Glossary of Agronomic Practices


Core Aeration
Greens Venting
Light-Weight Rolling
Solid-Tine Aeration
Syringing
Topdressing
Graden Linear Aeration


Core Aeration is a mechanical process of removing cores of soil profile from the compacted soil, allowing for an infusion of air and water and a resurgence of growth.  Core Aeration improves turf health by creating more air space in the soil, improving water infiltration and gas exchange, allowing new sand to be introduced into the soil profile, promoting deeper rooting, reducing compaction, and removing thatch (a layer of organic matter resulting from an accumulation of dead stems, leaves and roots; too much thatch can obstruct water, air and gas exchange and inhibit root growth.)   Core Aeration is a long, labor intensive project that involves aeration, core removal, fertilizer applications, sand applications, dragging, rolling, and brushing. This process is very disruptive to play and the playing surface so we schedule our aerations to maximize recovery time and minimize the disruption of play based on the growing and golfing seasons.  Core Aeration is performed in the spring and once in the fall with our Toro ProCore 648 walk-behind aerator on putting greens.  When we have cored our fairways and tees, that process has been contracted out to Harmon Turf Services.
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Greens Venting is the process of creating small holes or voids in the turf, roughly 1/8" - 1/4" in diameter.  Venting improves gas exchange between the roots and the atmosphere (oxygen is able to easily move to the root zone and gases such as CO2 can be expelled), relieves compaction, improves water infiltration, relieves hydrophobic areas,  improves microbial activity and increases drying of the putting green surface.  As opposed to the tines that we use to pull cores during our Spring and Fall core aeration, we use a small, solid tine that creates a small hole and does not remove any greens mix.  Greens venting is very beneficial to the turf and is less disruptive to the putting surface than core aeration.  The green can be rolled and mowed following venting to provide an enjoyable putting surface the same day.  This process is performed with our Toro ProCore 648 walk-behind aerator.
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Light-Weight Rolling is a routine management practice used in conjunction with mowing or alone to provide a smooth, consistent, true putting surface.  Rolling is also used to smooth out the putting surface following agronomic practices such as aeration or venting.  During summer stress, rolling can supplement mowing to provide quality putting conditions while minimizing labor and mechanical stress.  Research has proven that decreased mechanical stress can reduce disease susceptibility and fungicide use.  Depending on our intended goal and available labor, we use our Salsco Greens Rollers to roll greens.

Solid-Tine Aeration is the process of creating holes in the soil profile, roughly 1/4" - 3/4" in diameter.  Solid-tine aeration improves gas exchange between the roots and the atmosphere (oxygen is able to easily move to the root zone and gases such as CO2 can be expelled), relieves compaction, improves water infiltration, relieves hydrophobic areas,  and improves microbial activity.  As opposed to the tines that we use to pull cores, we use a solid tine that creates a  hole and does not remove any soil.  Solid-tine aeration is very beneficial to the turf and is less disruptive to the playing surface than core aeration.  Solid-tine aeration is performed with our Toro ProCore 648 walk-behind aerator on putting greens and deep tine is performed with our Vertidrain.  Deep-tining involves 1/2" - 3/4" diameter solid tines to a depth of 8-10" to maximize root growth and health. Fairway solid-tine aeration is contracted out to Harmon Turf Services for tees, roughs and fairways.
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Syringing is performed by applying a small amount of water with a ¾ inch hose and a specialty nozzle.  Light syringing is utilized to reduce plant-tissue temperatures, provide uniformity throughout the entire green, and/or wash chemicals off of the leaves and into the soil profile. Syringing applies water to the canopy, but is not intended to restore soil moisture, as is deep hand watering or overhead irrigation. A green will typically need a light syringe when greens are under high stress from drought, low humidity, heat or wind.  Syringing is one of the most important practices to maintain a healthy putting surface during high periods of stress.  Unfortunately syringing disrupts play and can take 2-3 minutes per green.  If you see a staff member on a green or other playing surface, please be patient and allow for this vital agronomic practice to be completed before continuing play.
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Topdressing is the process of applying sand to turfgrass surfaces in order to promote plant health and playability.  The application of sand promotes a smooth playing surface by filling imperfections or voids left behind by ball marks, cart or foot traffic, and mechanical traffic .  Topdressing promotes upright shoot growth, allowing for a better quality of cut and ball roll,  protects the plant during the winter, and promotes water infiltration, air movement and gas exchange in the root zone.  The sand also helps control thatch by grinding against the organic material.  Heavy topdressings are applied after core or solid aerations to help move the sand down into the greens mix through the cored out holes.  These channels of sand will promote drainage, air movement, and root growth.
The sand used to topdress our USGA spec putting greens undergoes rigorous physical testing to insure that particle size, shape, and distribution fall within USGA guidelines and match our current soil conditions.  The sand used on our putting greens comes to us kiln-dried and bagged and has been chosen to improve putting green firmness.  We topdress our greens with Lesco rotary walk-behind spreaders to prevent damage from heavy mechanical topdressers.  We use our Dakota Turf Tender 410 mounted to a Toro Workman to topdress tees, approaches and smaller areas while our Ford 3930 Tractor pulls a Spreadmaster Fairway Topdresser to tackle our fairways and roughs. 
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Graden Linear Aeration:  Graden is the name of the machine used to perform this process.  The Graden cuts a series of 2mm channels in the green. 2mm blades remove a large amount of thatch and replaces that thatch with pure sand.  This will help with surface firmness and water infiltration.  The Graden process is contracted out as a specialized aeration practice.    
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