Make The Most Of Core Aeration April 14, 2016 By John Daniels, agronomist, Central Region

Aeration cores can be collected and replanted to improve other areas of a golf course. 

With soil temperatures rising to favorable levels for root growth, many golf courses will begin implementing core aeration. Few cultural practices are more important than aeration to the long-term viability of a putting green. Core aeration aims to provide a proper balance of air and water in the soil and helps maintain levels of organic matter that are conducive to turf health. Aeration also provides an opportunity  to improve other areas of a golf course.


Looking to recapture lost hole locations and expand the edges of a putting surface? 

Aeration cores offer a relatively inexpensive solution for those battling bermudagrass encroachment. Simply identify the original putting green perimeters, treat any undesirable turf with a nonselective herbicide and  remove the affected sod. Aeration cores from the center of the putting green can then be pushed into the voids, topdressed with sand, rolled and watered. Make sure any additional root zone material matches the existing root zone mix and take care to create a seamless transition between the existing green and the planted cores. Shield the planted areas from traffic, maintain soil moisture and apply supplemental fertilization to stimulate growth. For more details on the process review the USGA Green Section Record article, Reclaiming Putting Green Edges Using Core Aeration Plugs.


Is the golf course in need of an on-site nursery green?

Transplanting aeration cores is an effective way to establish a nursery green that will match the existing greens. This technique is especially useful if a course has greens that are comprised of a cultivar which is no longer commercially available. The grow-in process for a nursery green established from aeration cores is very similar to the previously mentioned steps to expand the edges of a putting green. However, extra care is needed to ensure good irrigation coverage and drainage. To learn more read the USGA Green Section Record article, Nursery Green Wanted.


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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