"There are myriad benefits to Verticutting, which has also fueled its popularity. Jeff Buchko, a product manager for Jacobsen, says more university researchers have concluded that verticutting is a cultural practice that's critical to turf care"
St. Augustine grasses
The dominant grass in central and So. Florida is St. Augustine. The excessive top growth, along with the accumulation of thatch creates many problems.
While cleaning & thinning your lawn, Verticutting allows your lawn to breathe again, stimulating root growth. Opening the lawn-up allows air, sun, water, and fertilizer to drive the root system deeper, thru removing the top growth and thatch. This also improves mowing.
All grasses accumulate thatch, see thatch
Before the University of Florida developed St. Augustine ( Floratam ) Bahia was the most common grass in central Florida. It has one nemesis the Mole Cricket
Unlike other southern grasses, when damaged by the Mole Cricket it will not grow back.When not damaged Verticutting will improve the density by all most 100%. When you clean & cut Bahia, you are cutting the rizones, forcing new growth.
Verticutting opens up the lawn to air, water, fertilizers and pest control, removing the thatch.A Bahia lawn should be fertilized with nitrogen only Spring and Fall. With Mole Cricket control and Verticutting, the weeds will be crowded out. Truly Bahia can be a beautiful lawn!
Weed control on Bahia:
Extensive weed control on Bahia grasses, unless you are going to resod, has exactly the opposite effect, why you ask? Because the grass will never grow back, only weeds and unwanted grasses grow.Weedy grasses, crab grass, common Bermuda, carpet grass, goose grass, gophertail Lovegrass, etc. will fill in rapidly and ruin the appearance of a Bahia lawn. Because they are so hard to cut cleanly, thus weed control has the adverse effect. Unlike St. Augustine, Bahia is a deep rooted grass and needs water at the most only once a week, and much less often in the cooler months.
Too much water, too much fertilizer and water are the enemy of Bahia grasses.
How it works
Normally, when superintendents mow greens, the blades cut the turf horizontally, taking off the top of the crown to reduce its height. Verticutting blades, which can be fitted on most triplex mowers, rotate in the opposite direction. The goal is to reduce the number of stolons on leaf blades that grow laterally, says Ron Wright, certified superintendent at The Country Club of Mobile (Ala.)."Every time a plant grows new shoots, it takes energy," Wright says. "If you cut off some of the lateral plant growth, it forces the plant to use that energy elsewhere. The plant will use the excess energy to grow upward, creating a more upright and dense stand of turf."
There are myriad benefits to verticutting, which has also fueled its popularity. Jeff Buchko, a product manager for Jacobsen, says more university researchers have concluded that Verticutting is a cultural practice that's critical to turf care. Turf that is verticut can withstand the threat of disease and harsh weather better. Simply put, verticutting stimulates growth.Not only does Verticutting remove thatch, which is a breeding ground for turf disease, but it also provides channels to allow moisture and oxygen to get into the rootzone, says Tony Ferguson, the senior marketing manager of Reelmaster products for The Toro Co.Another reason for verticutting's increased popularity is that turf recovers quickly from the process, so golf course play isn't disrupted."You're cutting slits in the turf, and those slits will fill in the first time you mow the turf with a greens mowers," Aldridge says. "A lot of times you can verticut and mow, and golfers won't know you've been there."Verticutting is not just a greens thing anymore, Ferguson points out. Like many turf maintenance procedures, such as topdressing and aeration, verticutting is also performed on fairways. "That will continue to some degree as budgets and manpower allow," Ferguson adds.Jacobsen introduced its Verticut 214 a few years ago with fairways in mind. Its 84-inch cutting path and 4-mph cutting speed covers more than 3 acres an hour for high productivity, the company says. It also features three cutting heads that penetrate soil up to 3 inches to quickly remove thatch and debris.Aldridge has noticed a trend where more superintendents are getting more aggressive with their Verticutting practices on newer turf varieties (which form thatch quicker) by combining them with aerification. They do this during the prime growing season when recovery is faster. They will aerify to maximum depth and then verticut immediately after to remove even more material.