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Presentation begins to improve as the increased mowing and maintenance practices give the turf a more polished look.

Spring maintenance on the Links

It’s getting to that time of year again when we begin to increase the work we do to the surfaces at the Home of Golf.

The wetting agent programmes to assist in moisture management are now up and running. They allow irrigation and rainfall to be held in the upper soil profile for slightly longer which allows the water to be more available to the grass plant. These applications will be made monthly until September.

The first fertiliser and seaweed applications have now been made to encourage growth. This will aid in the recovery of any damage and thinning from play over the winter months. Light and frequent sand top-dressing will also continue to be made to smooth the surfaces. This also helps to keep the surfaces free-draining and firm.

Topdressing

Topdressing greens

One of the main reasons for topdressing is to dilute the fibre that is produced by the grass plant’s old roots, shoots and stems (otherwise known as thatch). If this becomes too high it has a negative effect on playability, especially after periods of rain when the surface becomes softer due to the thatch working like a sponge and retaining the moisture.

This can be one of our operations that golfers sometimes comment on due to the disturbance to the putting green quality but unfortunately, it’s an important job and needs to be done! It can also give greenstaff some difficulties for a few days afterwards as if it’s damp in the mornings, this can cause the mowers to bring the sand back up to the surface which blunts the mower blades. This also slows down the cutting process as well as making it messy.

As growth increases we will be doing more surface refining. This will be in the way of grooming, verti-cutting, brushing and rolling.

Verti- cutting

The machinery we use for verti-cutting.

Spring is a tricky time of year. We have several different grass species that make up the playing surfaces. This is important for all year round play as different grasses perform better at particular times of the year. This, however, means that they start growing at different times which can lead to a little loss in uniformity. Lowering the heights and increasing the frequency of mowing helps with this.

Brushing and cutting greens

Pedestrian mowing with brush attachment.

Presentation begins to improve as the increased mowing and maintenance practices give the turf a more polished look.

Let’s hope that the weather continues to improve and summer is just around the corner! I’m sure we would all like to get a few games in the sunshine and short sleeves this year.

Explore our courses by visiting our website.

 

Words by Allan Patterson, Course Manager – The Castle Course