Contributed By: Dave Edmondson BSc (Hons), Head Greenkeeper
As part of our agronomic program and in conjunction with the STRI program, a species conversion program was adapted by the club in 2008. Over this period, a switch from mainly poa annua/ bentgrass to fescue/bentgrass has been achieved in many areas. This has seen great results on putting surfaces, aprons and surrounds and tee boxes. We are approaching the stage where we are getting extremely sustainable in these areas, with little to no fertiliser or chemical being applied.
The drought of 2018 showed up a few weaker areas on fairways and a little bit of turfgrass thinning was apparent. Having only commenced with a solid overseeding program in these areas just 5 years ago, it certainly highlighted where extra work was required.
Over the past few months, various overseeding operations have taken place throughout the links. This was carried out in order to further boost fine grass populations and to improve surfaces not only botanically but from a playing perspective also.
2018 Autumn Overseeding
All greens were overseeded using the pot seeding method. This involves shallow tining the greens with a 10mm diameter tine to a depth of 10mm. Following on from this, 240kg of Barrenbrug Bar Fescue seed was spread over the 1.2 hectares that we have here at the club. Seed is then worked into the holes with an Astro turf dragmat and topdressed behind.
Tees and Aprons
All tees were slit seeded using a Vreedo super compact seeder at a rate of 12g per meter square. A heavy topdressing followed after this operation.
Certain high traffic areas of aprons and surrounds were pot seeded using a coated seed.
Being the largest areas on the golf course, fairways have received the largest quantities of new fescue seed. All fairways received a double pass with the vreedo slit seeder at a rate of 10 grams per meter square. Carrying out this work in house is quite a long process and can take a couple of weeks to complete. In areas that lost a little grass cover during the heat, a further pass has been carried out but only on a selective basis.
When the seeding operation is completed it is important to provide consistent, water in the correct quantities, to enable faster germination. As a rule of thumb, we apply 2mm of water over all the surfaces on a nightly basis and back that down to 1mm, once germination has occurred. It is important to keep moisture in the ground until seedlings get established and mature.
Following on from successful establishment of the seedlings, a light application of fertiliser and seaweed is applied to bolster the new seedlings and help them get integrated into the existing sward before the onset of winter. I was told as a young greenkeeper that if you look after your new seedlings, they will ultimately look after you in the long run.
As play levels start to decrease through the less busy winter period, work will be targeted towards links improvement work for the year of 2018. Our winter program has started now and I envisage providing some updates in my following blogs.