Yesterday marked the start of the second stage of Fall Aerficiation on the golf course. Scheduling conflicts are preventing us from pulling cores on fairways this year but we have moved forward with pulling cores on approaches and spiking fairways. Below are some pictures and explanations on the process.
Since taking over as golf course superintendent at Longue Vue, one of the biggest changes that I have has implemented is the expansion of the approaches or "closely mown areas" in front of the greens. These areas vary hole by hole depending on multiple factors including yardage, playability and how the expansion could frame the hole aesthetically. The goal is to provide an area in front of the green to improve playability from a shot making level not only for chip shots (whether to chip or putt) but to improve firmness for approach shots into the green complexes. This conversion is going to take time as the turf has to adapt to lower heights of cut. The process began with verti-cutting.
Verti-cutting is a cultural practice used to remove thatch. Cutting units (that look like ninja stars) are used to create channels into the thatch layer for removal; as seen below. Thatch is a nuisance to healthy turf on multiple fronts: achieving lower heights of cut, water infiltration, nutrient uptake and root growth are just to name a few.
The second step was using the method of grooming to clean-up the debris (thatch) created from verti-cutting along with providing the added benefit of reducing the density of the leaf canopy. Finished product is shown below:
Finally, we pulled cores at a depth of 3 inches on 2 x 2 inch spacing.
Next spring, prior to the golf season, we hope to conduct these process again. Followed by an additional verti-cut/groom on approaches in mid-late May.
Ryegrass in Fairways:
A common question as I make my rounds around the property this past season has been, "Josh, what are these different grasses in the fairways and how do they get there?" Well as much as I would love to bore all of you with the reasoning and explanation of the introduction of Ryegrass into our fairways, how bout I just respond with....I'm trying to find the recipe for eradication! Unfortunately, the common product used on cool season grasses has been taken off market, so over the past couple of weeks, we have conducted various test trails (seen below) throughout the property with a variety of different products at different rates to see the tolerance on the existing bentgrass and Poa of our fairways. Trials will continue on the 8th fairway over the next couple of weeks, in hopes of finding the right recipe to treat all infested areas next fall.