Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DryJect--Sand Injection Aerification

Just like a mechanic can not overhaul an engine with just a 9/16" wrench, a golf course superintendent has to have several "tools" in his tool chest to maintain a golf course to high standards.  As many of you know the course was closed last week for two days so we could aerify the greens.  Well this year we broke out one of those different tools in our arsenal and were VERY pleased with the results.

The process is knows as DryJect.  The DryJect process, as you can see in the video, uses high pressure water to inject sand into the greens.  This process eliminates the mechanical removal of material from the greens which is the main cause for bumpy greens following aerification. In the video you can see the sand being delivered through the tubes into the injection chamber and then being injected into the green.

Close to 20 tons of dried bagged AS45 sand were injected into the greens during the process.  Our staff did a fantastic job keeping the hoppers full of sand and dealing with the heat and the popup rainstorms that slowed us down a bit.  Being able to inject this much sand at one time is incredible.  If we were to try and apply that much sand on top of our greens and drag it into aerification holes we would have had to place a layer of sand close to 3/16" deep on the green.  That would have been almost impossible to get drug into the holes and everyone would have been upset.

This is a photo of one of the injection points that I lucked up and got down the side of a cup as we reset the holes for play. There are better pictures of DryJect applications online if you are interested.  What this shows me is that we definitely achieved the goal we were shooting for which was to get below, or through, the traditional 4" aerification layer that we typically get during aerification.  If you look about half way down the cup you will see a dark layer and then it changes to a light brown.  The dark layer is where our traditional core aerification stops at, which in turn is where water and oxygen infiltration stops at, and where our roots stop at.  The light brown layer is where we want our roots to be but they can not get there due to the hardpan layer formed at the bottom of the coring stroke.  The DryJect application blasted a 1/2" column of sand through this layer and into the green between 6-8" inches deep.  Better oxygen and water infiltration will result in better roots and in turn better putting surfaces.

Here is a photo of a green following the DryJect process after it had been drug with our carpet drag.  The holes are 3" x 3" apart and the disruption to the putting surface is about the size of a 3/8" coring tine.

This is a photo of the same green after an application of our dyed greens topdressing sand and a drag.  Not pulling a core reduces the disruption to the putting surface and the use of the green sand helps to mask most of the evidence of the process being done.

One of the added benefits of using the DryJect process is the ability to inject helpful amendments into the soil that otherwise would be almost impossible to incorporate into an existing green.  On a couple of holes we injected Profile Porous Ceramic which will aid in firmness and water movement in the green.  We also injected Harrell's Divot Recovery Mix which has MaXand, EarthMAX, and Milorganite into one green to test how it would aid the green in recovery and overall health.  The options for this process are almost limitless and the return on investment, almost priceless.

I have to give a special thanks to Chad Gamble of DryJect of Tennessee, and his assistant Patrick, for providing this service for us.  Was it worth it financially?  The greens were injected on Wednesday and Thursday.  We did over 400 rounds Friday-Sunday with zero discounts and zero serious complaints (always have that one person, you know).  I had some of my biggest critics come up and tell me how nice the greens looked and how well they were rolling.  Time will definitely tell but as for now I feel it is worth every penny spent.

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