Turf Repair And Renovation

Course CodeBHT303
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Add Turf Repair to Your Green Keeping Skills

The turf industry uses a great variety of equipment, both manual and mechanical, for repairing and renovating turf. Some equipment is highly specialised, designed to be used for a particular type of turf like bowling greens, whilst other equipment may have a much wider application.

Learn to Repair and Renovate Turf

In this course you will discover trade techniques for optimising turf health. Learn about how environmental factors impact upon turf health. Conduct inspections and assess turf. Decide when to irrigate and how often. Learn how to control a range of turf problems like pests and diseases, water logging and compaction.  Learn to diagnose and treat problems efficiently on:

  • Golf and Bowling Greens, Playing Fields, Parks
  • Home lawns, Public Parks, Commercial sites

A course specifically designed for people working with turf:

  • Golf course managers, superintendents, foremen
  • Specialised gardeners and garden technicians
  • Turf nursery personnel
  • Gardeners and greenkeepers (amateur or professional)  who need to maintain sportsgrounds, amenity lawns, playing fields of any kind, etc.

Advance your job prospects in the turf industry, extend your skills and lay the foundation to be a top level turf expert.

Comment from Student: "In my role within a large Aged Care Facility a great deal of my employment is spent in the area of Turf management and garden care/refurbishment. With ACS I was able to study at my own pace allowing me to put into practise and thoroughly research the subject matter broadening my knowledge and study experience further. I enjoyed the way in which the subject matter was presented as it allowed you to study each subject further, allowing for greater depth, clarity and knowledge. Overall there are not many areas in which the course subject matter will not turn out to be invaluable, everything is covered to allow you to become successful within your own business or place of employment. A big thank you to Gavin Cole [tutor] and all at ACS. It was a pleasure to study with ACS, look forward to further study."  (Craig Ledbury, Australia, Turf Renovation & Repair course)

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding Turf Deterioration
    • Inspecting Deteriorated Turf
    • Using Checklists
    • Report Forms
    • The Effect of Traffic on Turf; wear and tear, soil compaction, environment, varieties, traffic control
    • Turf Quality
    • Factors affecting visual quality
    • Factors affecting functional quality
  2. Repair and Renovation Equipment
    • Scope of Equipment
    • Machines that Penetrate the soil
    • Aerators; hollow tine, solid tine, drills, scoop tines
    • Air injectors
    • Slicing machines
    • Thatch Removal Scarifiers
    • Rakes
    • Sod Cutters
    • Planters
    • Sprayers
    • Tool Maintenance
    • Tractors; clutch, transmission, PTO, differential, etc
    • Tractor Safety
    • Calibrating Sprayers
  3. Turf Cultivation Techniques
    • What is Cultivation
    • Soil Damage
    • Thatch Build Up
    • Salt or Toxin Accumalation
    • Impermeable Surfaces
    • Drainage and Aeration Management
    • Tree Roots competing with Turf
    • Coring
    • Spiking
    • Drilling
    • Grooving
    • Using Forks, Hoes, Rotaty Hoes
  4. Health Improvement Techniques
    • Minimising Problems
    • Understanding what can go Wrong in Turf
    • Assessing Problems
    • Conducting an Inspection
    • Tell Tale Symptoms
    • Problems that are Difficult to Diagnose
    • Common Turf Pests and Dealing with them
    • Common Turf Diseases and Dealing with the,
    • Irrigation and Soils
    • Operation of Watering Systems
    • Sprinkler Spacing
    • Designing for Best Sprinler Performance
    • Feeding Turf
  5. Optimising Turf Usage
    • Turf Use, type of use, quantity of use
    • Turf Friendly Footwear
    • Machinery Damage
    • Minimising Damage
    • Preparing fror Use
    • Rolling
  6. Replacing Damaged Turf
    • Problems and Solutions
    • Turf Repair
    • Sportsgrounds
    • Turf Wickets
    • Planting Turf; topdressing, sprigging, sodding, pluggingstolonising, chitted seed
    • Ploughs, Cultivators, Scarifiers
    • Seeding
  7. Renovation of Degraded Turf
    • Introduction
    • Golf Course Renovation, todressing, changing pins and tees, feeding, soil amelliorants, greens and tees
    • Weed Control
    • Insect and Disease Control
    • Dealing with Snow Problems
  8. Eradicating Turf Weeds
    • Where and Why Weeds are a Problem in Turf
    • Weeds in Seed Beds
    • Weeds in New or Established Turf
    • Where do Weeds Come From
    • General Weed Control
    • Ways to Control Weeds; suffocation, burning, cultivation, chaning pH, biological control, chemicals, etc
    • Weed Dispersal Mechanisms
    • Review of Common Turf Weeds
  9. Treating Aeration and Drainage Problems
    • Soil compaction, what it is, solutions, etc.
    • Drainage
    • Improving surface drainage
    • Improving Water Infiltration
    • Sub Surface Drains; layout, outlets, gradients, depth of drain, laing the drain, etc
    • Soil Degradation; erosion, Loss of soil fertility, Salinity, Soil acidification, Build up of dangerous chemicals.
  10. Managing a Turf Nursery.
    • Types of Turf Nursery
    • Growing a Sod Crop

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

What You Will Do

  • Compare the characteristics of different turfs with reference to hardiness, pest &
    • disease resistance, tolerance to play, suitability for different applications, etc
  • Explain different turf problems (including; soil problems, pest & disease weed, environmental, etc)
  • Explain the effect of various adverse situations on the physiology of turf plants.
  • Carry out turf consultancy, conducting site inspections and giving appropriate recommendations.
  • Develop solutions for the repair of damaged turf.
  • Identify the cause of deteriorating condition in a selected turf
  • Explain different repair techniques for control of problems identified.
  • Compare different solutions for the problem identified.
  • Develop turf renovation programs for different types of turf facilities
  • Compare renovation programs for different turf facilities
  • Identify when renovation becomes economically prudent for different facilities

Why is Turf Renovation Needed

Turf is made up of living things; and like anything that is living, tutf plants can get damaged, get sick, age, and die.

  • Damaged and sick turf plants need to be returned to good health, or they will eventually die.
  • Dead turf plants need to be replaced with living ones, or parts of the turf surface will become bare and subject to erosion.
  • Soil conditions are deteriorating from over use (eg. people walking or driving on it too much); and without improving the soil, the turf will continue to deteriorate.

Traffic over the surface of a can take numerous forms -most of which have potential to damage the turf. The most obvious examples might be vehicular and human movement.

Examples of traffic include:

Golf course

  • Golf carts and buggy wheels which compact soils
  • Human shoes, often with sprigs that rip and tear turf
  • Golf clubs and balls which cause divots and ball marks or plugs
  • Animal grazing which tends to be more of a rural problem.


  • Human use including walking, lying down
  • Erecting temporary structures such as a marquee, tent
  • Ball games of all varieties
  • Irresponsible vehicle use
  • Animal use.

The amount of damage caused by traffic is relative to the amount and type of traffic, but other factors such as environment and turf species are also important factors. The resultant damage that does occur is called turf grass wear.


This refers to damage that takes place when some or all of the above activities take place upon turf. Turf can be slightly discoloured, thinned out or totally killed depending on the type and intensity of traffic, and what type of maintenance and repair procedures are adopted. Firstly, it is important to understand exactly why, where and when turf grass wear is happening and this in turn will enable you to plan control measures accordingly. Remember, turf is there to be used and so turf grass wear will always be a major component of any turf management program.


This is the result of constant traffic or in some cases very heavy traffic. Trail development from shortcuts, such as what is known to park planners and landscapers as ‘lazy paths’, occur. Apart from the crushing of the turf grass itself, this type of wear may also result in the soil particles becoming more densely packed together. This encourages the clay particles to bind together which in turn can cause the soil to become less porous and hence restrict water movement and aeration.

Bringing the Grass Back to a Bare Patch

Before attempting to re-establish grass on a bare patch of turf, it is important that you understand what caused the surface to become bare; and ensure that problem does not continue to exist.
If an area has poor soil conditions, it may be difficult to ever re-establish a surface without improving the soil. In exceptional circumsatances (eg. on a sports ground during the playing season), it may be possible to provide a temporary repair however by sodding. Remember thaugh that such a repair may only be temporary.
Sowing Turf Seed
Most cool season grasses (e.g. rye, bent, fescue, Kentucky) are established primarily by seeding.  Some warm season grasses (e.g. Bermuda couch) are also commonly established by seeding. This will be discussed in more detail later. 
The success of germination will be affected by: the time of planting - month of the year density at which seed is sown - how much seed is sown per square metre the way the seed is placed - drilled into the soil or covered in some other way by soil - if seed is uncovered it is more susceptible to drying out/attack by birds and other pests.
  • Sow the seed: use equal volumes of a "lawn starter" fertilizer and lawn seed. Sowing rates will vary according to the species being sown.  Recommended rates are usually listed on the label of the seed container. As a rough guide 1 match box full of seed is equivalent to about 25grams of seed. 
  • Rake in the seed: once sown, the seed should be raked over lightly to mix it with the soil. Do not rake too hard or the seed will become removed from some areas and more concentrated in others, or may be damaged. Raking at this point is aimed at lightly covering and protecting the seed, not levelling the site.
  • Watering: all lawns should be watered immediately after sowing. Do not wash the seed away by applying too much water too quickly; water lightly for long periods. The lawn should be kept continually moist until seed can be seen to be germinating, after which the frequency of watering can gradually be decreased. When the lawn is young it is better to water more often and apply less water each watering. You will need to water a new lawn more in summer than in winter in very wet weather watering may not be necessary at all.
After Planting Care
  • The seed needs to be kept moist until germination and a reasonable degree of establishment has occurred. If a newly germinated seed dries out, even for just an hour or two, it may very well die.
  • A newly germinated turf should not be cut too severely. Mowing should not be carried out until new grass reaches at least 6 cm (2½ inches), and then it should only be cut to a height of 5 cm (2 inches) (i.e. remove 2m or ½ inch). The cutting height can be lowered gradually each time you cut until the desired height is reached.
  • A light application of nitrogen fertiliser can be beneficial to a new lawn after the first mowing.
  • Weed control is also very important at this time of establishment. Young turf is very susceptible to herbicides hence hand weeding is preferable.
Sodding/Instant Turf
Sodding involves covering the area to be turfed with sods of established turf.  Sods can be readily purchased from instant turf companies, or nurseries.  A degree of expertise is required to lay sods properly. Great care needs to be taken to avoid unevenness in the turf surface. The most important things when laying out sod are:
  • That the base of the sod should have good contact with the soil beneath, hence the need for good preparation and levelling.
  • That the sides of each of the sod sections (usually in rolls) are carefully butted up against each other.
  • The ends of each section (roll) of sod are offset, so that they don’t line up next to each other, rather the start and end of each piece of sod are offset to minimise movement. 
Learn about other things that can damage turf and how to control damage, as well as how to repair and renovate.


Reasons to Study This Course

This course is of value to people who have an interest in grass and turf surfaces. People who take this course are most likely those working in or aspiring to work in:

Turf maintenance
Green keeping
Lawn mowing
Sports turf maintenance
Grounds maintenance
Parks & gardens

The course will also be of value to people wishing to include a turf repair service as part of an existing mowing, gardening or landscaping business.



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