This is a subject I don't often write about. I would love to take all the credit, but Mother Nature truly assists me at this time of year!
We are entering the period of time where we can reduce mowing, raise the height of cut and maintain excellent playing conditions on greens.
Heat and humidity stresses are long gone. The turf begins to slow its leaf-growth and our applied nutrients are feeding root-growth (my ultimate goal in October / November and beyond).
Our maintenance plan of optimizing root growth is actually easier at this time of year. I also must balance moisture levels, while raising the height of cut and making sure greens don't get too fast. If you are playing this weekend you should know I'm more concerned about the greens getting too firm and too fast!
We only rolled this morning to get the dew off the greens. They were rolling at 11.5 feet after the roll and they will only get quicker as the surfaces dry out. I will be watering this afternoon to make sure they stay receptive to good approach shots. We actually won't mow them again, at the higher height of cut, until Wednesday.
I am raising the height of cut to increase the amount of leaf surface of the individual turfgrass plants on the greens. This improves photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the food making process that all plants use to survive. It is the ultimate health factor our green's turf needs to prepare itself for the stresses of winter and the summer of 2014.
Our maintenance practices in autumn focuses on root growth because leaf growth naturally reduces and nutrient uptake is almost entirely used towards root enhancement . It is my job to optimize the plant's genetic capability to achieve it's root enhancement but not reduce playability. Yes, the proverbial tightrope.
Thankfully, the tightrope is easier to walk in the middle of October!
Here is what you really need to know... Stay below the hole because the greens are rolling great! They will be that way until we "put them to bed". Putting them to bed is when the soil freezes! Your guess is as good as mine! Let's hope Mother Nature is on our side!
I will certainly keep you updated!!!