intensive process such as core aeration with less manpower is a winning proposition. With aeration right around the corner at many facilities in the Desert Southwest, you may want to consider adding one of the tools mentioned in this update to your equipment fleet to expedite the core aeration process while using less labor. Please don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Pat Gross or myself to assist in developing a sound and practical putting green aeration program.
Source: Brian Whitlark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service
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