Tops tips for greenkeepers during the autumn
By utilising the quieter months on golf courses, greenkeepers can carry out essential course maintenance to protect turf.
The autumn period is often a quieter time of year for greenkeepers as golfer numbers reduce, turf growth slows and ‘turf stress’ factors decline.
Yet, even during this quieter time, there are still crucial steps greenkeepers should take to look after both the turf and the golf course
In this blog, we provide some top tips to greenkeepers to undertake this autumn.
Golf course maintenance
During the autumn and winter, greenkeepers may find they have more spare time on their hands as the need for summer maintenance, such as mowing, reduces.
However, this spare time can be seen as a great opportunity to carry out course maintenance that often gets pushed down the ‘to-do-list’ during the busy summer months.
When golf courses are quieter, greenkeepers can top up the sand in bunkers and carry out construction, as this is less likely to disturb any golfers.
Time could also be spent repairing course furniture or bringing in furniture, such as benches, that could become damaged during the winter months.
Another important factor to consider is taking care of surrounding shrubs and trees. Cutting back overhanging branches can help to increase air and light flow to the course which helps to prevent disease and also helps to improve the overall appearance of the golf course.
To increase biodiversity on golf courses, greenkeepers can also use the quieter period to look into planting new trees, as this will help to support surrounding wildlife and create a more attractive course.
Looking after the turf
Greenkeepers are always looking to maximise the health of turf to maintain its appearance and functionality for golfers.
Many greenkeepers will see the summer as the key time to protect turf due to the risks of summer stress, but it’s essential for greenkeepers to look after turf all year round.
If turf can go through the winter in good health, it will set a good foundation for the turf in the summer months and will improve its ability to resist summer stress. Healthy winter turf also will look more aesthetically pleasing in the spring when golfers return to golf in droves.
To protect the health of turf during the autumn, a good step greenkeepers can take is preparing temporary greens and managing golf course traffic.
By diverting golfers to other areas of the golf course, the turf that has undergone excessive wear during the peak of the season will be able to recover and the turf quality should improve.
Controlling autumn disease
Another crucial step greenkeepers should take in the autumn to look after turf is to manage autumn disease.
Diseases such as Microdochium Patch thrive in mild and damp autumn conditions and can cause signifcant damage to not only the appearance of turf but the overall health too.
Paying close attention to disease management in the autumn can therefore be crucial in the long run for turf health.
How can Microdochium Patch be controlled?
To control Microdochium Patch, an integrated approach encompassing cultural and chemical controls is key.
Some of the cultural controls that greenkeepers can utilise during the autumn include:
- Aeration – this helps to relieve compaction and allows greater uptake of nutrients and water
- Irrigation – reducing irrigation and making it as focused as possible can help to deter infection
- Dew switching – helps to reduce moisture sitting on the turf surface
Fungicides can be applied within a preventative approach to disease but should be used in a targeted manner.
The fungicide options greenkeepers can apply include:
- Dedicate - A broad spectrum contact and systemic turf fungicide
- Exteris Stressgard offers preventative and early curative disease control through Stressgard Formulated Technology which helps protect the turf grass from stress
- Signature Xtra, an Irish exclusive product which offers shoot to root protection against disease
To find out more about Microdochium Patch and how it can be controlled click here