Sand topdressing is the most important cultural practice for managing organic matter. Recent research confirms the benefits of light and frequent sand topdressing programs that provide less immediate disruption, better playing conditions, and better rootzone characteristics over time. It is critical to asses putting green performance and the quality of the rootzone to determine if circumstances warrant an accelerated program for improvement beyond what is possible with light and frequent topdressing. Regardless of the selected topdressing program, silica sand is preferred because of its tolerance to weathering. Aeration backfill should closely match the physical characteristics of the sand used at construction, but routine topdressing sand can be somewhat less coarse to ease incorporation and reduce wear on mowers. Ongoing research suggests that this will not impede infiltration or cause an overly wet surface. Regardless of the selected topdressing program, it is wise to assess rootzone physical properties regularly by submitting core samples to a soil-testing laboratory.
We appreciate the scholarly contributions of Dr. James Murphy and Mr. Hui Chen, Rutgers University, and Dr. Kevin McInnes, Texas A&M University.
Dickson, K.H., W.D. Strunk, J.C. Sorochan, T.A. Nikolai, and A. Hathaway. 2019. Impact of clip of the reel on creeping bentrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) putting greens. Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management. 4:1800049. doi:10.2134/cftm2018.06.0049.
Lowe, T. 2013. Lessons learned with ultradwarf bermudagrass in Florida: Observations from a decade of successful putting green management. USGA Green Section Record. January 11. 51(1):1-4.
McInnes, K., and B. Wherley. 2019. Assessment of topdressing sands and associated cultural practices used to manage ultradwarf bermudagrass greens. USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program: 2018 Research Summaries (pp.170-173). <http://usgatero.msu.edu/tero_browse.html>.
Murphy, J.A., H.C. Chen, K. Genova, J.W. Hempfling, and C.J. Schmid. 2019. Effects of finer-textured topdressing sand on creeping bentgrass putting green turf. USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program: 2018 Research Summaries (pp. 148-169). <http://usgatero.msu.edu/tero_browse.html>.
O’Brien, P., and C. Hartwiger. 2014. Calculating costs confidently: A thorough analysis is a must when comparing operating costs between creeping bentgrass and ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens. USGA Green Section Record. May 2. 52(9):1-6.
Rieke, P.E. 1999. Effective greens topdressing depends on approach. Grounds Maintenance. January. 34(1): p. G12-G13, G16.
Schmid, C.J., R.E. Gaussoin, and S.A. Gaussoin. 2014a. Organic matter concentration of creeping bentgrass putting greens in the continental U.S. and resident management impact. Applied Turfgrass Science. doi:10.2134/ATS-2014-0031-BR.
Schmid, C.J, R.E. Gaussoin, R.C. Sherman, M. Mamo, and C.S. Wortmann. 2014b. Cultivation effects on organic matter concentration and infiltration rates of two creeping bentgrass putting greens. Applied Turfgrass Science. doi:10.2134/ATS-2014-0032-RS.
Strunk, W.D., K.H. Dickson, J.C. Sorochan. 2018. Mowing pattern and clip of reel have limited effects on green speed of ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens. Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management. 4:180066. doi:10.2134/cftm2018.09.0066.