Aerification contributes to healthy turf
The most scrutinized word in the professional turf industry might be aerification. If golfers arrive to the course and see a green full of holes, they immediately assume that their experience for the day is going to be ruined.
Healthy roots need oxygen. In well aerated soil, roots get oxygen from pockets of air between soil particles. During the aerification process, cores of soil and excess thatch are removed, alleviating compaction, and allowing for oxygen and water to bring a resurgence of growth. The holes are then filled with sand via topdressing. Adding the sand helps improve soil aeration, making it more suitable for root growth.
Apply SO4 and 98G during aerification
Aerification is the perfect opportunity to introduce SO4 pelletized gypsum or 98G pelletized limestone in the fertility program. Once the topdressing is complete, the next step is to broadcast the product, then drag or broom in the sand and pellets.
SO4’s high quality, highly soluble form of dihydrate gypsum allows the calcium and sulfur to be plant available quickly promoting plant health after the stress from aerification. Adding calcium helps reduce sodium in the soil profile, which will then leach away with irrigation or rain. Calcium is also important for soil structure, ensuring good aggregate stability and aeration status. Adequate sulfur can improve density and increase drought tolerance and winter hardiness.
Applying 98G during aerification events allows more of the soil to be exposed to the liming application. When applied in a strictly topdress fashion, 98G must work its way down into the soil over time via water and freeze/thaw cycles. Aerification holes present a great opportunity to incorporate 98G deeper into the soil profile to address sub-surface acidification. In general, 98G can be used to help maintain the rootzone in a favorable pH zone to promote nutrient uptake and utilization, favoring healthy turf.
Given the constant traffic stress in most turfgrass situations, overseeding is one of the best practices to promote sustained turf cover. As plants succumb to traffic stress, it’s important to have fresh seed present to germinate and replace worn areas. Overseeding along with your 98G and SO4 applications after aerification is a great way to get the seedlings off to a healthy start – soluble calcium, sulfur and the right pH.