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In previous articles, we've talked about what green aerification is, why it's done, and its advantages and disadvantages. Starting from this post, we'll delve into the different options available and how the various types of green aerification are carried out.

Traditionally, green aerification is done twice a year using hollow tines, employing different diameters, with one of the most common being half an inch.

This type of aerification is usually done just before significant temperature and/or weather changes. In Spain, it's common after summer and winter, while in tropical areas, it's typical to focus on doing it before the rainy season and once the rainy season is over.


But in recent years, due to the technical possibility of using much finer tines, we have the option to opt for what we call micro-aerification, which involves aeration using small-diameter hollow tines. However, with this "micro" aerification, multiple aerations with small hollow tines need to be performed to achieve a similar effect.

We can basically distinguish between two types of tines: solid and hollow. Depending on our objectives (or the golf course's capabilities), we plan a program where we "play" with different variables to consider, such as the type of tine, tine diameter, tine length, and the frequency of aerification.

Aeration with solid or solid-core tines:

pinchos solidos aireacion

 Solid tines 18x250 mm 

The first question to ask ourselves would be whether aeration with solid tines is a viable option, and the answer, as almost always, is "it depends." The solution to managing organic matter content is its dilution. If a sufficient amount of sand can be added with topdressing and used to fill the aeration holes made with solid tines, programs with solid tines could be a viable option (Gross, 2019). However, there are several factors to consider, including soil conditions.

In principle, we would all desire this type of program because aeration is less disruptive and requires less work than aeration with hollow tines. However, since aeration with solid tines doesn't remove any material from the soil profile, it won't yield desirable results in golf courses that don't regularly apply topdressing or need to address soil issues such as high organic matter content or stratification.

pinchado aireado golf

 A normal green compared to one that has undergone solid tine aerification.

pinchos golf

 Solid tines 19x140x8mm 

Therefore, these programs would be more suitable for sand-based green profiles without stratification issues. Moreover, with this type of program, it's crucial for sand topdressing to be applied frequently to dilute organic matter as it accumulates near the surface. Golf courses adopting this program typically topdress with sand every week during the growing season and implement a minimalist nitrogen fertility program to curb excessive growth and reduce the organic matter production rate.

The image above shows a green aerated with solid tines and without sand, serving to "ventilate" the green. However, if the decision is made to apply sand, there's a noteworthy operational variation with this type of aerification. It has been demonstrated that applying the sand to the green before solid tine aerification yields better results, minimizing the "stress" on the green. This is because if the sand is dry, it requires less brushing than if the sand is applied afterward. Less brushing equals less stress on the turf. Additionally, it avoids introducing a heavy machine filled with sand onto a freshly aerated surface, preventing wheel marks on the green's surface, which would otherwise hinder subsequent sand brushing.

top dressing golf - green garden corp.

 Application of sand (Topdressing) before carrying out solid tine aerification. 

Looking forward to the next post where we'll delve into the dreaded hollow tine aerification!

Author: Antonio Márquez (Superintendent and Director of Green Garden Corp. Panamá).

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