Home Blog Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog May 2019

As we move into the main part of the playing season, the theme for 2019 has continued, with again only minimal rain fall coming in May.

Despite this the course is really in fantastic shape, with the little bit of rain that has fallen helping the overall turf condition.

So what has the team being doing to achieve such conditions and what does the future hold? The following blog will hopefully answer some of the questions that you may have had whilst playing the course over the last month and maybe even a bit more.

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Controlling Weeds

The biggest task during May has been treating the turf with selective herbicide. Over the years we have always had a problem with Clover and to a lesser extent Daisy’s and Lesser Trefoil.

After a couple of weeks the weeds have began to die back and are now much less visible within the turf. The visual appearance of the turf has significantly improved and more importantly in the semi rough and golfing rough, the reduction in Clover will avoid balls from disappearing into the patches that had previously caused problems.

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The turf is now beautifully clean after treatment of the various weeds

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Greens

As treating the weeds took up a member of the team for almost 2 weeks, we did have to make a few small sacrifices to other areas during that time. One of those was mowing frequency on the greens. This led to a few people asking why they were not rolling as quickly on a few occasions. This is obviously not ideal, but a necessary step in prioritising our workload on the course.

It’s also worth noting that there has been a lot of seeding on the greens as the Annual Meadow grass (Poa Annua) tries to reproduce. May is always the peak time for this weed grass to seed, but it has also been exaggerated by climatic conditions and also that we manage the turf to favour the fine perennial grasses. This means that the Poa is under extra stress on our greens and therefore tries even harder to reproduce as it begins to die off.

It is a big challenge for all greenkeepers to manage Poa, whether it is your grass of choice or not. As it is a minority species on our greens, we can afford to let it become more stressed and die off as this only helps us to increase the percentage of the finer, more desirable species of fescue and bent grass.

For us the problem is only a temporary one and also one that has only a minor impact on the greens performance.

Despite these issues the greens have actually played very well on a consistent basis, with only the speed affected on isolated days through the week.

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Excellent species composition on the greens now despite some seed heads visible

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Rough Grasslands

One of the biggest changes to the course in recent years has been with the introduction of rough grasslands. The challenge here has been to get the grasses to grow in a way that benefits both golf and the environment.

By cutting the grass and removing the cuttings over the last few years, the nature of the rough has changed. This happens as the nutrients available in the soil are constantly being used by the plant for growth, but then taken away in the clippings. It then has to use more of the nutrients to grow again at which point we cut and remove the cuttings again, and so the process continues until there is very little nutrient reserves in the soil left for the plant to use.

The vigour of growth then reduces, the species of grass become finer as the environment is more suited to those grasses and the end result is long wispy grass providing excellent definition, without the need for excessive maintenance and also improved habitat for nature.

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Many areas of rough grassland are now exactly as we would want

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Irrigation

With conditions having been so dry this year and also for the most of last summer, we have had to carry out significant works on the irrigation system. Although the system is old and far from ideal, by replacing some of the sprinklers and also some of the valves that operate the sprinklers, we can at least get water onto the greens to maintain moisture levels and so far things are going well on that front fingers crossed 🙂

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Morgan’s Mound green with new Toro sprinklers working

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June

Next month is set to bring out the best in the course as there are no major tasks to be carried out other than routine maintenance.

On the 15th I’ll be hosting a course walk for those wishing to find out more about the how and why of what we do as a greenkeeping team. I’ll be at the club to meet you from 10 am so come along and join us for what should be a good chance to discuss any burning issues.

Happy golfing everyone!

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