From the Golf Course
Next week we will be starting our spring aeration of greens, tees and fairways. While this is never a popular procedure with any golfer it is one of the most beneficial agronomic things that we do. This spring year we will not be pulling cores in our aeration procedure, instead we will be using a deep tine machine that only pokes a hole in the turf and into the sub grade. The purpose of this hole is not to relieve any compaction, but to allow a channel for oxygen, water and nutrients to move into the soil profile. Spring is also the most opportune time for the turf grass plant to put down roots; this channel makes it much easier for the plant to do this.
On greens we will be using a very small 5/16” tine, again remember we are not trying to fill that channel. The goal is to leave access to the subsoil, but also return the surface back to normal as soon as possible. We will be topdressing, brooming and rolling the surface to help make it smooth. At this time we will be also applying some granular fertilizer and then watering everything in. The greens should respond very well to the procedures and we look for them to return to normal very soon after we are done.
On fairways we are also using a deep tine machine. You should see very little disruption to play from this procedure. On tees we will be also be using the deep tine machine followed by topdressing and dragging that material in the holes.
As many of you know we have a lot of annual bluegrass or “poa” on our fairways. This is an undesirable turf that gets started on all golf courses. This grass can be a problem during the seed bloom in the spring and during the late summer when it dies out because of shallow rooting. During the spring bloom it becomes a very bumpy and rough looking surface to play on. Our intent is to manage that seed bloom this spring with growth retarding products. We then intend to use other products during the summer that encourage growth of good bentgrass thereby trying to control the poa, with the eventual goal of eradicating it in the fairways. You may see a slight discoloration of the fairways over the next couple of weeks. Do not be alarmed, they are not sick, they just may not appear as green and lush as they have been since we have opened. This discoloration is sometimes a side effect of growth retarding materials. The main objective is to control the poa plant and stop it from seeding so you the golfer have a better surface to play on with the added benefit of eliminating some of the seed bank in the soil.
This cold spell has done some damage to our early flowering trees and quite possibly to the fruit crop. Your trees at home may show some signs of damage from the cold. More than likely in June you may see some premature leaf drop or you may see buds falling off of the tree now. They will bud again and be alright. Many times an early freeze can have this effect. Don’t be alarmed, your trees have the ability to deal with this and come out of the damage just fine over time.
Even though it has been very cold, the time to do your spring crab grass application is right now. Please follow label directions. If you over apply that can have a detrimental effect on the turf grass plant.