Thursday, 20 March 2014

Aeration Recovery and Nitrogen

Aeration season is coming up and I just wanted to mention a few thoughts I have on the subject.

I can't speak for everyone but it seems that it is common practice to apply a rather heavy nitrogen app just prior to aeration to speed the recovery. This makes sense as we are often forced to aerate when the temperatures and growth potential are not ideal for recovery but ideal to minimize the disruption to golfers. The pressure the golfers put on us to have perfect playing conditions immediately after aeration force us to do whatever it takes to get the greens back into shape.

One of the things that I have talked a lot about on this blog is growth potential and nitrogen fertility and how growth rates are influenced more by temperature than by how much nitrogen we apply. Of course the amount of nitrogen applied has some impact on growth but if the temperatures aren't there it will do little.
4 days post aeration, no additional nitrogen
applications made. 12mm holloww tine.
For the past 3 years I have stopped applying excess nitrogen fertilizer prior to aeration simply because it really made no real difference to recovery times. It seemed counter intuitive to apply excess nitrogen leading to excess growth and thatch buildup when the whole point of core aeration was to remove thatch.

9 days post aeration, greens putt and almost look,
like normal. No additional N
In the above pictures the week prior 0.07kg N/100m2 was applied. A week after aeration 0.05kg N was applied and the next week 0.04kg N. This was the constant growth potential feed.

Here's a thought, this year during your spring core aeration put down some check plots when you apply your nitrogen boost. See what the difference to recover really is when no excess nitrogen is applied. You might be surprised to see no difference, less disease and save a few bucks while you're at it.