For many years I've maintained the mantra that "If it is sown there and grows there it will stay there until it dies there!" Well that was until the miserable spring and summer of 2011 pushed me to the limits of my tolerance levels when trying to re-establish turf cover on our sixteenth greens putting surface. I set the fifteenth of September as a drop dead date in my mind knowing seed establishment after this date is greatly compromised by frost and cold shorter days. If measurable gains were not attained by that date, I would do something I didn't want to do and that was to plug out the ulcers with our nursery green sod.
|A template was used to maintain uniform plug thickness.|
|Larger areas were sodded at traditional sod cutter widths and is much more difficult to bring to level.|
My network of peers from all walks of the profession all advised me to "avoid sod at all costs because there are too many obstacles to overcome, and the patches will be visible for most of a decade. I can attest to that as there was an ultra visible sod stripe through the middle of one of our greens needed to repair an hydraulic oil leak that was visible for better than eight years when I took this job so many years ago. I too remember using my own version of "washed sod" to hasten (another lesson learned) the opening of #15 green the summer of 1989 that remains visible to this day with a sharp eye.
|You will know this area was sodded for many years to come. (2020?)|
|Shade is not the only issue facing #16. This push up style of green was made with donated Muck soil.|
A disease sample sent to the University of Wisconsin Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab from this green did not show a cause for decline and currently is listed as "Abiotic Stress." However speaking with Dr. Jim Kerns, turfgrass plant pathologist at the University of Wisconsin said and I quote, "this sample was 'unlike' any sample to cross my desk this season." You can be sure the next time I see similar symptoms I'm going to personally rush a sample into the lab.
|Frustration, you can see the success in our May 1st seeding attempt, but why hasn't this plant spread out filling in the voids?|
|Our patched project looks good from a distance.|
|"The Halo Effect," I've never sodded without this symptom showing up. Optical illusion between healthy dense turf plug or the thin turf being plugged into? Or is it the first signs of incompatibility between the new and old surfaces?|
To this end, we should consider limiting fall play on some of our weakened putting surfaces. We know why turf dies but we do not know when the turf dies. As the turf is no longer actively growing, how much additional duress can we place on weakened turf before it succumbs is any ones guess? We'll all know the answer to this question next spring.
Speaking of next spring. Should we experience another episode of winter injury like we did this year, there will be temporary greens employed to hasten recovery! With that said, we will be utilizing as many preventative measures as our budget allows to mitigate turf loss this winter. We will be removing a ring of sod to aid surface drainage before winter in an attempt to alleviate the ponding of water on putting surfaces. Greens will also "solid tine" greens before snow cover to open some channels to move water away from the crowns. (Deep tining would be better.) And will be following the latest development in turf covers to see if they could assist us here. _Mk