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It is my intention to give the readers a better understanding of what we do to maintain The Farms Country Club's 18 hole championship golf course and grounds.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Another Timely USGA Report!

We are beginning our late season maintenance on the course and readying it for winter. Tees will be aerified and topdressed beginning this week and fairway aerification is scheduled for the end of the month.

We will be slowly raising the height of cut on greens without sacrificing playability. This important yearly practice generally goes unnoticed by the golfer. Fertilization takes a turn toward higher Potassium levels and a reduction in Nitrogen. These important maintenance practices are geared toward helping the turfgrass store sugars / carbohydrates, "food", for the upcoming winter stress.

The following USGA regional update explains the "WHY" in more detail...

The Original Solar Panels
SEPTEMBER 29, 2015   By Jim Skorulski, agronomist, Northeast Region

Placing a solar panel in this shaded environment makes it hard to expect to produce electricity. Keep that in mind when evaluating the impacts of shade on a plant’s ability to produce energy. 
Plant leaves are the original solar panels with the amazing ability to absorb the sun’s energy and convert it into simple carbon molecules – i.e., sugars – that are used for growth and other functions. Like the solar panels we use to produce electricity, plant leaves require maximum light absorption for optimal photosynthesis. No person investing in solar panels would have them placed in an area that does not receive full sun exposure. Yet, it is easy to take for granted the impacts of shade on a plant’s ability to synthesize the energy it requires for normal growth. Full sun exposure is especially critical for close-cut, dense putting green turf. The fall season is a great time to review shade patterns across your playing surfaces and take action to provide at least eight to 10 hours of full sun exposure daily to all greens through the entirety of the season.

The arrival of fall has brought with it cooler seasonal temperatures which are much welcomed by weak-rooted turf and surfaces that are recovering from late-season damage. Cooler nighttime temperatures and shorter day length also trigger turfgrass to begin producing new roots and storing sugars that will help it survive flash freezes, hydration events and ice cover that have caused severe turf loss at many courses over the past two seasons. Tough weather can be expected in the winter months ahead, so now is time to focus on maintenance practices that favor carbohydrate storage and avoid those that force plants to spend energy reserves. 

Here are some important practices to help that process:
Maximize sun exposure
Begin raising mowing heights in increments of 0.05-0.1 inch. Higher mowing heights will increase the size of the solar panel – i.e., leaf blade. Bigger leaf blades are better for accumulating carbohydrates. Mowing heights can be increased in increments through the remainder of fall. Keep in mind that raising the mowing height in late fall, after the turf has gone dormant, will provide little benefit for carbohydrate storage.
Provide potassium where soils are deficient. This can be accomplished through granular applications or spoon-feeding programs.

Avoid high rates of granular nitrogen in more northern areas of the Northeast Region. Fertility priorities on golf courses located in southern parts of the Northeast Region, or those who will be aerating greens in the coming weeks, will be different. Keep granular nitrogen applications at 0.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet on greens or spoon-feed with lighter rates of soluble fertilizers to meet the growth needs of your turf.

The fall season can provide some of the best playing conditions of the season. It also is the time to get turfgrass “solar panels” in good working condition to prepare for the long winter ahead.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Here Comes The Seed!

It has been one week since we aerified and overseeded the greens. We have an incredible amount of seed germinating on the greens which were overseeded in two directions. You will notice a "checkerboard" look created by the new overseeder. I am very pleased!
We have temporarily raised the height of cut and increased fertility levels to speed healing and give the juvenile seedlings the best chance at survival.
We will slowly start to lower the height next week which will aid playability without stressing the young creeping bentgrass. We are expecting more hot weather early next week so we will be cautious not to jeopardize our already excellent results.
Seed Germinating!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Aerification & Turfco Triwave 40 Overseeding Complete!

Aerification and overseeding with our new Turfco Triwave 40 overseeder went very well! A special thanks goes out to Mark Osborn from Steven Willand Inc. in Brookfield, CT. Mark went the extra mile by getting the overseeder here on short notice. Excellent service!
All greens, collars and approaches were aerified and topdressed first. Then we overseeded in two directions. Overseeding immediately after topdressing brought up the perfect amount of sand to brush into the slits created by the machine and fill any aerifying holes that needed it.
You will notice some stressed turf, especially on collars, from the aggressive process we employed. Most of which will bounce back in the coming days.
You will also start to see seed germinating in the slices. To get the most from the overseeding, we will be lightly watering the greens several times per day to keep them moist.
Today we start the healing process! We are applying plant protectants and fertilizers to all the greens. All they need is a little time to grow without much mechanical stress. We will not be mowing or rolling much over the next few days to reduce stress. We expect another heat wave to hit in the next few days so we must remain cautious with our maintenance regime.
Expect the greens to be a little soft, slow and bumpy for a while. They will gradually improve over the next couple of weeks. It will be worth the wait!

Close up of Triwave 40
Chris running the overseeder
Close up of green surface after entire process completed. Notice that the diameter of the holes are reduced due to Triwave overseeding being done after aerification and topdressing.