Verticutting 2017Why do we verticut?
Verticutting is critical to maintain and promote healthy putting surfaces. The greens at Haymaker are Pencross Bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera). Pencross Bentgrass was chosen for the Haymaker golf course because of its hardiness in the Rocky Mountain climate and its vigorous growth during the short summers in the Yampa Valley. Here is a short blurb on the development of Penncross. “In the 1930’s, bluegrass was the turf of choice for fairways, with Seaside and vegetative bents found on the greens. Summer heat and other stresses left them vulnerable to weeds, Poa annua and disease invasion. An aggressive bentgrass was needed to compete on golf courses. Professor Burt Musser took on the challenge by gathering bentgrass strains from several locations, and established a research and development program that integrated seedling vigor, seed yield, various soil types, aggressiveness, disease resistance, low mowing properties and overall appearance and color. After years of research, the finished product was named Penncross.”
Because of its vigorous lateral growth, verticutting is performed to ‘clip’ stolons and promote a more vertical growth pattern. Bentgrass has a tendency to lie over and develop a small amount of grain from its natural growth habit but also from the maintenance practices it receives like mowing and rolling. When the verticutter is used it will stand the leaf up allowing the mowers to get a clean clip producing a smooth putting surface.
Verticutting also opens up small grooves in the putting surface to allow a light topdress to work its way into the canopy. This light topdress is important because it reduces the potential for thatch accumulation and also promotes a firm but receptive putting surface. Topdressing also protects the crown of the plant while mowing at short heights.
And finally, verticutting removes a small amount of the leaf tissue from the greens. Bentgrass has a tendency to become overcrowded and spongy if it’s allowed to grow without management. From the maintenance side this can cause greens mowers to scalp the surface. For the golfer this would slow the speed of putts and takeaway from the creativity you can play on some approach shots.
As always thank you for your patience and understanding!
The verticutting process:
1. Verticutter blades are mounted on a Toro 3100 triplex and ran across the greens in two passes that overlap each other at 45 degree angles
The bottom half of the photo shows the verticutting grooves
The leaf material removed from the green
2. Excess debris/leaf material is blown off of the green
3. A greens mower is used to get a clean clip on the now vertical leaf blades
4. The topdressing is applied lightly
5. The topdressing is brushed into the green
6. A vibratory roller is used to work the sand into the canopy while also removing some of the surface irregularities that are caused during the process
7. The finished product