The recent rain and high temperatures have led to an intense flush of growth!
We have increased the intensity of brushing, cutting and rolling to try and maintain speeds until the flush passes.
The new brush has been used on greens in two directions to stand up as much grass as possible prior to mowing. Through trial and error we’ve found the best result comes at around 7km/h. Although this seems slow it reduces the risk of bruising from the aggressive bristles and the process is still relatively quick as the brush is almost 5m wide. The greens were then double cut behind in perfectly dry conditions.
Sonce the arrival of the new John Deere greens mowers last spring we have used the turf coditioners around 80% of the time to control any lateral growth. Following the brush it was evident that very little of this lateral growth remains.
There is virtually nothing growing on the greens any longer than 7-8mm at most other than the Meadowgrass seedheads.
The added benefit of the brush is that the seedheads are also stood up then cut off and removed.
To give an idea of how much growth has increased we would normally expect between 1 and 3 full boxes of clippings from the entire course. Following the double brush and double cut we removed 12 full boxes.
We’ve taken the opportunity while dry to brush and cut greens.
There is an increasing amount of seeding by the Annual Meadowgrass so we’re brushing to stand it up then immediately cutting off as much as possible.
The brushing has the added benefit of standing up any other lateral growth prior to mowing. By continually brushing we are able to remove the need to verticut almost completely which can be detrimental to the good grasses if done too often.
Following the topdressing on Monday morning we used the pedestrian handmowers to cut greens today.
The ride-on machine has just been sharpened and had new bedknives fitted so while there is still some sand around we are using the pedestrian machines to avoid dulling the new blades.
Taking half the course between them it took two men 3.5 hours to cut all the greens and they walked around 9 miles each in the process.
Noticeable in the grass box following the cut was a substantial and increased quantity of Bent leaf. This is a good indication that we are improving the percentage of finer grass present on the surfaces through the overseeding programme.
Our new tractor towed brush has arrived and it will be beginning work shortly on grooming the playing surfaces.
We have opted for the stiff bristles to help lift any matted areas of the sward as well as pull out any dead material prior to mowing.
The brushes are quite aggressive and as a result we will be avoiding any weak areas or drought stressed turf for the timebeing.
Best used in dry conditions the brush pulls out all of the dead or dying foliage.
The effect of lifting the grass is obvious in the above picture of the 3rd fairway and video of the 14th. Cut immediately afterwards the fairways take on a very polished look.
The brush will be used on all surfaces, greens, surrounds, tees, fairways and even the semi-rough.
We have now started treating the greens with growth regulator to encourage thickening of the sward.
This will slow down vertical growth and help us fill in any gaps in the turf left by disease scars.
The greens have blackened slightly following the shock of the application but the colour will return soon. This has been aggravated by the current dry conditions. The important thing is however that we have the first application on before the Meadowgrass started seeding with intent.
The growth regulator went a long way to helping us improve the sward composition last season. When timed well the application slows growth of the canopy at just the right time for seed to germinate with too much competition. We will now follow a regular application programme until September.
The new tee platforms have had their first cut at 15mm and have since been topdressed.
The sand was worked in by hand with plastic rakes and once ameliorated the tees will be mown again then spiked & rolled to improve levels.
The height of cut will gradually be reduced to come in-line with the other tees before the platforms are opened for play later in the season.
We are experiencing another dry start to the year with little to no rainfall and consistent drying winds.
At present however it is only the surfaces which are dry, moisture is present in the soil which is why we are still seeing growth.
None of the turf on greens is showing signs of drought stress yet as we are applying light amounts of irrigation in the mornings as required.
The dry conditions are encouraging the finer grasses to put down deeper roots in order to find moisture. This will benefit us in the future as the turf will become more resilient to stress conditions.
The Meadowgrass is struggling at the moment due to its shallow root system. However, it has yet to begin seeding so we’re hoping for a rise in temperature soon to enable us to begin spraying the growth regulator.
The growth regulator will also help with the differential growth patterns which in turn will go some way to improving smoothness and trueness. For the moment however we will be continuing to apply sand topdressing to help fill in any depressions in the surfaces and this will be alternated with brushing and use of the turf conditioners while cutting to lift any lateral growth.