Its hard to believe our Autumn Greens renovations are a little over a week away although we are not expecting a sudden drop to Autumn like temperatures we do hope temperatures moderate to at least below 30 unlike the past week with temperatures of 30+ up to 35.
We can’t control the weather and we are locked in to carry out renovations the first weekend after the Labour Day long weekend due to play commitments, it maybe slightly earlier than desired as the heat does bring challenges for renovations but it also has its benefits in that the greens are normally fully recovered with full cover of turf prior to the cooler weather germination of Poa annua (Winter Grass). To leave the greens later than desired would be more of a concern as it leaves the greens susceptible to Poa invasion through a thinner turf canopy during favourable germination times for this weed, restricts both pre and post emergent control measures and less likely the greens may only partially recover enough in time for the slower growing colder months leaving them susceptible to wear and thinning of the turf further encouraging winter grass infestation more so than the incidence we presently experience.
That said it still feels very strange talking of greens renovations when experiencing 30+ degree odd days and certainly has me thinking how this summer’s hectic rush has made time seemingly flyby arriving in Autumn it what appears a few weeks to soon, or I am simply getting old, I will need to see Mick about that to see if there’s some truth in it.
Coming out of summer (and I use that term loosely) I am happy with the greens performance, moving forward there remain a few challenges we need to address, but certainly we can see slight improvements in a few key areas namely, Crab grass incidence, Saltene and Couch grass encroachment and summer green speeds. The three weed grasses, are notoriously difficult to control in bent grass with limited options for control however there is a downward trend in overall percentages which is encouraging. Looking ahead we plan to be more aggressive in the lead up to next summer with control measures, something we were restricted with this past season due to the National Vets in November and in a longer term strategy hope to construct a nursery area over this winter period to allow us to commence removal of severely contaminated areas in the near future.
Green speeds are always an issue through summer, this summer was no different though it must be pointed out a few changes to maintenance practices and few ‘new’ measures implemented, one was the extended application of growth regulators to greens which resulted in a slight increase in pace compared to past years, I will continue to trial rates best suited for our environment in view of narrowing the bridge between Player wants and Turf health needs with the later taking precedence over all else.
Back to renovations and excessive heat in the lead up to renovations is our main concern, after renovations the heat may impede recovery to some extent but with much cooler night time temperatures and products applied to stimulate growth for recovery the turf is growing well enough for this not to be an issue as long as correct moisture content is maintained.
In the lead up week it does pose a few challenges, in this period we like to verti cut greens, apply post emergent control measures for Couch, Saltene and Crab grass, these practices do come with a certain risk of injury to the turf and under normal conditions with favourable weather the risk is very minor and the greens recover quickly from any potential injury through the renovation process however when temperatures rise above 30 degrees generally it is an accepted practice to stop all herbicide treatments on Bent grass due to the increased and unacceptable risk of injury to the turf which would slow down the recovery process and in some cases require further intervention. In many cases the products are less effective particularly in the case of Couch grass control in Bent grass with just the one registered product which acts more as a suppressant with control negligible under hotter conditions.
Should temperatures remain high we may decide to postpone the control measures to ensure the greens recover from renovations in a speedy manner and apply the products under favourable weather conditions after renovations to ensure the products adequate efficacy, this may mean the 3 main weed grasses linger on for longer after renovations than normal.
Now that this post has turned into an epic novel I’ll get back to work and leave you with some reading time between rounds.