The annual roar or core cultivation equipment is well underway, albeit often later these days than just 5-6 years ago. This will be an especially busy year cultivation-wise as there was widespread turf loss from the "days of hell" across the country this summer. The mantra of "what you do now benefits you next season" is what drives this activity.
I contend that when we adapt IN-SEASON with regular "venting" for gas exchange (poke), brushing to alter canopy structure (brush), and light topdressing (dusting) to maintain the distance between the mower and crown we will have less failure.
There is no question of the value of ALL of these practices. We often balance how to maximize the benefit and minimize the stress the practice creates. If you think that through and believe that when you hollow tine core (Core), vertical mow (slice), and topdress heavily (dump) you benefit the turf then why not keep it up during the season?
We have devised a number of core cultivation and venting strategies in the last 5 years. The same can be said for vertical mowing devices and for topdressing lightly. However, performing them as close to the "days of hell" is viewed as risky, and it is, unless we devise strategies for brushing and dusting that reduce the stress and problems of sand and metal.Of course dried siloed sand has helped dramatically, but can be pricey.
Brushing is the one practice that I feel when we study it properly will be the revolution that rolling has become in last two decades. The concept of transforming a mostly horizontal arrangement of leaves to a fully vertical arrangement will allow for better sand integration as well as many other benefits. But it must be done without the downside of abrasion and wounding that often occurs with grooming (vertical mowing).
I cannot argue with the success of the Fall-based cultivation program nor the vertical mowing and heavy topdressing. But I also want us to have the benefits of these types of efforts when we need them during the "days of hell". Plan now for the deft touch of poking, brushing and dusting for 2014.