With Golf courses on the verge of opening post COVID lockdown, how have your course preparations been going and are you ready for golfers to return?
Is all your aeration complete or with the reduction in staffing numbers have you still a little left to do? Do you even have your full compliment of staff back ahead of the opening?
Will golfers be expecting Augusta style conditions? After all this would have been the latest major to have been on TV. Managing the expectations of golfers is sometimes the hardest job greenkeepers do. Will you be utilizing outlets in digital media like Facebook, Twitter etc? We see some proactive greenkeepers have started uploading course maintenance videos to get their message across to members. Having the clubhouse and pro-shop staff all reciting the same story works well to manage golfers expectations. From our experience a mixture of all the above is what works well.
With weed season just around the corner, infestations will start to cause problems for greenkeepers, especially in water damaged areas of courses. The recent heavy rainfall and precipitation levels through the whole winter period, means some courses have suffered from flooding and standing water, putting turf under significant stress. Grass plants are particularly vulnerable and unable to outcompete weeds for light, water and nutrients.
Advice on managing weeds
Greg Collins, Bayer national account manager for Ireland, gives his advice for keeping on top of weeds this spring, following a challenging winter.
“There are many practical steps that greenkeepers can implement to maintain a healthy course,” says Greg.
“One of these is to pay attention to good grass coverage levels. A healthy sward will outcompete weeds and create a less favourable environment for them to grow.
“Following the wet winter and a temperature rise, I would recommend that greenkeepers focus on herbicide choice and restoring turf health in areas that are damaged,” he says.
“One way to achieve this is appropriate use of fertiliser as this will help increase turf health and growth. Carry out soil testing to check nutrient deficiencies and pH levels.
“Many greenkeepers will judge nutrient deficiencies based by sight, but a test is more accurate so informed decisions can be made on the fertiliser treatment applied,” adds Greg.
“Inadequate drainage also needs to be addressed. Standing water puts turf under pressure and encourages weed growth so check drains aren’t blocked and consider additional drainage to take away excess water,” he says.
“Aeration can help relieve this pressure. This breaks down organic matter and provides more space for roots to grow and develop, leading to healthier turf.
In these scenarios where weed growth is problematic, Greg explains a selective herbicide maybe required in combination with cultural solutions to keep weeds at bay, while the turf health is being restored.
“Destiny Turf® is a good option in these scenarios as it offers control over a broad-spectrum of weeds. It’s a cost-effective, long-lasting solution, which can help deliver a top-quality playing surface.
“It also contains three powerful active ingredients, and therefore provides effective weed control with low application rates,” explains Greg.
Application timing is also crucial, to see the best results. “Destiny Turf should be applied in spring or early summer when conditions are warm, and the soil is moist, with the product approved for use from April through to September.
“This is also the period when weeds are actively growing and as conditions that favour good grass growth will also encourage weed growth.”
Greg adds that benefits can also be seen by applying a nitrogen-based fertiliser two weeks before Destiny Turf as it will encourage plant growth and can improve weed control.
“Destiny Turf can be applied twice per year, and therefore if necessary, a treatment can be repeated after eight to ten weeks,” he says. “Also avoid mowing three days before or after spraying to see the best results.”
Greg highlights that it can be used on newly sown areas eight weeks after setting new grass seed, because it is able to target specific weeds before they outcompete the turfgrass.
“With the weed season fast approaching, it’s important to identify areas at risk and monitor these closely. If weeds are present, cultural controls should be the first port of call and if required, a selective herbicide can help tackle weeds head on,” concludes Greg.
Why Destiny Turf?
- Controls many hard-to-kill weeds in turf
- Contains three powerful active ingredients
- Low application rates
- Can be used on newly sown turf two months after sowing