Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Third Green

This season of extreme weather has helped identify our weak spots.  One of them is the green on #3.  I have had some questions about why that green looks so stressed in comparison to our other greens. Basically, it’s a combination of extreme weather, a poor growing environment, and a relatively new green – natural selection is still taking place. It’s the creeping bentgrass that is declining just like it has (to varying degrees) since we opened it. It would be a good candidate for the next shade study. The good thing is that it is (slowly) getting better. I became very concerned a few of weeks ago and raised the height of cut, stopped mowing every day, and added extra fertilizer to help it recover. As of this morning, I have lowered the height of cut and will topdress it again later this week. The only one mowing that green has been me to help give me a feel for what it needs and I have been encouraged by its progress. We will be over the hump for extreme weather very soon (I hope!)

Excerpt from our 2011 USGA Turf Report, “A few trees have been removed to the east of No. 3 green, and this has certainly improved its performance. However, it is important to note that this green was originally planted with a mixture of bentgrass and annual bluegrass. The first summer grass populations were approximately 50%-60% bentgrass with the balance being annual bluegrass. Now, after three years of play and heavy shade, the green is approximately 80%+ annual bluegrass. Why the shift in grass populations? The answer is simple: it is the growing environment which is far more conducive to growing annual bluegrass than bentgrass. Unfortunately, with all of the annual bluegrass, there is a huge reduction in reliability as this is the first grass to fail due to winter injury. It also is the first grass to fail due to summer disease (anthracnose, summer patch, dollar spot, snow mold, etc.) Thus, I cannot recommend strongly enough the need for more tree work. Westmount is experiencing a great season this year, but as you may remember, winter injury was experienced a year ago. You were lucky in that we experienced a warm spring, so the greens recovered fairly quickly. You may not be so lucky next year.“

The green is not dead and will not have to be closed as some have suggested.  The annual bluegrass is surviving just fine and the majority of the turf cover on the green is annual blugrass.  The problem is not disease or fertility or moisture related.  Recovery will be slow but it is happening.  Thank you for your patience.

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