May 25, 2015

Greens Update

Here we are nearing the end of May, and still dealing with the consequences of unfortunate weather events that happened back in December and January, almost half the year ago.  It has been no secret that all of the Poa annua in our greens and collars did not make it through the winter, the amazingly odd part has been that very little of the Poa in the greens has decided to recover much yet either.  While the collars are very slowly filling back in, I estimate that only about 10-20 percent of the Poa that died in the greens is making a return to life.

This situation presents a bit of a double-edged sword for us.  The greens are in much less than desirable condition right now with the voids from all the dead Poa leaving the putting surfaces about as smooth as a gravel parking lot.  Conversely, if the Poa decides it doesn't want to come back, great.  We are doing all that we can so far this spring to push the bentgrass into filling in the voids where the Poa died.  The more bentgrass is in our greens and collars, the less we will have to deal with scenarios like this in the future.

There is hardly a single living blade of Poa annua is this picture.  Normally by
now all of those dead voids would be filled with Poa bursting to life.  For whatever
reason, that has not happened this year.

So far this spring we have been doing all that we can to keep the bentgrass spreading out into the dead voids.  A little bit of extra topdressing sand has helped level out the depressions making the greens putt a little smoother, and giving the bentgrass something to spread into.  Furthermore we have been filling some of the larger voids with bentgrass plugs from our practice green, utilizing smooth rollers on our cutting units, doing a bit of spot seeding here and there, and regularly rolling.  Combined with a little bit of extra fertilizer and the areas are slowly starting to fill in.  However, it is a long road back back in some areas still.

18 green received some serious attention last week with the collar getting
sodded out, about 100 bentgrass plugs in the larger Poa voids, and spiked, seeded,
and topdressed in the smaller damage areas.

Lots of plugs in the front of 11 green
Getting started cutting plugs out of the practice hole green.  We will likely take
another 1,000 more before its all said and done.

Lastly, 16 green is showing some serious recovery after having been seeded and covered for the last few weeks.  All of our bentgrass seed germinated (although amazingly, almost no Poa seeds did.)  We will likely open hole 16 back up in the next few days as the new bentgrass seedlings start to mature and take hold.  It will likely putt a bit slower than the rest of the greens for a few weeks as we continue to go easy on it to allow for complete recovery.

Lots of bentgrass seedlings are filling in the bare areas in 16 green.  It should
make an almost complete recovery here in the next few weeks.
Needless to say, this has been a very trying spring so far.  It is extremely frustrating to deal with damage to the golf course that is the result of weather events that happened months ago.  However, we are making the most of a bad situation by quickly converting our greens to a mostly pure stands of bentgrass.  The more Poa annua we can keep from coming back this year, the more consistent our greens will be in the summer months, and the less devastating loss of turf we will have to deal with in coming winters.

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