Friday, April 22, 2016

Greens Drainage Preventative Maintenance

Now that the rainy season is upon us, and summer not far behind, it is the perfect time to perform some preventative maintenance on our greens drainage.  As you can see from the picture above, Joe Miller, our irrigation/drainage technician, spent some time this week flushing clean water through the drainage pipe under the greens. Joe uses a special nozzle, pictured to the right, that does a great job clearing out any debris found in the pipe.

Over time, the drainage system will collect debris and may eventually become clogged.  During frequent irrigation, or rainy weather, the soil inside the greens can fill up with water rather quickly.  A clogged drain doesn't give the water anywhere to go, therefore the root zone will become saturated and stay that way.  This causes the greens to become very soft, disease is more frequent, and the roots will die back up to the surface (making them very short).  This compromised root zone does not allow the turf to handle all the typical stresses of summer, and often results in thin, or dead, turf.

Realizing how important the drainage system is to our success, flushing out the drainage has become a fixture on our annual preventative maintenance schedule.  We feel that by keeping our drainage system working properly, as well as a comprehensive cultivation program, we have the best chance to maintain quality putting surfaces year to year despite whatever weather challenges we may face.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Course Update for March

March has always been a transition month in this part of the country.  Some years it can be warm and give you an early start to the season.  Other years, it can be cold and just another month of winter.  Most often it's a little bit of both.  This year March started off mild and had all of us thinking we would get an early start to spring.  Leading up to, and during, core aeration in mid-March, the temperature was above average and had all the short-cut turf waking up rather quickly.  Since then, we've had a handful of frosts that have effectively shut down any additional green up.  We've actually lost color since mid-March.  This is the most frustrating part of spring in this part of the country.  You get excited about greening up and getting a good start to the growing season, and then winter reminds you that it's still early and not done yet.

Aside from the weather, the staff was very busy,
not only finishing up our winter to-do list but, working on preparing the course for the season.  Core aeration on greens, stump grinding, course wide pre-emergent application, topdressing divots on tees, and mowing all surfaces. March is also when our seasonal staff begins to return and so much of our time was spent training them on course setup and other tasks.

With March behind us, and much of the critical spring work is completed, we can begin to settle into our maintenance programs and groom the course as it continues to wake up from winter.  Over the next 30 days, we will continue to acquire/train staff, increase mowing schedules, and ramp up our cultural programs (venting, spiking, verticutting, topdressing).