Friday, 5 August 2016

August course news

A relatively dry July enabled us to stress out the meadow grass in the greens a little and tilt the balance in favour of the fine grasses.  The fescue in the greens is doing particularly well, filling in the gaps vacated by the meadow grass.  We’ve been over-seeding the greens with the best cultivars of fine grasses for several years and although progress is slow, this is to be expected when sowing seed into established turf that already has a good botanical composition.  Green speeds were generally between 9ft and 10ft with an average of 9ft 2in.  This average would have been considerably higher without a low reading of 8ft 2in taken when the greens had not been cut after top dressing.  Warm wet weather towards the end of the month has seen strong grass growth which reduces green speed a little but we’ve compensated for that by increasing use of the roller.  Regular use of the growth regulating product Primo Maxx is also helping us to maintain slightly higher green speeds without resorting to the seemingly obvious but risky and not particularly effective option of reducing the height of cut.

Course maintenance highlights during July
·         Greens top dressed on the 18th
·         Fertiliser applied to greens during the last week of the month and to tees on the 1st of August.  This will be the last nitrogen fertiliser applied this year
·         Wetting agent, seaweed extract and iron applied to the greens (Wetting agent is a surfactant that enables us to manage soil water so that greens dry out evenly and we minimise water use.)
·         Minimal greens irrigation was needed despite the low rainfall because the rain was nicely spaced through the month.
·         Verti-cutting greens to remove lateral growth.  We can only do this work during periods of strong grass growth as it is an aggressive operation which adversely affects the finer grasses if they are not growing strongly.
·         Mowing the denser areas of rough and removing the clippings, particularly where players are unable to reach the fairway off the tee.
·         Mowing and removing clippings from fairway bunker banks where the grass has grown too dense.
·         Selective weed killer was applied to tees and some areas of semi rough including bunker banks.
·         Ragwort pulling
·         Bracken control has started and will continue over the next few weeks

Work programme for August

Whilst the current strong grass growth continues we will carry out frequent verti-cutting of the greens to help remove some of the coarser grass and refine the putting surfaces.  More verti-cutting will also be done on the approaches. 

Later in the month we will apply Rescue, a product that selectively kills ryegrass and other coarse grasses in turf to the approaches.  Following a successful trial on the 17th last year all the approaches will be sprayed this year.  The areas will be over-seeded first to help fill in the gaps left as the ryegrass dyes back.  After treatment the areas will thin out for a while but they should recover after a few weeks.

We also intend to trial Rescue again on some areas of main course greens.  The product has worked well on the river course greens but when we tried it on the 7th green on the main course in 2012 it adversely affected that green.  For this trial we will be applying the product earlier in the season and adjusting our greens maintenance programme to minimise turf stress prior to spraying.  Despite the previous adverse reaction on the 7th we believe trialling the product again is appropriate due to the significant benefits that it brings in terms of removing coarse grasses and improving green quality.

Greens over-seeding is scheduled to start on Wednesday the 31st of August.  Over-seeding will be followed by top dressing and the work should be completed in two or three days.  We require dry conditions for this work so if we are delayed by adverse weather the work may run into the following week.

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