Aeration is an extremely important maintenance practice. Although it results in a temporary disruption of the green, aeration improves water penetration into the soil, reduces soil compaction, stimulates turfgrass root growth for a healthier plant, helps control thatch build-up, and improves overall growing conditions. Aeration generally is done once or twice per year, and sometimes more often if certain problems exist.Think of it like going to the dentist for your twice-yearly check-up. The same holds true for aeration. You can skip a visit to the dentist, but you will contribute to problems over the long term. You can skip one of the semi-annual aerations, but this can result in a faster turf loss. Your superintendent isn’t being overprotective. He is doing exactly what should be done to ensure long-term turf health and a quality putting surface.
UNDERSTANDING FROST DELAYS
How can a footprint be a killer?
When it's a footprint made on a putting surface that's covered with frost. It's hard to believe that simply walking across a golf green covered with frost can cause so much damage, but the proof will be there in a few days as the turfgrass dies and leaves a trail of brown footprints. That's why most courses will delay starting times until the frost has melted. And it's also why golfers who appreciate a quality putting surface will be patient during frost delays.
Why does frost cause problems?
Greens are fragile. The putting surface, or green, is an extremely fragile environment that must be managed carefully and professionally. Remember that every green is a collection of millions of individual grass plants, each of which is a delicate living thing. Obviously, Mother Nature never meant for these plants to be maintained at 3/16 or even 1/8 of an inch for prolonged periods. This stress makes greens constantly vulnerable to attacks from insects, disease, heat, drought, cold -- and frost.Frost is essentially frozen dew. It can form when the temperature (or wind chill) is near or below the freezing point. The ice crystals that form on the outside of the plant can also harden or even freeze the cell structure of the plant. When frosted, the normally resilient plant cells become brittle and are easily crushed. When the cell membranes are damaged, the plant loses its ability to function normally. It's not much different than cracking an egg. Once the shell is broken, you can't put it back together.
The proof is in the prints
Although you won't see any immediate damage if you walk on frosted turf, the proof will emerge within 48 to 72 hours as the leaves die and turn brown. And, since just one foursome can leave several hundred footprints on each green, the damage can be very extensive.The damage isn't just unsightly -- putting quality will also be reduced until repairs are made. Those repairs are expensive and, in some cases, the green may have to be kept out of play for days or weeks until the new turfgrass is established. A short delay while the frost melts can preserve the quality of the greens, prevent needless repairs and may even save you a few strokes the next time you play.