Marching forward into spring, the days are longer and the sun is brighter. The changes are always evident as we watch for signs of growth on trees, also on turf surfaces and the understory of our woodland areas. Willows and hawthorns have been breaking bud, snowdrops have finished and the wild garlic is pushing through though most significant for us is that ryegrass on our tees and fairways is lifting and starting grow strongly as is bentgrass on our greens.
The tufts of newly established bent that we seeded in our summer renovation in August are standing up strongly in a clear hollow coring pattern. Mornings are the best time to see this, particularly when there is a dew. From an agronomic perspective this really is a key time for spring fertilising as any nutrition that we apply now will be taken up by the bent and applied to strong assertive growth by these plants.
The weather threw us a curve ball in the first few days of greens renovation. Heavy rainfall on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday hampered our collection efforts and the last five greens had to be collected my hand. Integrating the topdressing into the surfaces was very challenging given the moisture content of the greens’ soil following this rain.
Our topdressing and recovery work had to move into week two for the first time in ten years but the downpours that we have had since have worked in our favour to wash the sand into the surface and promote a relatively fast recovery. As of today we are in a great position and with a dry, mild spell ahead of us we will see a rapid rebound to smooth surfaces.
Moving into spring we are looking at promoting recovery from our record winter traffic levels and doing our best to get the turf back on track. One important process is giving the fairway turf a refresh to stand everything up and break down accumulation of worm casts and debris. We have been scarifying, mowing and blowing the fairways over the last week using a spring-tine harrow which effectively rakes the surface. Following on from this we blow the debris that the harrow brings up and finally give the surface a mow with a rotary mower. After a few mows with the rotary to disperse and break down anything messy we will move back onto cylinder mowers and reduce the height down to season’s height which for the season’s beginning we will sit at 15mm.
Keep up the work on divotting, things are improving on the greens.
Yours in sport.