Spring threw its usual challenges at us tying in perfectly with the scenario that I discussed last month with drying, easterly winds and minimal rainfall. Our rainfall total for April was less than an inch at 24mm with a much higher total being lost to evaporation and hence the very dry conditions.
Our May rainfall total to date is 55mm, much lower than May 2021 and roughly around the long-term average. The last few days we have seen strong winds pushing through from the south west which although not being dry air the windspeed is certainly drying the land.
We are irrigating regularly even with regular rainfall.
I thought that I would cover two seasonally topical issues this month, one being weed management, the other being repair work to greens following winter disease.
I am sure everyone has noticed the daisies in flower and some are wondering if or how we manage weeds, particularly on fairways. We do use a selective herbicide to manage weeds on fairways, tees, semi rough and some mown rough areas but the use of herbicide across the golf course is conditional. My goal across the entire site is to reduce pesticide use and use it only when essential to course management. The conditions that I follow for weed management are as follow:
Our main problem weeds on fine turf areas are daisy, clover and rosettes like hawkweed and dandelion. Of these daisies are the most persistent and will without fail regrow later in the season regardless of the herbicide used, tough little buggers.
Second seasonal topic is recovery from autumn and winter damage on greens, looking at the causes and actions we take to recover from this damage. The most apparent damage to greens apart from pitchmarks is fusarium scarring and this is what we target most diligently.
Our early spring renovation work involved seeding into the tine holes and this seed germinated once soil temperatures raised a little and is now established, you can see it if you are looking for a square pattern of small tufts particularly in early morning light. This seeding does not cover every square inch of the surface plus there is no guarantee when we apply the seed that every single hole will host germination and establishment of the seed. So, what we do once we have seen where we need to do further work is to use a micro seed plugger and spot treat areas to introduce seed into the bare ground. The seeder produces small holes that are dosed with bentgrass seed.
If you look carefully on green surfaces you will see the holes which are only about 3mm diameter and if you look even more closely you may even see the seed.
Germination at this time of year generally takes about 2 weeks and we see a very good germination rate from using this tool.
Finally, my observations from the course. The incidence of pitchmark repair is relatively high at the moment although the greens are firm so will mark less.
Secondly, the greenkeeping team are seeing a lot of footprints in bunkers with a disappointing proportion of these footprints being over or next to bunker rakes. The team tend to the bunkers seven days a week, please do the right thing when playing from them.
Until next month.