|Your First Green.|
|Your Fourteenth Green.|
Why did this green decline? The hottest, driest July in recorded history did little in keeping this green alive.
It is a fact that this is the fourth smallest green on the golf course measuring in at 2611 square feet. (Tri City has three greens at 1700 square feet!) This green like many on the course lack both good internal and external surface drainage. I'm aware of two layers in this green that limit internal drainage and rooting depth. All drainage, as was normal of greens of that age, is spilled off the front of the green. It sits in a tight pocket ringed by trees which limits good air circulation. Foot traffic enters the green from the left of the bunker and exits directly to the right. Our hand watering efforts were in vain as we were using river water several degrees warmer than soil temperatures. At one time I heard the water temperature was 88 degrees warm! It goes to show you that how the lack of snowfall this past winter influenced temperatures of the water by reducing the input of cold spring feed water into the river. Hand watering left the soils saturated and increased base temperatures exacerbating root decline. By my estimate, 90% of this green was composed of Poa Annua. A shallow rooted weed that thrives under tight, moist, compacted conditions present. As I feared, the Summer Patch pathogen was diagnosed on a disease sample submitted for testing to the Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab, UW-Madison Department of Plant Pathology. This disease establishes itself in the root system clogging the water carring vessels. The effects of the disease isn't known until the full blown stress of summer is upon us. Too late to save the plants now.
|I'm inserting this photo to illustrate how deep tine aerifcation perforated the heavy soils. This channel appears to function in a limited capacity. BTW; This photo was taken on #14.|
(Ideally, this green with several others should be replaced with larger greens better suited for today's play and golfer expectations.)
So what did we do?
We are developing our technique as we go and is loosely based on the gassing and regrassing efforts Jerry Kershasky used in regrassing the putting greens at Westmoor CC and University Ridge Golf Course. I also followed up with several superintendents with experience in this area. I did not have pictures of the process as we were trying to get the seedbed prepped should the predicted rains fall.
First we punched this green with .5" solid tines as deeply as our aerifier could go. (4") We topdressed and backfilled the open holes. We aerified with .25" open tines set up in 2 x 5 block tine holders set at a shallow depth to create pockets of open pores for the seed to fall. We applied half the seed prepared for this green. We then deeply verticult to create grooves. Applied the second half of the seed. Dragged the topdressing to cover the seed in the grooves. Lightly raked any debris. Rolled. Applied starter fertilizer and watered to settle the dust (and to keep the meager 10% of any turf still left alive on that green.)
Renovation of this green should be viewed as new construction and as such this putting surface will be closed for the remainder of the year and with good weather a reopening sometime late May. The turf will need time to "knit" together before it gets hammered by daily play. I will post further photo's of our regrassing efforts as we try to boost the bentgrass populations in several other greens on the course.
Unfortunately, this green was showing her age, but with a little luck, a timely face lift will be appreciated in the days to come. _Mk