Tuesday, 6 June 2017
May started out cool and very dry, giving slow growth and green speeds around 10ft. Later in the month it was warm and wet which gave us a strong boost to growth which was much needed but slowed the greens down to about 8ft We equalled our warmest average temperature for May (13.4 degrees) and rainfall was well above average (59.9mm) with almost all of the rain falling in the second half of the month. The greens were top dressed and later in the month we took advantage of the strong growth to do some surface refinement on the greens through brushing and grooming to lift and mow off lateral growth. The Poa annua seeding has now finished and this has also boosted smoothness and trueness. The putting green extension was finished off and the turf is already rooting strongly. As the summer progresses we will top dress it frequently and gradually reduce the height of cut but it won’t be cut at greens height until next year. Selective weed-killer was applied to the greens and most of the fairways and work has started on spot spraying bramble and encroaching gorse.
During June we will finish off selective weed-killer applications to the fairways and continue with spot treatment of gorse and bramble. Both of these tasks are weather dependent and require dry conditions and light winds. Top dressing of greens is scheduled for the week of the 26th weather permitting. Top dressing is a very important part of the greens maintenance programme. It is our main tool for smoothing out putting surfaces and is vital for keeping the greens firm and preventing organic matter build up (thatch) at the turf surface. We aim to spread a total of 100 tonnes of sandy top dressing (Fendress 90/10) on the greens each year over six to eight dressings.
May was a month of two halves as they say. The first half was cool and very dry with only 3mm of rain up to the 16th. The second half was very warm for May and very wet, bringing the rainfall total to 59.9mm for the month, well above average. The average temperature matched our previous record high of 13.4° recorded in 2011. The highest temperature was 23.7° on the 27th and the lowest was 4° on the 10th. So after six weeks of slow growth in April and early May the grass has been growing frantically for the last three weeks. This is great for recovery from winter wear and tear but not so good for green speed. Hopefully the boom or bust weather patterns we're experiencing will settle down soon.
After a good growing month in March we’re back to normal with cold, dry easterly and northerly winds putting the brakes on grass growth. This weather pattern is forecast to continue into next week, with the possibility of some very welcome rain at the end of the week. The flowering of annual meadow grass in the greens and other areas is at its peak at present but this should reduce over the next few weeks. The new tees on the 1st, 6th and 8th holes are coming on nicely, they’ve just been top dressed again and we’ll bring them into play in the next week or so. The greens were top dressed again last week bringing the total number of dressings for the year to three. The next top dressing is planned for the week beginning Monday 15th May. Top dressing is our main tool for smoothing out the putting surfaces. Once we come out of the current drought (only 89mm in the first four months of the year and only 10.6mm in April) we’ll apply selective weed-killer to the fairways. We’ll also start the annual task of spraying encroaching gorse and bramble seedlings. Later in May we’ll do some renovation work on the green surrounds, this will consist of hollow coring followed by over-seeding and top dressing. The extension to the putting green is nearing completion and the turf will be delivered on the 23rd of May.