The pictures below are of our verti-drain aerifier in operation. We start at the back of the green and go through the front collar and or bentgrass approach. The operator, in this case Russ will then back over the non-aerated section of green and will start another row.
Below is the back view of our aerator with 4 tines per holder and 6 arms.
This view is the aftermath of the aerating process. The pin below gives you an idea of the spacing that the aerator makes in the surface of a green.
Once we aerated, we would then roll the greens to smooth the aerated surface in case the machine would heave the turf. Skip is rolling the green with our vibratory rollers in the picture below.
We then used our spin topdressor to place a complete hopper of sand on each green. During the season, we would put one load of sand on about every 3-4 greens in our frequent and light program. It is necessary a couple of times of year to place heavy amounts of sand on greens to help smooth the surface, fill aeration holes and increase the percentage of sand in the turf profile to help dilute our turf mat. The turf mat or thatch includes the turf surface and an inch or two of the living and dying stems and roots of a plant. Sand being continually layered into this living and dying process will not only help turf conditions on the surface but improve the environment for our microbial population to flourish in the soil. Microbes that are healthy and happy will help to reduce thatch materials and will gather nutrients as they pass through this area. As the microbes digest these materials, the turfgrass root system will absorb the byproducts of the microbes feast and turn it into energy for health and welfare. Too much thatch leads to greens that are spongy during wet conditions, excessively ball mark, and will not be smooth or roll true. The excessive thatch will hold moisture and tie up nutrients and will not allow the water to drain quickly through the profile. Of course, old soil greens with only a few inches of sand help to slow the moisture leaving the turf area as well.
Once the green is topdressed, we would use our drag brush and would go at least 3 different directions(front to back, side to side and 45 degree) on the green to smooth the sand and help move it into the aeration holes. The dragging will also help work the sand around the turf which forces the turf to stand up which would then allow for a tighter mowing of our greens surfaces. Less leaf blades means less friction and better ball roll. Assistant Mike is doing our dragging in the picture below.Once the sand was moved around on the green with the brush, the green is mowed.
Jason is doing the honors below. You can see the cloud of dust and sand out in front of the machine as he moves along the turf surface. We could substitute a second roll for this process but this insures that any turf that has been pulled up in the process from the brushing is cut off.
The greens were then lightly fertilized and watered to help settle the sand and begin to activate the fertilizer.
Even with cooler than normal temperatures, I expect the greens to be back in good condition by next week. The heavy sanding requires that we mow the greens once they have dried late in the morning for the first few days after this process and we should be mowing greens in the morning by this weekend.