Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pre-emergent Application to tees, fairways and rough

Yesterday at Stillmeadow Country Club, we applied over 100 acres of fertilizer combined with a pre-emergent herbicide.  Thanks to Advanced Turf Solutions for doing an awesome job on the application.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Progress Updates

Over the last 4.5 years, the current staff at Stillmeadow Country Club has worked diligently to maintain smoother and firmer greens.  We have been able to achieve this as well as other benefits through regular sand topdressing to the green surfaces.  One of the additional benefits that probably gets overlooked is the positive changes that can be made to the soil profile if the process is done correctly.  

Organic matter is constantly being created in any turf area.  This is caused by dead plant material and will occur even when the turf stand appears healthy.  This occurs where the bottom or "crown" of the plant meets the soil.  This is known as the thatch layer.  The thatch layer causes many problems, especially when trying to maintain turf in a putting green setting.  The primary concern would be that a thatch layer can become like a sponge that ties up water, nutrients, chemicals and fertilizer from getting to the roots of the plants. 

There are different ways to combat thatch.  Verticutting and core aeration would be two of the better known ones.  Frequent topdressing is another and a great tool when you consider the benefits to ball roll and playabilty that you can also achieve.  The goal with sand topdressing is to apply enough sand to match the rate of organic addition to the point where layering is not evident.  The USGA makes recommendations to help turf managers have an idea of what these quantities would be in each area of the country.

Now we would like to show you a picture of a soil profile taken from #8 green
The greens at our club were originally constructed out of native soil which you can still see on the right hand side of the picture.  You can see areas where clean sand has been added to the native soil by our team.  This was done by the process of deep tine aeration and topdressing.  Sand throughout the profile allows for better water peculation and ultimately allows for a faster drying surface after rain and irrigation events.  As we move left in the photo the next area was years of hard work by previous superintends and their staff's to incorporate sand for all of the previously mentioned reasons.  You can also see pockets of new sand where our team has also contributed to this area.  The next area is organic layering.  This area was created by years of improper cultural practices including a lack of sand incorporation.  Much like a thatch layer, this layer will act like a barrier that will tie up water, nutrients, chemicals, fertilizer and will ultimately end up reducing rooting past this layer.  Moving left, the top area is what we have been able to achieve in just 4.5 years.  You will see some minor organic layering in this area which means we could be even more aggressive.  However, overall it is a fairly well blended area of sand and organic matter that should allow for the movement of water, and nutrients through the soil while also continuing to push the black organic layer further down to a level where it becomes less of a concern.

We are proud of the progress we have made and wanted the membership to see that there is always more going on than meets the eye!  All of this behind the scenes effort, finances and planning shows the end result of a better putting surface and a better overall product to our membership for now and in the future!

The end result