Sharpening cutting units

We have just completed sharpening of the cutting units on the greens and tees mowers. 

Sharp blades are essential not only for efficiency and after-cut appearance but also for turf health. 

If the blades are too dull then they are more inclined to tear the grass rather than cut it. This can then allow turf disease to strike. 

It takes us around 45 minutes to remove a unit, strip it down, sharpen it then set it up again. When properly set the blades should cut a single piece of paper yet there should be no metal on metal contact.

We are fortunate that now all 19 John Deere units (greens/tees/fairways) are essentially the same so everyone is familiar with them. 

Wind damage

A large tree close to the irrigation pond on the 14th came down in the wind yesterday. 

It has all been chopped up and collected. While only 75% of the tree actually came down we’ve taken the entire thing away as there was a large crack present in the remainder and it was only a matter of time before it fell as well. 

Growth regulator on greens

The greens and surrounds have received another application of growth regulator this morning. 

Following a cut and roll the greens were sprayed with growth regulator which will encourage the sward to grow laterally rather than upwards. 

This will help fill in the remaining patches of thinner turf as well as reduce clipping yield which is at an all time high just now. 

To give some perspective we would normally expect to empty the grass boxes 1 or 2 times over the course of mowing greens. At the moment we are having to empty around 6 or 7 times so it comes as no surprise that speeds are low. 

The warm and wet conditions are ideal for growing grass and this is the reason for the high clipping yield. The greens have not been fed since March! The recent lightning has also contributed as it releases Nitrogen in the atmosphere which is then taken up by plants accelerating their growth. 

Herbicide application

The course will be spot treated with herbicide soon to control weeds such as Clover and Daisies. 

We will be spot treating all mown areas including tees, fairways and mown rough. 

The unmown rough will remain untreated to ensure the survival of the indigenous wildflowers which provide a food source for pollinating insects. 

Topdressing greens

The greens have been dressed twice in the last two weeks with washed dune sand.

The rate of growth is very high at the moment even though the greens have had no feed for weeks.

The sand is helping fill any depressions left after the overseeding work and keep the surfaces smooth.

It takes one man around 2 hours to dress all the greens on the course, the time consuming part is working the sand in and returning the greens to a playable condition.

If we have warm and dry weather with a breeze then the sand dries quickly and can be rubbed in without issue.

Once the sand is worked in the greens are mown to remove any growth which is inevitably stood up by the dragmat. We then roll which can help work the sand in but it is more to add a little speed to the surface.

Overseeding work

We have had a perfect spell of weather for overseeding work recently and taken full advantage of it. 

All of the greens have had a double pass with the seeder to input around 12kg of Fescue seed in each. We have also mixed in a small amount of Bent seed to help recovery from the spring drought. The seed germinated in 10 days and is establishing nicely in the warm and damp conditions. 

Some of the weaker greens have been seeded again and the 5th has been triple passed. The above picture shows the surface of the green immediately after seeding and disturbance is minimal. 

The above picture gives an indication of what the seeder does. It cuts slits in the ground and drops the seed in before rolling the slits closed again. The Fescue ideally needs to have soil contact and be 10-12mm deep, too deep and the seedlings could run out of energy before reaching sunlight and beginning photosynthesis. Too shallow or not in at all and it simply won’t germinate. In addition it must be kept damp for 10-12 days for germination. 

Overseeding with slit seeder

Overseeding work is now well underway following a spell of wet weather. 

All tees have been seeded with the dwarf Ryegrass to provide a better cover of grass which regenerates faster. This seed will germinate in 6-7 days at this time of year. 

Pictured here is the slitseeder drilling Fescue into green surrounds. We were able to double pass all the surrounds in 90 minutes with this machine and it has left little to no disruption. 

With soil temperatures up and moisture in the ground we should see germination in 10-12 days.