September Is A Great Month For Course Maintenance

By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region
September 5, 2013

A recently core aerated, verticut, and topdressed putting green. An appropriate rate of topdressing was applied to smooth out the surface as much as possible, minimizing surface disruption.

In the Northeast and across most of the northern part of the country, September is a great month for golf course maintenance. Cooler weather stimulates grass recovery from the summer stress and it allows for the maintenance staff to perform crucial management practices such as core aeration, topdressing, and verticutting. While these practices produce some temporary disruption to the playing surfaces they are the backbone of golf conditioning. The grass should be actively growing when these programs are performed so that recovery is as fast as possible, which is why late August and early September are ideal for most facilities. All too often course officials and golfers learn the hard way that pushing off these programs until late season only compromises their effectiveness and extend recovery time significantly. The following Green Section Record articles explain why these programs are so important:

Aeration and Topdressing for the 21st Century  

Core Cultivation: Timing is Everything  

Easing the Pain of Core Aeration  

While September also is a great month for golf it is important that the maintenance calendar should take some precedence over the golf calendar. Many golf courses that do not adhere to this philosophy justify their rationale on financial implications, and not golf course conditioning. Simply put, this approach comes with consequences that may require more resources and disruption to overcome.

General Observations  

  • Many facilities are in recovery mode from recent core aeration, topdressing, and/or verticutting treatments. The disruption of these programs may be annoying, but they are essential for meeting golfer expectations.
  • The weather has aided in recovery from core aeration and verticutting, although the stretch of heat and humidity from the end of August to early September increased disease activity. Dollar spot and brown patch have been most problematic.
  • Recovery from summer decline is progressing nicely in most cases. Core aeration followed by overseeding can quickly transform a thin, worn out area to a healthy stand of grass. 
  • Grass root systems are regenerating nicely, especially on areas that were recently core aerated.
  • Fall projects will soon be underway. Given the heavy and frequent rain in June, drainage work is a priority at most facilities. Bunker renovations and leveling/enlarging of teeing grounds is also a common fall project.

Source: Adam Moeller (

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

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