Friday, August 25, 2017

The countdown to the start of the conversion of the front 9 West greens to TifEagle is gaining momentum and most of the goods required have now been ordered.  The temporary greens are progressing well and are now in the process of having their mowing height lowered as can be seen in the photo below.  Hopefully the weather will once again behave this year and give us the perfect conditions we experienced last year which allowed us to proceed almost unhindered.

9W temporary striping up

As mentioned in the last post weed control has commenced following the flush of growth caused by the fertiliser application which had a great result.  Unfortunately the wrong plants seemed to benefit the most from the fertiliser with the Kikuyu and Blue couch greening right up but this will help them better take in the products that are used to control them.  The results of the first application are clearly visible and it is hoped for a smooth transition as the less desirable grasses die off and the "green couches" take over.
Qld Blue couch dying off

The Queensland Blue Couch as it is known is neither from Queensland nor is it a Couch.  It actually comes from the genus Digitaria which includes several weeds such as Summergrass which is often mistaken for Crowsfoot.  Qld Blue does make for a nice surface but is very prone to disease attack and is very difficult to control weeds in due to its sensitivity to some herbicides.

Kikuyu dying off

I traveled to New Zealand last week and attended the Fine Turf Seminar which was held in Dunedin.  The temperature rarely got above 10 degrees so there was not a lot of Couchgrass talk but many good presentations on surface presentation, preparation and pest control.  The Seminar was held at the Forsyth Barr Stadium where the Wallabies take on the All Blacks tomorrow in the Bledisoe Cup.  The ground was being mown by hand (yes with walk behind mowers) and the All Blacks conducted a training session one afternoon.  We were in an area  (inside and heated thankfully) that overlooked the ground and were told to move back from the windows and not watch them train!!  Lucky they didn't know there were a few Australians in the audience to potentially pass on their secrets!!!

2 groundsmen walk mowing the field!!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

It's pretty obvious that if you want to plan an event of some description and you need good weather then just follow the dates the Cool Tweed Vets use for their week of golf!!  Another stunning week of weather this week and as always come Friday the courses are in better condition than they were at the start of the week, such is the diligence of players and marshals alike with respect to course care.  Which is quite a statement considering we probably had close to 500 players each day this week!!

I mentioned the fertiliser last week that has been applied to the fairways which has had a great result in greening them up and this week with the warm day time temperatures the  undesirable grasses in the fairways - Kikuyu, Wintergrass and Blue Couch - have sucked up the fertiliser and started growing to the extent that weed control has been bought forward.  We started this week with a product that acts very slowly but very effectively across a range of the weeds in the fairways.  It is applied at just 300 millimetres per hectare which is only a bit more than a cupful and when you consider that 18R fairway is a hectare in area that means one cup over that entire fairway!!  To do that you need extremely accurate equipment and competent staff which we have.  Over the coming weeks another product will be used that does cause some dis-coloration but it is only temporary.  We are also spot spraying some of the harder to kill weeds.

Blue couch and Kikuyu enjoying the fertiliser and sun

Spot treatment of weeds on fairways

The River greens received a solid tine aerate last week which was the first time they had been opened up over the winter months.  The back 9 West greens received the same treatment again today which is part of their ongoing program.  Opening the greens lets some much needed oxygen to reach the rootzone which is very important as TifEagle is known for poor root development.  Thus far we still have roots deeper than the hole cup which is very good.  As one of the Supers I visited in the USA said - "it's keeping them there that's the hard part Pete"!!   

Great root depth

And just for fun a slo-mo video of the solid tine aeration of the West greens this morning.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The warmer temperatures and beautiful sunny days have certainly helped the liquid fertiliser that has been applied to the fairways to really kick in with some excellent colour noticeable.  It isn't really warm enough for the fairway grasses to come to life just yet but it's a pleasant look on the courses.  Throughout the low growth months of winter the divots left in fairways are much more noticeable as there is little to no recovery and those divots that are sanded are very obvious.  It is very important for the divots to be filled with sand to allow fellow players the chance of not finishing in a depression but rather a sandy lie.  Too much sand is bad for the surface and most particularly the mowers so a little care taken with refilling your divots goes a long way to improving the courses.  Certainly the attempt to fill divots on 6W tee below is less than desirable!!
Not the way to fill divots
The temporary greens on the front nine West are developing and give a great demonstration of just how important full sunlight is for turf to grow properly.  The photos of 3W which is nearly in total shade and 9W which gets substantial sunlight are prime examples.  The USGA course advisory service has a saying that "if your turf isn't getting 8 hours sunlight a day.....why isn't it?"  In other words if you want quality turf then the sun needs to reach the ground.  The greens were sown with a mixture of Poa Trivialis and Bentgrass and the Trivialis is supposed to be an "elite shade grass" which still isn't good enough to get it to germinate well on 3W.

9W temporary germination

3W struggling for germination