Here is a Youtube video from our consultant, Dr. Larry Stowell that does a fantastic job of explaining aerification.
Pace Turf Video
Aerification is one of the most important cultural practices that we do during the year. Spring is the perfect time to punch open the turf on the golf course to give them a nice breath of fresh air. It sets the tone for the season by reducing compaction, allows for the release of carbon dioxide and the infusion of oxygen, control thatch buildup and allow for better water penetration.
The illustration above is a good representation of what we are trying to accomplish when we aerate the golf course.
Compaction is one of our worst enemies and occurs throughout the season. It is caused by foot traffic, mowers, power golf carts and even golf balls striking the putting surface. Compaction makes it difficult for roots to grow deeper and denser. If we can promote a strong healthy root system we will have a grass plant that is better able to withstand the heat of summer because the plant is able to reach moisture deeper in the soil profile. Compaction also makes it more difficult for irrigation water to percolate into the soil to be available to the plants roots. When we aerify the greens we remove the plugs and fill the holes with sand. Sand is an excellent medium for roots to grow in and for water to move through, so we make extra efforts to ensure the holes are well filled.
Thatch control is also a primary reason for aerification. Thatch is the layer of dead and rotting organic matter that is just under the plant canopy. On the greens we want to keep the thatch layer to a absolute minimum. Too much thatch makes the greens bumpy, spongy and soft which are conditions that are not desirable for a smooth and fast putt.
Culturally, thatch is our enemy because it can prevent water, fertilizers and chemicals from making it to the plant roots where they can be used.
As you can see, I have mentioned roots a few times. They are the key to healthy plants, so we go to great lengths to promote strong and vigorous root growth.
Here is a short video of the greens aerator working on #3
I hope that this has been helpful in explaining why we need to aerify the golf course.
The golf course maintenance crew works very hard to get the job done in as short of time as possible and to speed the recovery of the greens so that you can play on great putting surfaces.