The term cultural practices refers to any practice or task that will benefit the turf. Examples of this are aeration, dethatching, and sand topdressing. There are different reasons for each practice. The practice itself or frequency of the practice may also change depending on what you are trying to achieve. For example we recently aerated the greens at both the Valley and East course with solid spikes. The intent was to "open up" the turf canopy to improve water penetration and improve air exchange. Remember oxygen is as important as water for optimum growing conditions. This spiking or venting of the greens can be done with minimal disruption to the greens. Most golfers would not even realize the practice was done.
Another very important cultural practice for golf course greens is dethatching or verticutting. Healthy greens tend to get "heavy" meaning there is a lot of grass which needs to be thinned out. A thatch layer could build up causing the greens to become spongy. Too much thatch is will cause many problems and will definitely result in slow greens. We use a mower with vertical blades which cut into the turf canopy removing excess grass. The need and frequency of verticutting will depend on how much grass you want to remove. This practice is also good for your home lawn. Be careful! Too aggressive verticutting at the wrong time of year will definitely damage your turf.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Until next time...