Common fertilizers consist of a blend of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are used by turf for a deep healthy root system, good top growth and a high recuperative potential. It is used in both granular and liquid form depending on such factors as variety of turf, target area, season, foot traffic, soil temperature and air temperature.
A bentgrass plant, the turf found on most golf greens, propagates through above ground runners, called stolons. Verti-cutting slices these stolons with a series of vertical spinning blades, which stands the plant up, as well as stimulating new plant growth, which in turn greatly increases turf density. Dense turf helps increase green speeds and aids in the quick recovery of ball marks. This program is often scheduled with, or around fertilizer applications, which aids in recovery.
Mowing is the most common cultural practice, but is by no means unimportant. Mowing heights play a large role in determining root depths for turf grass. As mowing heights decrease for increased green speeds, plant root depths decrease. With decreased root depths, heat stress and severe wilt become a serious issue during the hot summer months.
Top-dressing greens is the uniform broadcasting of sand on the putting surface. This process helps to create a smoother and faster ball roll. This process is also instrumental in controlling the thatch layer. Thatch is the dead and decaying plant material between the putting surface, and the medium. Ideal thatch levels allow greens to roll very true and offer great ball mark and foot traffic protection. Excessive thatch levels create uneven water infiltration rates and provide a perfect environment for disease pathogens to overwinter.
Aeration is a process during which a hollow metal tube, called a tine, is inserted into the ground and, when pulled out, produces a round plug, called a core. This process is mainly done to reduce thatch levels and relieve soil compaction caused by foot or vehicle traffic. This process has other benefits, such as allowing for uniform water infiltration by breaking through any layers in the sand profile created by incompatible sand particle sizes.