Dennis Golf - August
As we are now in the height of summer, the greens mowing frequencies should remain high, with the mowers set at their summer cutting heights.
As in July, remember not to bring the cutting heights down to more than a third of the total height of the plant at any one time and horizontal growth can be controlled through the use of regular brushing and verti-cutting. Hole changing should be done once or twice a week depending on golf traffic and competition requirements.
Into August and the levels of grass growth will be at a peak for the year, meaning there will be a lot of mowing for greenkeepers but, more importantly, a greater need for essential nutrients. The playing surfaces should be monitored closely for any signs of nutrient stress and, along with soil sample results taken in the spring, fertiliser choices can be made to suit the conditions and type of grass/soil you may have. The increased growth rate will lead to potential accelerated thatch accumulation. Reducing the occurrence of this can reduce disease and other problems later on.
Moisture management is also a key feature as greenkeepers have invested in weather stations to inform of potential evapotranspiration rates within their sward. Soaking the playing surface every few days is better than watering at set schedules in most cases.
Tees - Mowing on the tees would not normally be required for more than once or twice a week , unless conditions are damp and growth remains strong. The height of cutting will also remain around 12mm for most tees unless they are suffering from drought stress in which case they should be raised. Because playing traffic will be high, daily movement of the tee markers and regular divot repair will be required to maintain good surface quality and presentation.
Any additional watering will be sufficient to aid recovery and maintain turf vigour and should largely be aimed at developing a good root structure. To cope with summer downpours and moving water quickly from the surface, solid tining with no more than 13mm width tines would be useful.
Fairways – Although the mowing is likely to be less frequent than in June and July due to higher temperatures and less rainfall, the height of cutting will remain the same, with cutting at between 14mm and 17mm. Divot damage may be slow to recover now and repairing affected areas will be required.
Roughs – as with other areas, the mowing frequency will be less in August, unless it is a wet month. As before, the main areas of the rough are likely to be rotary cut at 50mm. Cutting areas of deeper rough should continue, with the aim of collecting the grass and lowering the nutrient levels to encourage the finer and slower growing grasses to thrive.
Lastly, keep an eye on playing as well as aesthetic qualities within the sward. Monitoring them canprovide you with a better understanding of your course. Recording findings gives an ability to compare results from previous years. Checking practical elements such as consistency and height of cut, using macroscopes and prisms, will also provide insight during a busy period.
During August, bunker maintenance mainly continues with regular raking either by hand or via machine. With growth slowing down, any edging and trimming will be minimal and the main focus on stone and weed removal. In addition, checks should be made regarding sand depth and distribution and if weed problems persist on sand faces, these can be spot sprayed with glyphosate, but care needs to be taken to avoid any drift onto the surrounding banks to avoid damage.
August is a great time to do another organic fertiliser application; with a two month longevity, an application in August can take you all the way through to October, which is a perfect time for an autumn winter feed.
Aeration is also key to keep the soil oxygen ratio balanced, 8 mm needle or 12 mm standard tines down to a depth of 200-300mm with a vertical aerator allow the soil to breath. This combined with a weekly pass from a Sarel or Star Tine aerator will provide a large volume of aeration into the sward and thatch layer.
Wetting agents will also assist to manage soil water percolation and retention more effectively, by moving rain fall away from the surface, but holding it further down in the profile where it will be called on during any hotter and sunny spells.
Weeds, pests and disease
Weed growth is prevalent during August, requiring the use of herbicides. These are generally more effective when the plant is actively promoting growth; however, always follow the manufacturers' guidelines.
Mole and rabbit damage can be repaired as and when.
Keep an eye on fungal disease attack and there may be a need to apply a preventative fungicide treatment in the lead up to important competitions or matches.Also be on the lookout for craneflys that feed on roots and crowns of plants in the autumn and spring.
Machinery and Materials
One of the biggest investments made by any golf club is in their machinery portfolio; So, it is important to look after and maintain these machines by carrying out regular servicing, maintenance and repairs. It is also important to have staff trained to use specific machinery and ground equipment.