Aerification...a dreaded word that nobody wants to hear in the spring and fall. Commonly Superintendents will hear "do you really have to punch right now? The greens are perfect" or "Why do you have to punch holes now, can we wait until later in the year?" or "can we use smaller holes, why so big?" These questions are perfectly understandable and there are agronomic reasons behind them.
Do you really have to punch right now? - When deciding when to core aerify greens, tees, or fairways the decision is based on reducing the stress window. During the months of June, July, August, and September in Michigan we expect our warmest, most humid weather in addition to the heaviest amount of traffic from both maintenance practices and golfers. Heavy traffic from these things leads to compaction of the soil, limited root growth, and general turf stress. Compaction also leads less water, oxygen, and nutrient penetration to the root zone. With these things in mind, we generally aim for a spring aerification in the middle of May and our fall aerification in September.
|Fairway Core Sample|
|Fall Fescue Mowing|
Fescue mowing is an important part of our fall maintenance program. Mowing fescue areas in the fall reduces weed growth mechanically and helps to thin the dense growth that has built up throughout the year. Fall is the best time to target weeds in the fescue and reducing the thick top growth allows for a more effective spray application of herbicides.