Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Roots say: "AAAHHHHHH We can BREATH!"

A handful of times throughout the year I have utilized comparisons between the human body and the grass plant to better explain the goals that we have as turf managers. The crown of the plant is the brain and the roots are the vital organs. The blades of grass serve similar function to peoples skin, it utilizes sunlight to absorb nutrients, protects the plant, and can also be cut and allow pathogens and infections into the plant. This being the case, we can have a putting green that looks good but in fact isn't nearly as healthy as it appears, just as a 25 year old person can look great but isn't nearly as healthy as they appear because that person doesn't exercise, smokes, drinks too much, and has a poor diet. My goal as a turf manager is to get the plant as healthy and that means growing the roots, the past two days we have taken the biggest step to getting truly healthy roots.... Deep Tine Aeration.

The machine we are using this time is a Toro ProCore SR54-S, it is mounted on the back of a tractor and it punches a hole into the ground 1/2" in diameter and goes 8" into the soil profile. What this is going to do for us is to create a channel down into the profile that will allow for water and oxygen exchange and give those roots a place to grow unobstructed. Longer roots means that we will have a stronger plant, a stronger plant means it will be better suited to handle the stress of the summer. This process will be happening again in the spring when the roots are most actively growing and really give us an advantage going into the summer that these greens haven't seen in 5 or 6 years. Our greens have now started their cardio workout in preparation for running the marathon that is a golf season in the Midwest.

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