With the significant rainfall we’ve had, I’ve been interested to see what’s going on with our soil moisture probes?
During the dry weather you can see that the 5cm deep probe was slowly getting drier whilst the 15cm deep probe was slowly getting wetter?
My assumption is that this is because the push up green that these probes are in has had many years of good levels of sand topdressing and the lower profile is of a heavier nature. Periods of irrigation are moving through the profile to the lower or heavier areas of the soil profile.
You can see from the below chart how the upper profile fluctuates far quicker than the lower profile.
During the past week I’ve seen a lot of activity on Twitter showing Course Managers chasing some green speeds with lots of cutting and rolling. It’s highly likely we’ll now go into a period of high growth and slower putting surfaces, whilst this is occuring at exactly the time of the year the expectations of golfers are at their highest.
BEWARE: Whilst the higher part of the soil profile may be firm there is a serious danger now of chasing greens speeds too hard. Reducing feed to counter this growth flush, low cutting heights and excessive rolling is a sure fire recipe for anthracnose.
Using the Greencast historic disease model we can see that we are now entering the normal period for seeing Anthracnose around the South.
There are many cultural things we can do to relieve the pressure on this disease but the biggest and most effective is to simply back off the greens a little, keep them healthy and don’t chase green speeds.
Using products like Qualibra and Primo Maxx II we can manage soil moisture and calm growth down and if your a site with historic challenges concerning Anthracnose then now is the time to think about putting a fungicide plan in place to help manage you through the season.
It’s an incredibly fine line you course managers must walk between managing plant health and meeting (or managing) your customer expectations.
Good luck and remember – you’re probably your own biggest critic – whilst the odd golfer may request faster and tighter surfaces – I’m pretty confident your customer would much rather you take a consistent and and smooth surface through the season.
Now is the the beginning of that cycle – get it right now and you won’t have to push too hard in the Autumn – don’t push too hard in the Autumn and you’ll reduce the fusarium pressure for the winter – seems nuts to think I’m talking about Autumn practices already!
Pics: Les Rae, First Assistant, Montrose Golf Links Limited.