Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Organic Matter in Greens

Every few years we take samples of the top 4" of greens #5, #10 and #14 and send them to a laboratory for analysis of their physical properties. Examples of items measured are Infiltration Rate, Air Porosity, Water Porosity, Bulk Density, Water Holding and Organic Matter. Plus particle size distribution and textural analysis. The results let us take a look at how well our cultural practices are doing which includes aerification, topdressing and verticutting. It's our goal to use as much quantitative analysis as possible to determine when and how to do what some may consider invasive practices to the putting surface. Of course the art of knowing when and how to do these practices using the quantitative date is just as important.

Overall the physical analysis of these samples is very good. But, the organic matter in the top 2 inches is higher than we would like and for the most part is increasing each year. What this mean is there is greater water holding capacity at the surface meaning less water, nutrients and air getting deeper into the rootzone. For the golfer, it equates to less firm conditions. 

Topdressing, deep verticutting and aerification are three practices used to remove this organic matter. Applying sand to the green's surface helps to disperse the organic matter. Deep verticutting, not what we do but generally with a machine called a Graden (Graden Verticutter) is extremely useful in physically removing organic matter. Core aerification where the organic matter is physically removed (as we do twice a year) is also very effective in achieving results.

While these practices may seem to negatively affect the putting surface, they are much needed for the overall health and playability of these surfaces.

No comments:

Post a Comment