Wednesday, April 29, 2015

For The Hundredth Time!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Wednesday, April 29th and according to this is my 100th post!  When I began putting all the information together for this update a few days ago, I didn't realize it would be such a momentous occasion.  That is not to say there is any added pressure, but nobody really wants to reach the century mark blogging about frost delays or ball marks.  No, for an occasion worthy of the Roman Numeral C we need a topic that is a real "hot button issue".  We need dead turf!

Rt Side #1 Fairway
Rt Side #1 Fairway (Opposite View)

Rt Side #10 Fairway
Rt Side #10 Fairway (Opposite View)

Left Side #18 Fairway
Left Side #18 Fairway (Opposite View)

There, that should do it.  These areas and a few others are quite indicative of bermudagrass on the heels of a cold winter.  You may recall I posted earlier this year about how the 2014-2015 winter was actually colder than 2013-2014, and how February 2015 was the coldest since 1978.  If not I've linked it HERE for your convenience, but suffice to say courses throughout our region are dealing with this natural phenomenon.  Recently I talked with my counterpart at Hendersonville Country Club, Craig DeJong.  We discussed fairways, winterkill, ring of death, and ferrous sulfate applications to name a few.  I saw Craig's blog post from Sunday and thought he did an excellent job defining the numerous possible causes of winterkill along with the need to give Mother Nature a little more time to definitively determine what will and will not make it.  With Craig's permission I am sharing his blog HERE for those interested.

I know ultimately what is really on everyone's mind isn't so much why, but rather you want to know what is the plan going forward.  There are tournaments coming up on the calendar and you want to know what to expect.  I can tell you we have been doing what we can where we can, and I am still waiting patiently where I need to.  You see not all affected areas are caused by the same reasons as some are shade issues, traffic issues, and wet issues.  The wet areas became engrossed with algae following the eight consecutive days of rain earlier this month.  We ended up spraying those areas to kill the algae and then verticutting them to break up and remove the algae.
Now the turf in these areas can breathe and with a little warmer weather they should fill-in to everyone's satisfaction.

The areas impacted by high traffic and shade I am still waiting for Mother Nature to turn on the heat.  We need to see what happens in these areas once we finally experience consistent weather conducive for bermudagrass growth because there are signs of life.

Signs of Life?
New Leaves Emerging
Call me optimistic but with new leaves emerging we will be better served in the long run if we give what can make it time to make it.  Yes we will need to replace portions of these areas with new turf in the form of sod, but we will replace a lot less a month from now than if we start today.  The good news is we allocated funds in the maintenance budget for winter related turf loss and adequate funds are still available even after the sod work performed earlier this month on the collars.

Speaking of the collars the new turf has taken root and today we topdressed these areas with the same sand we use for patching divots on the range tee (yesterday they were fertilized with an organic fertilizer).  This topdressing will help blend the seams and permit us to mow the turf in the smooth manner required for turf adjacent to putting surfaces.    
Going forward I plan to speak with the Greens Committee during our regularly scheduled meeting next week about the possibility of taking steps to alleviate some of the shade causing culprits.  Tree removal can be a difficult subject on golf courses, but with two consecutive harsh winters and shade negatively impacting fairway turf survival, maybe it's time we more closely examine the situation.  Otherwise it is safe to say we will probably revisit this topic again next year in some capacity.  By the way, did I mention the greens are perfect right now.  At least we've got that going for us.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS

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