On Course News

1st September 2017

Autumn is fast approaching and the agronomy direction starts to change a little. All surfaces that have good grass  coverage need to maintained for the winter months where as the areas that are struggling really need brought on more before the winter months. More air needs to be in the profile as the compaction caused by daily machine, traffic and weather on the surfaces take their toll. Aeration will take place gradually and this will encourage better root development before the winter and will also allow water movement down and up through the profile more. Sometimes its simple, as a breathing human too much intake of water we drown, as a living plant the grass is the same. Too much standing water causes all sorts of problems so allowing the water to get away using aeration equipment that will create fissures in the profile is great and important in the life cycle of the living grass.

I want to give you this little insight into grass seed, cultivars and choices that we make and why.

Attached is a copy of the Sports Turf Research Institutes impartial seed trials and results. On the chart it will show all available grass seed types and cultivars of each species of grass (but I'll focus on bent grasses for greens).

Enabling grass to grow below 4mm in height is difficult so this research, along with experiences are invaluable in created the perfect blend.

Next week will be overseeding greens with a Bent grass mix of 60% Arrowtown and 40% Manor and as you can see with the chart they are the 2 best performing grasses available at this time.

Arrowtown is exceptionally fine and dense with good year round quality that makes it a superb choice for golf greens. It has a light green colour, slightly darker than Manor.

Characteristics and areas of use

Arrowtown is an exceptionally fine and dense browntop cultivar that is ideally suited to closely mowed greens, as well as tees and fairways. It has natural vigour to recover quickly from renovation. It has less tendency to brown under drought stress, and retains its green colour for longer.

On greens the tight, dense surface produced sets new standards for quality. Disease susceptibility is about the same as for other browntops. It is one of the better performing browntops when tested under heat and humidity.

Gone are the days of having little choice of seed and getting an 80-20 fescue bent mix, we can now be site and species specific and with the importance of sowing depths and costs of the seed nothing should be left to chance. Our seed will be sown at a depth of 1-2mm which is basically just making contact with the soil profile, if we put it any deeper the chances of germination decrease. We have to give the seed the best chance possible and after seeding we will cover with 1-2mm sand dressing to protect the vital seeds. Plant growth regulators will continue to be used so that any germinating isn't  competing with existing grasses thus giving the new seeds the best of chances.

Richard Mullen
Course Manager.

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