Stow Acres Turf

Golf Course Maintenance News & Live Updates from @stowacresturf

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Greens Aeration Complete!

Yesterday afternoon was the completion of Fall greens aeration here at Stow Acres. Although very relieved to have the process over with, it marks the start of an exciting Fall. Getting greens punched this early in the season will allow us to carry out more improvements on the facility than usual. As a reminder, the North greens were aerated last week on Monday (August 26) and Tuesday (August 27). They are healed in and getting double cut today. South greens and both practice greens were aerated Wednesday (September 4) and Thursday (September 5). I know some are questioning why we don’t aerate only one practice green at a time. The answer is quite simple in that both practice greens operate off of the South course irrigation. It is much easier to control them together with the same watering program than to split them up. With this current weather pattern, we are sure to have the South greens healed within a week. Thanks for your patience. I know I’ve posted this multiple times, but the procedure doesn’t really change. Click here for an in-depth look at the process. Featured below are some pictures from this Fall’s aeration. See you on the course!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent

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A look into the greatness of Cascade…

It was only a few posts ago (Treating the soil) that I explained about treating the soil with “rinse-in” sprays. These sprays are the backbone of our program throughout the year just like the soil is the backbone of the playing surfaces. Without strong , healthy soils, the plants up top don’t do very well. This summer has been quite the test, but with the help of some fantastic products, we’ve been able to deliver nutrients and water to the roots in a quicker and more stable route. Thanks to GCSAAtv for filming this short segment and especially thanks to Precision Laboratories for manufacturing products that we could not live without!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent


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Treating the soil…

This morning, you may have seen the greens being sprayed and then immediately getting watered. This is an effort to treat the soil with a few different products. By watering the greens right after the spray, not only does it hydrate the plant, but helps move the necessary bio-stimulants, soil nutrients, and wetting agents down to the roots and into the soil profile. We try to stick to a schedule of once a month with the same spray ingredients, plus or minus some soil nutrients. This whole process allows the roots to be fed during the summer heat stress and it allows water to move off the surface and into the root zone. A phrase taken from a wise mentor, “Standing water heats, moving water cools.” This helps summarize the reason for today’s spray, even when the high will be in the low 90s. Stay cool and hydrated, I know my greens certainly will be!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent


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Merion gets ready…

As Merion Golf Club’s superintendent Matt Shaffer gets ready for the U.S. Open, he takes a minute to show GolfTalkCentral his amazing shop and operation. Good luck to him and his team this week!

Merion Golf Club’s maintenance facility

Also featured is a bit of history between Penn State Turf and Merion Golf Club. This was created by‘s founder, Bill Brown.

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent

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Getting ready for summer…

This warm weather stretch over the next few days is certainly going to make it feel like summer. This spring, the staff has been diligently preparing the turf for the summer heat with the varying cultural practices and products applied to the turf on what has seemed like a daily basis. Our latest process, de-thatching, provides immediate surface drainage. This, combined with a rinse-in spray yesterday will help stabilize the moisture in the soil allowing distribution evenly to the entire root zone. Although April and most of May were dry, nature definitely caught up and provided us adequate precipitation over the last two weeks.  We had only 30% of the average rainfall two weeks into May,. By looking at this chart, you can quickly see that we are right on pace for average. May 2013 weather

Rain is great for the course in the spring months, but it can certainly play an effect on ball roll. There are many factors one must consider when talking about green speed.  Factors such as type of soil, soil moisture content, weather, morning dew, time of year, fertility, height of cut, grass variety, amount of topdressing, and rolling the green can all contribute to how far the ball will roll.  However, the biggest factor that is sometimes uncontrollable is the weather.  Unpredicted rain events can sometimes make managing the soil moisture content very difficult.  To fight against these weather events, research and science has provided the turf industry with products such as wetting agents.  Wetting agents have multiple purposes, but the most important role is drawing the water down in the soil profile, firming the surface, and providing a re-wetting factor for the soil and turf.  For more information on the wetting agent products please watch this short clip:

From approximately Memorial Day to Labor Day, we try to maintain the green speed at a very consistent level; only changing consistency to make the greens faster for major events.  There a few ways to increase speed, but the most important factor is making sure your turf can handle this change.  Root stability, overall plant health, and the right amount of moisture everyday will help allow for the turf to be tweaked during the time of an event.

Thank you for your patience as we slowly climb out cultural practice season. The turf will soon regain its near flawless playability. See you on the course!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent

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TPC Sawgrass tournament setup…

Below, you will see two videos that capture behind the scenes maintenance at TPC Sawgrass. The videos are great insight to what it really takes to set up and maintain at a true championship level! Hats off to the maintenance team and volunteers! Best of luck this weekend!

What you will quickly recognize is the amount of people, commitment, and equipment that is involved to get ready for such an event. It really is brilliant and captivating. I’m sure if you’re in the turf industry, you feel inspired the same way I do.

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent


Early morning tee times…

“Frost delay” is a term that can be very common on a golf course in the spring months.  These delays can sometimes be brief, but can also last as long as 2 hours depending on how quick and warm the atmosphere gets. Frost is something that can be very damaging to grass especially when it is driven on or it sees a lot of traffic. Frost forms even when temperatures are not necessarily at 32F.  If the sky is clear at night or early in the morning, a process called radiation cooling takes place.  This is when the earth loses heat and moisture trying to balance the earth’s energy.  Through evapotranspiration, the plant also loses moisture to the atmosphere.  If the temperature is cool enough, the cells inside the plant tissue start to freeze.  If the plant is walked or driven on, the cells can burst and potentially kill the plant.  This is why black or orange tracks are typically seen going across a fairway, tee, or even sometimes, a green.  If you are using a pull cart during a frost delay, please be mindful as to where you travel on the course. Thanks to the GCSAA for this published article.  Please click on the link for more information, GCSAA Frost Delay Announcement.


I understand that frost delays can be very frustrating, especially if you typically play early in the morning.  However, I ask for your patience and cooperation during these delays. It is definitely for the health and playability of the turf. We aggressively monitor the conditions and allow carts and traffic to resume on the turf as quickly as possible. Thanks for your understanding! See you on the course!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent

frost damage

This is a perfect picture of what simple foot traffic and a pull cart can do to grass during a frost. These tracks will be seen for 2-3 weeks depending on how aggressively the grass is growing.