Thursday, April 4, 2013

Building a Base

Putting green 4.5" root depth
In harsh environments, the ultimate success and sustainability of any putting surface is the ability to maintain deep, dense roots.  The greens here at Bailey Ranch are Creeping Bentgrass which is a cool-season turf that can tends to grow in cooler, more temperate northern regions.  It can, however, tolerate periods intense heat and drought if the plant has sufficient root mass to gather water and nutrients.  For turf managers in the "transition zone", the goal each spring and fall is to grow roots as deeply as possible so there is a better chance to survive whatever harsh conditions the next summer will bring.
Chipping green 7.5" root depth
Root depths are monitored throughout the year and this morning I went around and selected 4-6 greens to audit.  I was pleased to have such a good starting point to work off of since we are now phasing out of winter and into our busy spring growing season.  As I went around, I did notice a big disparity between the original greens (PG,#9,#17, etc..) and the recently renovated chipping green.  I took pictures of the root depths of the putting green and chipping green and you can see from the pictures to the right, that there is a striking difference in depth.
Since putting green soil is comprised of mostly sand, roots must be present for the sand to hold together.  This allows for a good visual indicator of rooting depth and density.  If you look at the pictures to the right you'll see a darker, almost layered composition of the putting green soil profile versus a lighter, more consistent soil profile in the chipping green.  This difference is due to a renovation that was completed on the chipping green in the fall of 2011.  The putting green has 20 years of organic matter built up in it.  You'll notice the cylindrical shaped root mass sticking out of the bottom of the putting green plug.  This is a core aeration hole, confirming the benefits of the process.  The agronomy staff plans to continue an aggressive greens maintenance schedule in order to bring the soil profiles on these older greens up to standard.  Our goal is to have all the greens at the depths you see to the right.
If you have any questions regarding greens maintenance, don't hesitate to ask.  Thanks!

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