Take a Breath of Fresh Air This Winter

By Brian Whitlark, agronomist, Southwest Region
November 28, 2012

On bermudagrass putting greens, the last aeration may have been performed five months ago in July with the next major aeration event possibly not scheduled until June of next year. Bentgrass greens were likely aerated two to three months ago in September and are not likely scheduled for aeration until late spring. Regardless of turf species, it is important to vent putting greens during the winter season. This can be done using small diameter solid tines, spiking, or pressurized water injection. When high salinity water is used for irrigation, the importance of venting is further emphasized. Without periodic venting, greens can become hydrophobic or even form a crust at the soil surface. Salts can accumulate to very high levels. This winter, consider implementing a regimented venting program that is not disruptive to golfers and will help maintain soil oxygen exchange and proper water penetration.

   11-16-12 pic 3 High salinity develops at the immediate soil surface in this putting green where a hydrophobic crust has formed. 
11-16-12 pic2 Immediately beneath the surface the salinity drops dramatically to less than one-tenth of that measured at the soil surface.
For more tips on managing putting greens during the winter season or other agronomic advice, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Pat Gross: pgross@usga.org  or Mr. Brian Whitlark: bwhitlark@usga.org, or call the Southwest regional office at (714) 542-5766


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