Previous Report: 27/02/2019
Report Date: 31/03/2019
Rainfall throughout the last month has been recorded at 64.5mm with the final 2mm falling on the 19th of the month. No rain has been recorded since.
These surfaces are all now complete in terms of the spring Renovations. The works have all been successful and I hope you’d agree were completed with minimal disruption?
The primary reason that we carry out the works described above is to prepare the surfaces for the coming playing season and to also relieve them of any problems associated with winter conditions. In general, you’ll all be aware that during the winter months the surfaces invariably lay slightly wetter than in the summer, but how many of you are actually aware of what’s happening beneath the surface? Firstly, excessive water in the form of rainfall will ultimately lead to lower oxygen levels within the soil profile. This comes about due to water moving through the profile and in so doing forcing the air out (remember – you can compress air but not a liquid!!). If one was to look at soils under a microscope you would see that contained within the profile are microscopic spaces known as pores, and it’s within these areas that oxygen is stored. However, once water forces this air out the soil very quickly becomes what we term “anaerobic”, which simply means there’s not enough oxygen to support plant life. A good visual indicator of this is a stagnant black layer forming just below the surface. You will clearly see from some of the following pictures what it is I’m referring to:
The white arrow indicates Black Layer where oxygen depletion caused by the events described above has taken place. If left untreated this poisonous layer would increase in depth and become more problematic. Once a wet green is opened up via either Solid or Hollow Tining, the Greenkeepers have the option of applying more sand thus eradicating the issue.
One of the problems we as greenstaff face when talking about early season Renovations is timing. If we do them to early, then recovery takes quite some time and likewise if we do them later in the calendar then we encroach on the main golfing season, so you can begin to see the importance of timing. If however the greens are very wet another issue we face is that of the cores not ejecting from the soil, effectively being held by suction within the profile. The next picture shows a typical Hollow Tine pattern but I’ve endeavoured to highlight some cores that haven’t ejected properly because of what I’ve just described.
1) It allows us to improve water movement through the rootzone
2) It allows us to correct surface levels.
This section of my report warrants its own explanation as we simply get asked the same question every year:
Q: Can’t you just turn the water on and wash the sand away!!
Reason: Top Dressing is applied in order to true up surface levels correcting as far as is possible any undulations or disease scars that might remain from the winter. Once a true surface level has been created we must then wait for the grass to grow up through it. If one is to then turn on the water and wash it away, we not only waste considerable money on sand but we’re back to the untrue surface with immediate effect!!
The sand does however cause us many problems also in that it very quickly blunts any cutting blades with the result that immediately following Top-Dressing the surfaces get quite slow for about a week to ten days until the grass grows up through the sand. You can again see the importance of timing. Too early and the grass isn’t yet growing so the sand sits there far longer than we really want it to…..!!
In essence, these surfaces are also now complete with Scarification having just taken place. The tees have been treated in the same way as our greens and will also shortly be fed using a controlled release fertilizer. Our 3rd tee has recently been turfed and we hope to be using it in the very near future.
As I write this report our fairways are currently being Hollow Tined and will then be fed using the same fertilizer as our tees. This spring we shall miss out the process of Scarification simply because last summer was so hot and dry. Scarification is designed to remove unwanted thatch from the soil profile but inevitably also removes a small percentage of sward cover. I’m now extremely confident that we won’t need to overseed the fairways following last summer but don’t wish to thin the coverage any further. There are two effective times of the year for scarification to take place, spring and autumn. The autumn one is the most important on the basis that the plant has had effectively ¾ of the growing season to create excessive thatch compared to the spring period when the plant is effectively awakening from a dormant period. This autumn will again see us scarifying heavily.
Having recently attended our Club’s S.G.M., I’m absolutely delighted with the members decision to invest in the Course. The works will transform both the look and the aesthetics of the course and I can’t wait to start - Once I can walk properly again after my operation!!
In closing, may I openly invite members with any queries regarding our works either past or present to contact myself….