Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When are they going to mow?

I have heard a few questions about when our first cut on the greens will be and when will the putting surfaces green up. Well while I am not the most patient guy but when I comes to mowing and fertilizing in the spring I try to show some constraint. I was very happy to receive the email below that I think backs up my decision making process.

Bumpy and Bedraggled Greens

By Clark Throssell, Ph.D.

Does bumpy and bedraggled describe the condition of your greens today? If it does, you are not alone. Many rounds of golf were played this winter on greens that are normally not in play because of a layer of snow. The good news is increased revenue; the bad news is bumpy greens that need some attention.

Keep in mind it is still early March. Avoid the temptation to jump full speed into your greens management program. It is highly likely that your course will receive another round or two of cold temperatures and more snow is not out of the question in many locations. And don't forget, spring in northern locations is usually marked by dramatic swings in temperature.

For now, rely on rolling to smooth the putting surface and increase green speed. Don't go overboard with rolling; be as gentle as possible while making the improvements to the greens that are necessary. I am not a fan of mowing early in the spring. The reason is that mowing stimulates leaf growth. It is far too early in many northern locations to encourage leaf growth.

And keep the fertilizer spreaders parked in the maintenance facility. Warm temperatures, not fertilizer, will stimulate the creeping bentgrass/annual bluegrass to grow. Wait and see what happens with the weather before fertilizing. Be certain the soil temperatures are consistently near 50° F before considering a fertilizer application. Roots are not very efficient at taking up nutrients when soils are cold.

Hopefully the weather will return to a spring-like pattern so you can enjoy March Madness in relative peace and cheer for your favorite team.

Clark Throssell, Ph.D., research editor for Golfdom and a turfgrass scientist, can be reached at clarkthrossell@bresnan.net.


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A.W. Tillinghast

A.W. Tillinghast
Architect Forest Hill Field Club "I know of one club which is about to make heroic efforts to eliminate every root of poa annua which flourishes on their greens and yet these same greens are remarkably true. This would seem to bear out the contention of one celebrated expert that poa annua should be encouraged and not despised. He asserts that if it is not regarded as a weed but nourished and kept carefully cut, it will produce wonderfully hardy and true turf." "That is poa annua, a sort of outcast blue grass. It drops its seed plentifully and spreads rapidly. Maybe it would be well to try a test bed of it and give the poor old bum a real chance. He may prove a gentleman after all."

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I hope you enjoy this look into our department and find it informative and fun. I will be posting on topics that are related to the maintenance of the course, projects, interaction with the enviroment, and golf course architecture. Please visit often.

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