Friday, March 29, 2013

Dryject Aerification Demo

Every year aerification is scheduled for early spring in order to get this process out of the way before the golf season is in full swing.  However, one of the drawbacks to aerifying this time of year is that the greens aren't growing quickly and the holes take longer to heal.  This shouldn't come as a shock to people--after all, how many times has your lawn been cut in March?  And with temperatures well below average for most of this month, patience will be needed as the greens recover.

Aerification can have a couple of different goals.  When we use solid tines in the spring, no material is removed from the green, so we are focusing on diluting the organic matter by creating channels of sand.  The solid tines are great at creating a smooth hole that readily accepts a large quantity of sand.  Typically we will apply over 80 tons of sand to the greens in the spring.

We are always looking to improve our management of the course, in order to provide quality conditions in the long run, with a minimal amount of disruption.  One potential improvement for us may be the use of the Dryject aerification system.  Like our solid tining, the Dryject machine does not pull a core, but incorporates a large volume of sand into the soil profile.  The key difference with the Dryject is that there is little surface disturbance.
The Dryject machine in action.

This Wednesday we had the local Dryject contractor use this system on the back of #9 green (which we had not aerified with the solid tines).  The Dryject uses our irrigation water with a high pressure pump to blast a small hole at the surface which then vacuums sand into it.  In a few trial areas, green sand was injected into the ground, and it's truly amazing how much sand is pulled below, with such a small hole on the surface.

This profile sample shows how much sand is injected below the surface.
If you have the opportunity, putt a few balls on this area of #9 over the next couple of weeks, and let us know what you think.  The difference in healing time and putting quality will help in determining if we should use the Dryject process on all of the greens next spring.
Conventional solid tine holes in the foreground, and Dryject area in background.

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