Soil temperatures have generally been lingering below 4 Celsius during the mornings but have been dipping even lower on the frosty mornings so growth had been subdued until now. Rainfall is sitting at around 25mm for the month which is a little below average for halfway through April.
Greens height-of-cut is currently 5mm which, again, is playing to the advantage of the bentgrass on the surfaces but as we see a rise in temperatures we will tighten these heights down towards our season’s height of 4mm which times perfectly with what I will run through below.
Longer days and strong daylight is increasing which is bringing the poa into seed, the dreaded season. This period is generally the most difficult part of the year to provide a smooth surface on the greens. The combination of seed heads and differing growth rates creates plenty of variation in the surface and hence affects ball-roll the most. We will be using a variety of methods to manage these conditions and using them in combination will provide a degree of remedy.
We generally see this seed-head period at its peak for about 6 weeks, after which seed production declines and falls back to regular growth habits. What we are seeing with an increase in bentgrass is that colonies of poa are becoming more isolated and are visible as distinctive patches rather than an wide coverage. By reducing the poa content in our surfaces we are reducing the impact that this season has on how our greens roll.
Our summer conditions last year had quite a severe impact on turf health in some areas, as temperatures have been rising over the last few weeks we have embarked on a programme of renovation to assist in the regeneration of these areas. Through the winter and early spring we were very busy with aeration and soil structure improvement which set up conditions suitable to start introducing seed.
In greenkeeping lingo it’s called potting, we aerate shallow holes and brush seed into the holes. The idea is to provide just enough space around the seedling to give it a chance to establish before the competition comes from the surrounding grass plants.
You will see our work on fairways, greens complexes and extensively on tees over the coming days.