May has been an interesting month and it was nice to have a bit of rain, whilst the overnight temperatures have risen too. We have started to see some growth and the seed for repair works have started to pop and recover areas which needed attention.
The greens are now receiving a light sand dusting weekly to improve the trueness and speed. This operation is done on various days. To help us with greens trueness and to provide a more consistent putting surface, please repair any pitch marks on the greens, this is one of the main causes for a green to be bumpy and un-true. Even if your ball bounces on the green and goes through, please repair the indentation made. Monthly small tine aeration will now be completed on the greens to aid in keeping the plant healthy. This along with our wetting agent, liquid and granular feeds will help keep the grass plant in a good condition. We had a slight attack of disease on a few greens this month, but giving the growth we are having, this will grow out without effecting playability.
The tees and aprons have been granular fertilised and then sprayed with a growth regulator to keep the clip rate under control. They have also been sprayed with a selective herbicide to remove any unwanted weeds. This will also be carried out on selective fairways and surrounds where the weeds, mainly daisies, effect the turf performance.
Next month the fairways will receive a liquid feed to improve the health and colour of the plant. This will also help thicken up the sward density to improve playability.
On the ecology side of things, our bees seem to be pretty healthy and look rather busy now the temperatures have risen and the wild flowers are starting to appear in the natural rough areas. The pond on the 17th has now come to life, with a variety of insects and tadpoles now swimming in there, as well as some wild flowers around the natural side. The natural rough now has some definition and amongst this some wild flowers now can be seen. With have a large area of Orchids on the left side of the 14th carry, which is pleasing to see.
See you on the course!
Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course
The Park Course
Finally, spring like conditions! The temperatures are starting to rise and we have received 60mm of rain to really spark the course into life. It is nice to see leaves on the trees, growth and colour on the course.
As usual this time of year bring us turfies a host of other problems. At the beginning of the month, cool evening temperatures and warm days meant the plant was photosynthesising during the day and shutting down at night giving us some inconsistent uneven growth and some discolouration and few worms have started to show.
On the greens, the bent grass species is still a bit dormant which means the poa grass species is very active which is not an ideal grass type, it is shallow rooting and has a coarse leaf which produces seed heads which are unsightly and can reduce trueness and green speeds. We have continued with our foliar feeds which result in the greens having a more uniform growth and consistent conditions. Foliar feeds are absorbed rapidly by the plant so the turf gets the nutrients it needs quickly and efficiently. A regular light top dressing of sand brushed into the surface benefits the green to keeping them rolling true, firm and fast. We have aerated the greens with a 10mm tine to reduce compaction and create channels for the roots to develop and grow. We are keeping the cutting heights up a little on the greens at present to protect them in what is a high disease pressure spell we are receiving.
We kept up with our organic granular fertiliser programme on the greens. No doubt if you were playing at the time, you would have smelt it! This increases the nutrient and water holding capacity of the soil, strengthens the plants tolerance against disease and dry conditions it will also promote greater root development while giving the greens a consistent growth with good colour. The tees and aprons have both received a slow-release fertiliser to help encourage a more consistent growth over the coming weeks.