Happy Independence Day to everyone and Happy Canada Day for our Canadian friends! I hope everyone is having a good summer so far. Good news – we saw 1/8-inch of rain in June. It wasn’t much, but we will take whatever is given to us. It has been so dry, the ground just sucked it up.
We are still actively patching the bare areas on the greens with good sod from our chipping green and with good results. As you can imagine, this is a time-consuming project. Along with the patching of the greens, we have also been shrinking the ugly areas in the roughs and fairways with free grass we accumulate from the golf course, like when we trim and edge the sand traps or edge cart paths to name a few spots. With the portable sprinklers running and scrap grasses, we have significantly reduced these spots. This will help with the winter course to give the seed a better chance of survival, protecting it from the environment. Plus, it just looks much better!
I’m sure you are wondering why we have areas that used to have grass and now we don’t. We’re experiencing transition. This is when we lose the winter grass and make way for the summer grass. Areas that are most notable are around some of the greens. We are working hard to bring those areas back as fast as possible! Unfortunately, transition can take up to two months. Usually when we see monsoon rains, the summer grass really fills in. In the meantime, we are running portable sprinklers to get extra water onto these spots, and additionally running the verti-cutters to open the thatch and soil to get more water penetration.
You may have noticed that we have been trimming the low branches on the trees. There are a few reasons I believe this is a priority. This will allow for more of a full swing if needed during your round. It also will help with air movement. The most important reason, in my opinion, is to allow the sprinklers to run more efficiently. The branches tend to deflect the spray pattern; thus, we aren’t getting proper coverage. Irrigation systems are designed to water head-to-head for it to be effective in a perfect world! However, this is not always the case. For instance, on #9 green we have a sprinkler spacing up to 90 feet where we were designed to have only 65 feet between the sprinklers. I suspect that is the case with #3 green, too. I have been working with our sales rep who supplies us with our irrigation products. We have been experimenting with different nozzle combinations to help with the 25-foot difference.
Now some bad news – I believe our salt problem that we experienced this winter is showing its ugly head again! Where the water drains off the surface around the greens we are having problems with the Bermuda grass filling in. The salt is most likely not fully worked through the soil profile. We will begin dethatching these areas heavily, as well as aerate them along with the greens again in July. I will be borrowing a walk-behind aerifyer from another facility. When we get the lime down and feel we have flushed the remaining salt through the profile, we will slice seed in some Bermuda grass seed to expedite the transition. I am using lime this time because it breaks down faster than calcium, and we should see faster results. In this case, I believe the raising of the PH of the soil will be insignificant compared to the benefits.