Good morning all,
just a quick update on how maintenance week is proceeding and a brief description of what we are doing and why.
All started well apart from the weather on Monday morning, we have to date had 33mm (nearly 1”1/2) of rain this week.
I started with the Pro Core 648 aerator and hollow tined the 14 old greens.
Hollow tining is the physical removal of cores of turf from a playing surface. The cores are being removed with a 12mm tine and at 75mm depth. The spacings are at 38mm. This depth is deep enough to remove the thatch.
Why is it done?
Course traffic causes the ground to become compacted and hardened. This means drainage is less efficient and the grass’s roots are prevented from absorbing oxygen. Hollow tining allows the compacted turf to expand and air and moisture to be more easily absorbed.
The coring helps address the problem of thatch. (Thatch is a layer of grass stems, roots, and debris that settle and accumulate over time.) A thin layer is acceptable but too much thatch will hold water like a sponge
Tining also removes accumulated fibre in the grass’s root zone. It allows for the exchange of a poor soil for a better one through top dressing. That’s why the greens will be covered in a sand top dressing when the weather permits.
After taking the cores out of the green we follow up with our Core Collector. This is where things have gone slightly wrong. We managed to do 5 greens but at 4pm on Monday we were out on the 15th green and the machine decided not to move! I rang the mechanic who arrived on Tuesday morning after we had towed the machine in to see what the problem was. It turns out that a keyway on the shaft from the engine had broke which in turn had bent the shaft on the engine. He worked on the machine all day Tuesday and as I write this (Wednesday 5.30am) we are hoping that he can get us back on the road (greens) this morning.
I have started to solid tine the 4 new greens and this will be finished this morning. The reason to change from hollow to solid tines is that the new greens which are 80/20 sand/soil greens have not accumulated a lot of thatch. This was confirmed to us in our recent soil sample results. Therefore they only need aeration and not soil exchange. It would mean that we were just replacing sand with sand if we hollow tined them.
The topdressing with sand is the next process but at present I cannot see us being able to do this unless it dramatically dries up. The topdresser carries 1.5 tons at a time and to spend all week relieving the compaction from the greens it would not be sensible to drive across them and compact them again so this process may happen next week.
As we have only used small diameter hollow tines we will not require as much sand as usual. The process will be used as a surface leveller as well as filling the holes. PLEASE REPAIR PITCHMARKS as this is the time where the greens are levelled for the season, not a chance for people to not repair them as there are already holes in them.
We will probably do several light dressings as opposed to a heavy dressing that we usually do. These dressings will then be brushed into the sward, another process that needs to be performed when it is dry.
On completion of the top dressing, an application of fertiliser will be applied to aid recovery and strengthen the turf after the processes that have just been done to it.