Use the Air2G2 324 to
Oxygenate The Root Zone
To Timothy Strano, CPAg, a Donald Ross golf course is hallowed ground. In 2009 when Strano was considered for a golf course superintendent position at the Donald Ross-designed Brae Burn Country Club in West Newton, Massachusetts, the Green Committee who interviewed him raised the idea of completely renovating the greens.
“I said that if you are going to rebuild the greens, I will withdraw from this search. I am not interested in taking over the greens if you want to rebuild them,” Strano says. “There is just too much character and gorgeous topography you don’t want to mess with.”
Brae Burn’s initial nine holes were built in 1897, but were later redesigned as an 18-hole course in 1912 by Ross, famed golf course architect who later came back in 1927 to redesign the course for the 1928 U.S. Amateur. Strano is no stranger to the management of older golf courses. Strano worked on two other pre-1900 golf courses and his experience made him adamant about preserving the Ross legacy at Brae Burn. This paired with his 23 years as a superintendent and a degree in plant and soil science from University of Massachusetts, made him the perfect candidate for revitalizing the greens without stripping them of their history.
When Strano inherited the Brae Burn greens they needed time, patience and solid agronomy to get healthy again. In his original management practices, Strano implemented an aggressive soil modification and core aerification program. In November, Strano performed a deep tine aerification accompanied by a drill and fill on the greens and an aggressive traditional core aerification in May, August, and September.
Strano’s program yielded some results and the greens began to improve, but the roots still weren’t getting the oxygen they needed. Ideally, the ratio of water to oxygen in the soil should be 1-to-1, Strano says, but when tested in July 2013, the Brae Burn soil fell closer to a 4-to-1 ratio, 38 percent water and 9 percent air. “The amount of air in the soil wasn’t enough to support healthy respiration,” Strano says.
When Strano was pitched to try the Air2G2 324, he was told it would improve drainage on his greens—but he found it helped with much more. The Air2G2 324 relieves Compaction, increases Porosity and enhances Respiration by laterally injecting air into the soil profile. The Air2G2 324 fractures hardpan layers to enable airflow and increase drainage with minimal surface disruption and without damaging the roots below.
With the first use of the Air2G2 324, the soil balanced out to the ideal 1-to-1 ratio. In just one day.
“After one application the Air2G2 was able to accomplish what has taken aerification years to get to,” Strano says. “It’s pretty amazing.”
The results he saw impressed him so much he sent in soil samples to a third party to confirm it. The results from the International Sports Turf Research Center (ISTRC) showed the soil improved from the disproportionate 4-to-1 ratio to the balanced 1-to-1.
“It kicked up the oxygen content in my soil tremendously. I’ve got ISTRC reports that back this up,” Strano says. “As a superintendent with more than 20 years of experience at that
time, it was reassuring to have a Green Committee and Board of Directors who were willing to embrace and support an aggressive program to retain the original greens as well as being forward thinking enough to invest in the Air2G2 technology.”
Immediately following the first test, Strano bought an Air2G2 324 for use at Brae Burn. A year later, he bought a second machine, and keeps them both running regularly. The results are his greens are stronger, healthier and more resistant to stress. Before using the Air2G2 324, the grass was susceptible to soil compaction, stubborn anthracnose disease and his bentgrass wilted easily on hot days.
“We don’t struggle with the greens like we did,” Strano says. “We just finished up a three day stretch of 95 degrees, didn’t have the hoses out.”
And, Strano hasn’t seen anthracnose in two years.
“This machine is a game changer,” Strano says. “The game changer part of this is oxygenating the root zone.