Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Course work update

The current dry spell and subsequent reduced mowing frequency has given us a little more time to get on with other work.  We've been topping up sand in the bunkers over the last couple of weeks and we've almost finished, so we're probably due a few dry and windy days to blow the sand away again!
Topping up bunker sand

We've also been trying out our new 'Tree Popper' tool.  This is very effective for pulling up saplings, roots and all, and can cope with trees much bigger than the broom in the picture below.  Tree and scrub control is a vital part of our course management programme,  Neglecting this work would see the heathland develop into woodland in a few years.

Antony in Tree Popper action

Some of the rough areas out of play have been cut.  Our long term aim is to develop wispy, dry acid grassland in these areas but the work we do depends on what vegetation is present and what stage in the process we've reached.  The starting point is usually deep and dense bracken which we weaken by a combination of mowing and rolling.   After a couple of years of this we are able to spray with Asulox which will usually clear out the remaining bracken over a further year or two.  Once the bracken has gone we fine down the grasses by removing the cuttings when we mow.  We may cut up to twice per year in the early stages but as the process progresses the frequency drops until mowing is only required once every three or four years.  In the photo below we're mowing an area of bracken that is swallowing up regenerating heather left of the 11th hole.

Heather regeneration left of the 11th hole

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