I would like to update you on the cultural maintenance program for the upcoming months. And take a little time to explain the importance of fall fertilization.
As far as the greens. I will not be core cultivating the greens this fall. I will be solid tining the greens at least 3 more times. This practice has worked very well all year and I am happy with the firmness of the greens and the ability to move water through the soil profile. I need to clarify the reason for not core cultivating the greens. Removing a core or plug from the turf profile serves a purpose in reducing the organic matter just below the turf and also allow air and water movement through the soil. I have tested the soil profile and found that the greens at this time have a organic layer of 3%. This is the magic number that has been determined as acceptable. Any more then 4% many problems have been associated with heavy amounts of organic matter; thinning turf, waterlogged or saturated soil, puffy turf, and all these problems can and has been documented of major turf loss. Long story but as you can see we have to keep an eye on the organic matter and remove it when we reach that 4% mark. At this time, I will continue to topdress the green weekly and will be solid tinning the greens every 3 to 4 weeks until the end of the year.
I am currently coring the tees. With regards to organic matter the tees have 4-5%. This is the reason you may feel under your feet soft turf at times in the year. Ideally topdressing sand would help but the cost of the sand and labor prohibits us from doing this. The tees are aerated and then the plugs are dragged around until all the soil/sand is removed, this is actually a from of topdressing. I will have half of the tees done by today. Most likely all will be done be Wednesday next week.
We have really made great progress on the approaches this year. I will be attempting the core aerate all or some of the approaches after the tees have been completed. I have had problems in the past, because there are many rocks in the soil just below the sand layer, but with the new aerator, I might be able to core them this year. All the plugs will be removed and a heavy layer of sand will be applied to smooth the surface and fill the holes.
I can not core the fairways at hawks, there are just too many rocks. This is why I have been spiking the fairways as well as verticutting. Both help water movement and removal of some organic matter. All fairways will be spike next week and then again before winter.
The end of August is a great time for turf recovery. Cool nights, warm days are ideal growing conditions for the turf. Root growth resumes and the plants start to store carbohydrates for winter. This is the reason golf courses core after Labor day. this is the best time of the year to fertilize, aerate and deeply water to encourage turf health and recovery from the summer. There are a number of products and I really would have a hard time recommend a certain one, but I would look for a product with some potassium ( the last number on the bag). Potassium is important for root growth and stress tolerance.