Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bermuda Encroachment in Greens

Chalky residue from Tupersan application
Each season, we enter into a power struggle between the warm-season Bermudagrass collars and the cool-season Bentgrass putting greens.  The lateral growth habit, and aggressive nature, of Bermudagrass during the summer is at odds with the Bentgrass just trying to survive.  This can cause
Slot created from edger
the Bermudagrass to creep into the greens, therefore reducing the size of the greens over time.  Allowing greens to shrink has several negative impacts: more difficult to hit with an approach shot, reduction in pin locations, and foot traffic is concentrated within a smaller area which will affect turf quality.

At the start of spring, when the collars begin to green up, we use two popular methods to prevent this encroachment from occurring.  First, we spray a pre-emergent product called Tupersan.  This herbicide has the ability to prevent the Bermudagrass from rooting into the green with no negative effects to the underlying Bentgrass.  Doug, our chemical technician, applies this product along the edge of the green every 4 weeks throughout the growing season.  The second method we use is weekly edging of the green.  A walk-behind edger is used to cut down approximately two inches into the soil to sever the Bermudagrass stolons that are creeping into the greens edge.  This weekly process will continue until the Bermudagrass goes dormant again this fall.        

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!

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Flag Design

A new flag design was unveiled today. The checkered flag design has been replaced with a plain white flag with a black border.  The idea to change the design was born from some issues that were realized while using the checkered flags.  The old flags were much heavier which caused the flag sticks to lean and bend under windy conditions.  The old flags were also expensive and difficult to see at a distance.
The new,simplified look accomplishes several objectives.  First, they are much lighter and will not wear out the flag sticks, and cups, as fast.  Second, less fabric allows the flag to accurately display softer wind conditions, and direction, during your approach shot.  Finally, due to less fabric and stitching, they are much more cost effective to replace.  We sincerely hope you enjoy the new course accessories!