Stow Acres Turf

Golf Course Maintenance News & Live Updates from @stowacresturf

A Necessary Evil… (Not aeration)


Last week, you saw a process get done to the putting greens that was done this time last year. In simple terms, we dethatched the greens. Although the concept is similar to aeration in the spring time, it certainly doesn’t take the place of it. In fact, it removes more surface material than a traditional aerator would. It allows for each putting green to be treated with sand and it gives the sand a little slit to nestle into. The machine is called a Rotadairon. A very detailed explanation can be seen here on their website. The service was provided by Mike Parks from Hillcrest Turf Services ( located right here in Massachusetts. The purpose of running this machine over all 39 greens is to remove the “thatch” layer that builds up over the duration of multiple golf seasons. Although we aerate the greens every year, that machine only pokes holes and removes material 2″ on center (process can be read about here). Sand is then applied to fill the holes in. However, the Rotadairon cuts into the surface approximately 0.5″ – 0.75″ over a 53″ width. It collects and removes all of the thatch material allowing for immediate air exchange to the roots and improved surface drainage. During the process last week, we mowed the greens, ran the Rotadairon, mowed the greens again to remove the very little debris left behind, blew off the collars, rolled the green, topdressed, fertilized, and watered-in. The topdressing sand is a 1mm sand. This is used because it has a much larger pore space than thatch or traditional soil. The sand will allow for the bent-grass plants to continue to creep and become more dense. This week, we are topdressing again and fertilizing again with a slightly different material. Overall, the achieved result is a firmer, faster, healthier putting green. With the right weather, the greens will be near perfect again by the weekend. Apologies for the short inconvenience. Below, are a few pictures and videos of the machine in action! See you on the course!

The attachment is a PTO driven attachment with over 100 blades!

The attachment is a PTO driven attachment with over 100 blades!

An underneath view of the machine.

An underneath view of the machine.

An up close  look at the green surface after the Rotadairon has passed.

An up close look at the green surface after the Rotadairon has passed.

Clip from 1 North green

Clip from 1 North green

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent


Author: Jason VanBuskirk

I am the past Golf Course Superintendent at Stow Acres Country Club located in Stow, MA. I graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2006 with a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Horticulture and Turfgrass Management. Before Stow Acres, I did an internship at one of the country's top 100 courses, The Stanwich Club located in Greenwich, CT. I worked as an Assistant Superintendent at Oakley Country Club located in Watertown, MA and Stow Acres Country Club South Course before becoming the Superintendent at Stow Acres CC. I am married to my soul mate and we have two incredible kids! My course counterpart, Kingston, loves riding shotgun in the cart. In my downtime, I enjoy working out, coaching hockey, and playing with our kids. Hope you enjoy the blog!

2 thoughts on “A Necessary Evil… (Not aeration)

  1. This is very cool. So much goes into maintaining a golf course. Amateur golfers like myself don’t really appreciate the little stuff like this. Will continue following. Checkout if you have the time. cheers!

  2. Jason, played this weekend. People have to realize that many courses in the area have damaged greens. Not yours…De-thatching is a necessary evil….. you need to do it now , like you did, so that good growth can occur in the summer, your greens ALWAYS roll great! Noticed much less Poa too. Great job.
    Wayne Lamoureux ( one of the Maynard Sunday Morning guys)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s