Sunday, March 27, 2016

Greens Fertility

Even though it's still March, the greens have been rolling well, and are approaching "ludicrous speed."  There are several practices we can implement which may contribute to increased green speed.  At the most basic level, virtually all of these do so by reducing friction between the green and the ball.

Often times, less friction is created when we have less grass growth, and that's what's really keeping the greens rolling right now.  We made our first spray application of plant growth regulators (to help prevent Poa seedhead formation on the greens) over two weeks ago.  As the name "plant growth regulator" implies, this is certainly one way to keep turf growth in check.

A second contributing factor to the current green speeds, and lack of growth, would be something that we haven't done:  Fertilize. No fertilizer has been applied to the greens this year, and it's been two years since any granular fertilizer was used on the greens.  Instead, all of our fertilization is now made through liquid applications.

With sand-based greens that have limited nutrient holding capacity, the difference between an area which has been fertilized and has not, can be dramatic.  Often times, we will create check plots on a green to see the impact of any inputs.  However, in this case, a heron provided the check plot for us on #11 green, by providing a good dose of fertilizer, and really puts things in perspective.

We switched to a strictly liquid fertilization program for the greens because of the control it gives us in feeding them.  This helps us avoid peaks and valleys in growth which can occur when using granular products.  The greens are clearly quite lean, and we'll give them a "light snack" this week...along with their second application of growth regulators.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bridge Beautification

The foot bridges on #5 green and #6 tee were pressure-washed this week, making a tremendous difference in their appearance.
Just a few more feet of bridge for Brian to complete the project.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wildly Warm Weather

It is difficult to believe that a little more than one week ago we had snow on the ground.  With record-breaking temperatures running more than 30 degrees above average on Wednesday and Thursday, it felt as if we instantly jumped from winter to summer.  On the golf course, this meant that we had to hastily get the divot mix boxes, water coolers, and ballwashers in place.

One of the unanticipated challenges this weather created, is to some of the sod we placed two weeks ago...when daytime highs were still in the 40's.  Sodding during the winter typically works well, as the turf develops roots even without top growth, and it has little stress.  However, this isn't the case when the thermometer hits the low 80's, and we had to get some water on these areas.

#13 fairway starting to green-up.

By tracking growing degree days (a measure of heat accumulation) we can determine the best timing of applications for Poa seedhead control on the greens.  We hit the threshold and made the first application this past week, on March 10.

What's newsworthy about this?  Well, in 2015 we didn't make the same application until April 6.  Yes, it was close to a full month later when we had accumulated the same number of growing degree days!

Clearly soil temperatures are one of the driving forces in agriculture.  If the warmer weather continues, it's likely that we will be dealing with weed, insect, and fungi issues sooner than we're used to.  Never a dull moment, or two years alike when Mother Nature is in charge.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Turf and Trees

You'll often hear grass-growers discuss the fact that trees and turf don't go (or grow) well together.  The crew replaced some of the sod on the Clubhouse front lawn last week, and it quickly became clear why the grass hadn't performed as well as we would have liked.
Check out all of  the shallow roots from one of the nearby trees. 
When trying to grow turf and trees together, there is often competition by both plants for sunlight, water and nutrients.