Back

Summer aeration/cultivation/venting

From Dr. Jim Murphy on the Rutgers TurfBlog:

Aeration
during the summer can be a helpful practice but does need some caution. Many
turf managers performing mid-season aeration on putting greens will be using
needle tines, which are less disruptive. But the key words are “less
disruptive”; as reminder, needle time aeration (venting) will cause some damage
to the roots. How extensive the root system is and how you manage for any
“venting stress” makes a difference in how well the practice of venting works
for you. Some things to think about and prepare for include:

How
extensive is the current root system? Turf with a shallow/limited root system
will be more sensitive to the disruption from venting and other cultivation
practices than a turf with an extensive root system.

If dry
(single digits on TDR 300/350 probes), suggest that water content of putting
greens be increased into the lower-teens with irrigation the night before
venting is performed.

If hot (90
°F / 32 °C or more), aerate with needle tines during the morning and/or evening
avoiding the heat of the day (12:00-3:00 PM).

If 1 and/or
2 are non-ideal, consider a shallow depth of venting (3 to 4 inches/75 to 100
mm) to reduce damage to root system and therefore lessen “drought” stress
caused by venting. Remember, damage to the root system from
venting/aeration/cultivation does happen; be prepared for it.

If depth of
aeration is not reduced and it is dry and/or hot, lightly irrigate (up to
0.1-inch/2.5-mm) immediately after needle tine aeration to reduce any drought
stress resulting from root pruning caused by needle tine aeration.

Roll after
needle aeration and light irrigation, if performed, to regain smoothness of the
putting surfaces.

Perform
nighttime irrigation (50 to 80% ET) after needle tine aeration and be prepared
to manage any sooner than normal expression of drought stress in putting greens
over the next few days. Any strong drought stress symptoms are likely to occur
in localized areas rather than the entire putting surface.

Best wishes
for a great finish to the season!