Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Practices and Sand Should Make Routine Topdressing Better

In order to get ultradwarf putting greens in the best condition they can be there are many cultural practices that must be done on a routine basis.  These range from double mowing, to vertical mowing, to grooming or brushing, to solid and core aerification, to routine light and heavy topdressing.

Today was our first routine topdressing of our greens for this growing season.  We will be performing this practice every 7-14 days depending on growth of the turfgrass and scheduled play on the golf course.  In the past we have used a dyed green sand but we are trying to provide a better surface while also cutting our operational costs, so we are using a humate enriched sand.

Our new sand is the exact same sand particle we have used for years so we are not in any danger of bridging or changing the structure of our putting surfaces.  This sand from Golf Agronomics is blended with humates from Humate International at a rate of 1000# of humate per truck load.  We routinely apply humates to our greens through our foliar applications to improve the nutrient and water holding capacity of our sand based putting greens.  Adding the humate sand will allow us to provide a long lasting residual supply of humates to the soil over time.

I was very pleased with how well the humate sand spread with our Dakota 410 topdresser and was equally pleased with how our SandPro CocoMat drag mat did at moving the sand into the turfgrass canopy.

A quick mow following the drag to clean up the green surface and remove any "turf tags" that had been pulled up from the drag mat and we were ready for a light application of water to help move additional sand into the surface.

After the minute of water applied the greens are ready for play.  I know many golfers see topdressing as a bad thing but it should be seen as a beneficial process.  Topdressing of greens helps to keep the surface firm, smooth, and provides you with a better ball roll.  Properly topdressed greens will have much less tendency to scalp or become "puffy" or "spongy".  Greens that are properly topdressed will promote more rapid infiltration of irrigation and rain water allowing the golfer to play on the greens quicker and maintenance of the greens to be performed more quickly compared to greens which do not drain properly.

We are always trying to provide our golfing guests with the best possible conditions we can provide.  This winter and lagging spring is causing the golf course to be delayed in green-up and in our normal greens maintenance activities.  As the weather improves so will our activities on the greens and so will the conditions of the greens.

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