Friday, October 23, 2015

The wind continues to blow and it makes you wonder just how many leaves the trees can produce to replace those that are on the ground.  We do have blades on our out-front rough cutters that mulch the leaves up and leave a clean result but the leaves are coming down so fast that you wouldn't think the mowers have been through there.  With so much debris about and small staff numbers we have to prioritise what we do each morning when the wind is lightest as far as clean up is concerned.  The greens are number one as the debris needs to be cleared to allow mowing to take place which is pretty much a daily occurrence. The tees are second as if you can't tee it up - you can't play!  After that it really depends on what else is happening play wise and requirements of other maintenance activities such as mowing and spraying.

We do have a blower that is used on fairways but the problem with that is that the debris is blown in to the rough to make the leaf litter problem even worse.  It is used though as it is fast.  The backpack blowers are used in the bunkers but again controlling where the leaves are blown to is nigh on impossible.  The main problem with the blowers is the noise they produce which means they can't be used early in the mornings and so are generally out amongst the play.  We do have a sweeper as well but the hopper fills very fast and needs to be emptied which obviously has to be in an out of play area.

It is a problem that we experience every year though and the worst is yet to come with some of the Eucalypts about to start shedding bark.  There's nothing better than inspecting the courses on an afternoon when the wind has been low and they are clean.  This afternoon however was not so pleasant given the volume of material on the ground.

The River greens are routinely "de-thatched" during the growth seasonand today our replacement implements were delivered.  They are an Australian made product which is very impressive and they are exported around the world and are by far the most superior de-thatcher available.  They fit on the greens mowers in place of the mowing heads and are adjustable from level to minus 5mm so a lot of material can be removed with not too much surface disruption.  This is a definition of "thatch" and the role of these implements is to remove it;  "The intermingled layer of living and dead grass stems, roots and other organic matter that is found between the soil surface and the leaf blades."  Keeping thatch under control is possibly the most important management consideration of couchgrass greens, in particular the variety Tifeagle.  In past years walk behind "scarifiers" have been used that cause quite severe disruption to the surface prolonging recovery.  That is when the term "tram lines" was once used.

New de-thatching head.

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