Changing Colours

With yet another successful course preparation and presentation for the Pro Am and Capel Cup under our belt, members will see a few minor works commence around the course, a few of the task include raising the ground area around the 5th Gum tree where tree roots are surfacing and posing a risk to players playing the shots from the immediate vicinity, the area will be filled to 12inch depth covering the tree roots and surrounding area, and will be more of a raised area than a mound. This should prevent broken wrist from players yet still keep the tree and roots healthy.

Other similar type works will be attended to the right of the 1st green, more for maintenance issues than the errant shots of players, maintenance vehicle tracks around the course and cart path entrance and exit points. The cart path exit and entrance points will then be turfed in spring. Some “housekeeping” around maintenance facility will also keep us busy when not on the course either through member events or inclement weather. 

We won’t be taking our eye off course presentation to much, with the Ladies Open Day and Holden Scramble coming up, the staff have a full schedule on their hands for the next 3 to 4 week period.

Moving on from the general work schedules I have been asked lately why the some greens are showing purple areas of discolouration, these areas are not  disease patches or some serious infection or cause for major concern, they are a natural reaction of the bentgrass during winter and the colder months, much like the changes of colour to plant leaves in Autumn.

 Expanding on that specifically, during late autumn, winter and early spring,  periods of warm days encourage bentgrass to produce sugars by  photosynthesis in leaves which are normally translocated to the roots and crowns of the plant, during cold nights the translocation of these sugars is slowed / stopped with the sugars remaining in the leaves for longer,  these sugars are commonly bound with anthocyanins, pigments that are responsible for the red, purple and blue in flowers and the changing colour of leaves in trees and plants through the seasons with the same effect on bentgrass leaves.  These colours may intensify as night temperatures become colder. 
To further explain the patchiness of the colours within a green, penncross bentgrass, (the bentgrass we have in our greens), is what is termed a hybrid bentgrass consisting of 3 parent materials, each parent has its own characteristics, sometimes clones of the parent material can colonise small areas which exhibit some qualities / characteristics of one of the parent plants, these areas then display those characteristics in this case colour responses to the above processes, at least 3 different colour responses can occur and a mix of shades between them. 

Poa annua (winter grass) can also display different shades of green and purple, with the use of plant growth regulators to suppress winter grass growth to give a competitive advantage back to the slow growing penncross bentgrass in the colder months can also increase and intensify the varying colour changes of the bentgrass and wintergrass. The shades of purple and blue can become shades of orange particularly through windy, cold and dry conditions as we continue to suppress winter grass and increase rates as winter progresses. 

Lastly, during the late Autumn and Winter months we do not irrigate greens, with less evapotranspiration occurring we rely on rainfall only, during long periods between rain events, greens dry out, we use these periods as a means to stress out the winter grass though we may handwater dry patches, all of which also encourage varying colour changes and intensities within the bentgrass leaves.

Certain patch diseases can exhibit similar responses and we do have some instances in greens at present which are under treatment although the symptoms are not as pronounced and in the main, the patches which are most visible are the result of the winter colour responses.

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