GREEN KEEPING UPDATE
2021 Greenkeeping notes
Adam, our Head Greenkeeper has been chatting to lots of other colleagues about the problem on growth and preparation for the season with their courses locally and in forums across the country.
On our site it is worth remembering that during the last lockdown in January and February the course was completely flooded twice. So much so that on January 22nd we had water in the buildings too and have photos to remind us of the mess it made!
Last season when we were all let out again our course was extra busy, which was great but extra football on a shorter course leads to compaction on the greens and the areas in front of them. It was important therefore to address this in our winter schedule. The flooding hampered this but we were able to make other improvements around the course. Our greens were targeted with additional work and overseeding and should be now be showing lovely new growth. As usual, we had not anticipated the weather that would come our way in April. Low rainfall and the coldest month on record.
So here’s the science bit – what was needed to happen to make our grass grow? (And so far has not!)
Moisture and Temperature.
During the period of January to March, we had over 160% of the average expected precipitation for these months. Then April came and to date, we have had less than 8% of the monthly average. Combined with lack of rain, temperature obviously affects growth and as you all probably know we have had more than our fair share of frosty mornings, over 22 for the month of April alone.
Air temperature and soil temperature are clearly two different things and to have continuous growth we need at least 10 degrees C. At some points in recent days at 11.00 am the temperature was only 8.6 degrees.
Growth Degree Days (GDD).
GDD helps forecast the growth of the grass plant.
In simple terms, GDD takes the highest recorded temperature for a day, adds the lowest temperature, divides by two and then applies a base figure judged equivalent to the onset of plant growth. Which for most turf situations would be around 10 degrees C.
So, if an April day’s high was 17 degrees and the low was 1 degree the combined would be 18 degrees, divided by two = 9 degrees less a base of 10 degrees making 1 GDD
To put all that into context, for good healthy grass growth we are looking for 4-6 every day. To date, in April we have received 12 for the whole of the month making for very poor growing conditions!
GP is a model that indicates when you should apply nutrients depending on the plant’s capability for growing and absorbing them. Nitrogen is the key element for grass plants but the model can be used for other nutrients such as Potassium too. For the best GP we are looking for a reading of 1 each day. To date, at the end of April 2021 we have had a reading of 1.9 for the whole of the month!
So we are needing to be patient – the greens are part prepared, but by no means perfect. When the time is right we will overseed and top-dress again and as the temperatures rise we will see the result – stronger, less compacted greens that are lush!
In the meantime give a thought to the greenkeepers of England – they and we are doing all we can.
The Academy course at SGA.
Please note that for all Qualifying Competitions the rear tee on the second/eleventh hole is used.
Links to each hole layout in detail below.