Greens Renovation

It is important for Greenkeepers to carry out an annual greens renovation at the correct time of the year. This is currently recommended to occur between October and December.

It is advisable to study the local rainfall patterns, as once leveling has been carried out a sudden heavy downpour could wash away the loose top dressing on the surface, causing indentations.

If the greens are subject to strong winds (particularly during the night) consideration should be given to the timing of the application of the top dressing. It may be worthwhile delaying the application until the grass has started to grow after scarification to ensure that it is not blown about resulting in damage to the green levels. This will allow the new growth to hold the top dressing in place.

Banks and ditches may have to be corrected before spring treatment is carried out. Bare and weak areas must be rectified in advance to enable the rectified areas to bind into the soil to prevent the level rails from removing the turf.

The following steps are a guideline as to how spring treatment should be carried out.
Assess what is to be done on greens and surrounds by completing the Evaluation Sheet.

June / July

  • Stop fertilizing.
  • Record levels.(Every Two Meters)
  • Work out the anticipated cost like to be incurring in the forthcoming season.

Discuss with Committee

  • Costs
  • Closing and Opening times.

Place Order

  • Top dressing for the greens and banks. Before application it is recommended that it is sieved and sterilized as necessary,
Top Dressing
Compatibility is a critical factor when selecting a top dressing. The topdressing must be compatible with the root zone it is being applied to; therefore any decision regarding the selection of topdressing must first consider the root zone.


  • Soil sample. (At least six samples per green)
  • Kill all foreign grass.
  • Replant areas where necessary.

August / September

  • Check results of Soil sample.
  • LIME if necessary.

October / December

  • De-thatch (Scarification). Prior to the use of a scarifier, one must check the root system is not too shallow and can be damaged by the blades penetrating the surface.
Pin Scarifier
  • Remove a minimum of 60 – 80 bags)
  • Aerate. To do this check depth of Compaction. If it is up to 50mm from surface, Hollowtine. If it is more than 50 mm from the surface then Verti-drain

Hollow Tining

Shown in the diagram above is the hollow tining machine (Merado). It effectively punched holes into the grass surface up to 50 mm deep and deposits the removed core on the surface. See diagram below.

If aeration is the primary aim of the hollow tining exercise then you can sweep the cores back into the holes created by the process. If however soil correction is part of the aim, fill the holes with an 80% – 20% sand compost mixture. Do not use topsoil in this mixture.

Verti Draining

Verti draining is not normally a process that is undertaken by the club Greenkeeper. Specialist machinery is required, and sufficient access is needed to bring these machines onto the greens.


Once the scarification and aeration processes have been completed, fertilization needs to take place.

Depending on the condition of the soil, the normal quantities to apply per green are 50 kg of 5 : 1 : 5 or 30 kg of 10 : 1: 5.

The fertilizer must be spread evenly and can be applied in a number of ways:

  • By hand.
  • By a mechanical spreader.
  • By dissolving and spraying onto the green.

After application of the fertilizer, the green should be thoroughly soaked to root level.

Top Dressing

The final process in the greens renovation process is to top dress and correct the levels. If the levels are poor it is possible to use the services of specialist companies who can use a laser levelling process. This is a relatively expensive option and for smaller clubs out of their financial reach.

Using the Cubit greens level report, top dressing can be added to level the green. It should be remembered that no more than 8 mm of top dressing should be applied at any one time and a green that requires more than this should be tackled in stages.

Top dressing can be applied in a number of ways (see diagrams below).

Using a T Bar
Using a Screed Rail
Using Levelling Rails