As the picture above illustrates, fall is finally upon us and the foliage is starting to show its true color. The next 10-14 days will truly have some spectacular views. Hopefully many of you will have the opportunity to come out and enjoy your golf course.
Aerification has been completed on greens and fairways, and I thank my staff for their hard work in the last 10 days. With the ample rainfall and above normal temperatures, healing of the aerification holes is already ahead of schedule compared to past years.
We have also began some of our preparations of the greens for this coming winter, a bit earlier than we normally do. Below are some of what we do to best defend the turf against the harsh conditions winter can sometimes bring.
Raising mower heights. One of the changes I have made this year is raising the height of cut on the greens earlier than normal. Currently,the height of cut on greens .135″, or .015″ higher than in-season heights. Raising height of cut allows more leaf surface for the turf to maximize their photosynthetic capabilities and carbohydrate storage. Raising height will also lessen stress to the plant and create a deeper root system going into winter. While raising heights may not create the speeds that summer brings, it is best for the long term health of the greens going into winter.
|Late Season deep tine channels|
Late season aerification. On November 7th, our annual Vertidrain process will completed (weather permitting!). These extra holes create three advantages: additional channels for spring root growth, aid in relieving any deeper compaction within the rootzone soil profile, and extra drainage capabilities for ice/snow melt to prevent ice formation on the plant surfaces. These tines are 1/2″ wide, and vary in depth from 7-10″. The depth of these tines is altered each year to prevent a hardpan layer from forming, which would hinder drainage over time.
Fertility and Plant Protectants. While we limit nutrients on finely maintained turf during the season to provide great playing conditions, the fall is the best time to feed the turf to maximize carbohydrate storage going into winter. The more carbs the plant stores, the quicker it will break dormancy when temperatures warm up in the spring. Nitrogen, potassium, and bio stimulants were applied to fill this vital need over the course of the month. Plant protectants will be applied to prevent damage from fungal diseases such as Pink Snow Mold.
|Topdressing protecting the crown of the plants|
Topdressing. Another change to our winterization program will be more light, frequent applications of topdressing sand while the turf is still actively growing. This will help further even out the playing surfaces from aerification and begin the process of protecting the crown from winter’s cold and ice. When growth has ceased for the year, we will apply a thick coating of sand topdressing to bury the crowns and as much leaf tissue as possible. This sand helps protect and insulate the crown of the plant from any extreme cold temperatures. This practice was another way more damage was prevented from the ice layer that encased all the greens turf in 2014.
|Our 2nd assistant Kyle removing bluegrass sod|
Finally, the staff and I began one of our major fall projects today. We will be installing an extended collar to the back of 9 green, thanks to much input and feedback from many of you. This is also a suggested improvement from our golf course architect, Shawn Smith of Hills/Forrest. The idea is to give more options for shots behind the green and make that area of the hole a bit less penal. As the pictures dictate, we will be removing 6-7 feet of the bluegrass sod and replacing it with bentgrass from our in-house nursery. We should have all the sod laid by week’s end.
|Bentgrass sod being installed|
Going forward, while #9 will be open for play, this area will be roped off for the rest of the playing season. We will be rolling, aerifying, and topdressing the sod to smooth this surface into a playable surface for the 2017 season. This area should be treated as Ground Under Repair and shots should not be taken from this new area. Thank you for your cooperation with this nice improvement to #9.
If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, and I hope to see you out on the golf course!