Sunday, November 20, 2011

A chain of events

A combination of events has transpired to put the West greens under some pressure.  The product that was applied to control the Poa annua in the greens which was highlighted in a photo a couple of posts ago has certainly been successful with an excellent result evident.  However the constant north winds that have been blowing virtually 24 / 7 for the past three weeks has meant that the irrigation overnight is virtually a waste of time as the water loss from evaporation and windspray means little is actually making it to the ground.  There has been a lot of hand watering happening to try and supplement the irrigation in addition to using water to blow the leaf debris off the greens.  I had an "irrigation suitability test" done on the irrigation water recently and the result was "not desirable to be used for irrigation of turf"! The water has high concentrations of salts and chloride and is not conducive to promoting turf growth.  However when that is the only water source you have, there is no choice.  Soil temperatures in the greens is already hovering around 27 degrees and the water in the irrigation dam is sitting on 24 degrees which doesn't result in too much cooling. We also now have an algal bloom happening at the treatment works where the irrigation water is sourced and that is severely impacting the quantity of water available, dropping our supply to less than 30%.  This combination of events means that the Bentgrass is struggling to recover where the Poa annua has been removed and with the weakened plant disease has been able to affect the turf sward.  The irrigation water has never been of high enough quality for irrigation of turf but the only time it becomes an issue is in times of low rainfall as we are experiencing at the moment.

The fairways will also start to stress in some areas now as there is not enough water available for them to be irrigated in the short term, although the amount we can put on them is not enough to keep them healthy enough to combat the wear and tear of the motorised buggies at any time.  Once again this is a result of the low rainfall and sandy soils. The recently turfed areas are yet to be mown down as that would put undue pressure on them so they will stay a lot longer than normal until the water situation changes or we get some rain. (The forecast for later this week sounds promising).

One of the other impacts the wind has is preventing us from spraying, especially weeds, so there is an abundance of weeds germinating around the courses, particularly in the bunkers.  Although the way the bunkers act as "leaf collectors" its hard to see any sand let alone weeds!!

This coming Thursday, November 24th, we will be using a travel tower to do some pruning to the trees overhanging the practice nets adjacent to the putting greens.  This will necessitate the closing of all the practice nets on Thursday.  Access from the Pro Shop to the first tees will also be affected so I apologise in advance for any disruption that may be encountered in the immediate area.

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