Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Topdressing Greens

Today marks the first of our bi-weekly greens topdressing program that takes place throughout the growing season. Topdressing is the application of a light layer of sand to the putting greens surface.
There are many benefits associated with topdressing and they are as follows:

Smoothing of The Putting Surface
The light layer of sand fills any low lying imperfections on the green surface such as footprints, sod seams and ball marks.

Controlling Thatch
When the sand is blended with organic materials such as peat or compost microbial activity becomes enhanced creating an environment suitable for thatch digestion. The microbial populations will feed on the thatch layer and help reduce it over time, when frequent applications are made. Ideally the timing of the topdressing applications should match the thatch production of the plant, so that a homogenous blend of thatch and sand in produced.

Soil Modification
Frequent sand topdressing over time will build up a layer that allows water movement away from the surface creating a firmer playing surface. Combining topdressing along with aerification is an even better option for soil modification, by creating sand filled conduits for more rapid water movement into the soil profile.

Winter Protection
Heavier applications of topdressing materials to critical playing surfaces prior to winter will help serve as a protective layer. For me this is the preferred method of winter protection rather than using turf covers, which tend to be problematic. The sand application needs to be heavy enough to cover the crown of the plant, but not so to thick that it will smother the grass.

Green Speed Management
Topdressing is one of the most important tools that can be used to help achieve faster more consistent putting surfaces. As mentioned before the sand helps smooth the surface, which intern allows for a smoother ball roll creating a faster green speed. Additionally the sand application to the green surface raises the ball in the turf canopy and by doing so reduces the friction that takes place with the ball and putting surface. The end result is a truer surface which leads to an increase in green speed.

Appling The Sand To The Green

Dragging in The Sand
Mowing off Excess Sand