The following are definitions of various cultural practices that will be used throughout the season.
Aerification is an invasive process in which compaction is mechanically relieved by way of a solid tyne that removes no material from the turf and/or soil profile or by using a hollow tyne which will remove material. This procedure may be adjusted to penetrate to various depths in order to accomplish different results. Hollow tyne core aerification may be performed with shallow penetration which will only remove a portion of the thatch layer or deeper in order to allow soil ammendments to be added. Major benefits of aerification will be the ability of air, water, fertilizers, pesticides and ammendments to penetrate to the root zone.
Top-dressing is typically, but not limited to, the addition of a sand layer to the turf surface in order to smooth out the playing surface and aid in the breakdown of the thatch layer. Top-dressing may also be performed in order to “amend” a soil profile or refill the holes left by aeration.
Verti-cutting is performed using specially designed reels that cut or slice turf in a vertical motion. This
procedure aids in the removal of the thatch layer on greens tees and fairways. Verti-cutting will also aid in the reduction of “grain” on a putting green. Grain is the tendency for turf to grow laying in one direction which will affect ball roll.
Fertilizers are compounds given to plants to promote growth; they are usually applied either via the soil, for uptake by plant roots, or by foliar feeding, for uptake through leaves. Fertilizers can by organic (composed of organic matter), or inorganic (made of simple, inorganic chemicals or minerals). They can be naturally occurring compounds such as peat or mineral deposits, or manufactured through natural processes such as composting, or chemical processes.
There are 17 essential nutrient elements for the growth of plants. Fertilizers typically provide, in varying
proportions, the three major plant nutrients (N, nitrogen, P, phosphorous, and K, potassium), the secondary plant nutrients (calcium, sulphur and magnesium), and sometimes trace elements (or micronutrients) with a role in plant nutrition: boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, and molybdenum. These essential elements are divided into subgroups known as macronutrients and micronutrients. These terms have nothing to do with importance to the plant as micronutrients are just as important to the function of the grass plant however the only difference is the amount that is found in the tissue.
Granular fertilizer is the most commonly used fertilizer due to its ease of application. Fertilizer is in a granular form and applied by way of mechanical spreader equipment and is normally watered into soil after application.
Foliar fertilizers are applied to the turf by way of a sprayer. The purpose of this method of fertilizer application is to have the product taken in by the leaf (foliage) of the plant.
Soluble fertilizers (extremely small water soluble granules) are applied with a sprayer and typically watered into the root zone in order to allow nutrients to be taken up by the roots of the plant.