By now the greens should be producing a very good playing surface, with any slow growth from late spring being a distant thought.
Verticut and groom regularly to help control annual meadow grass seed head production and to produce a more upright growing grass sward. This in turn will also help provide a slightly faster surface without the need to reduce the height of cut, which is always a contentious issue.
- Maintain growth at 5 mm, typically mowing four or five times per week.
Localised Dry Patch may start to appear this month. However, this condition should not be confused with a poorly developed root system which will also produce a rapid browning and drying of the surface.
Aeration should not be neglected, even though many other tasks may seem more pressing. Solid tine spiking is the favoured method throughout the drier months: this can be particularly successful in the form of surface spiking to 25-50 mm deep with the use of a sarel type spiked roller, which will also help firm the immediate surface layer.
Use the verticutter to continue thatch removal and the prevention of thatch build-up.
Weed growth may be a problem due to the weather in May, so consider a selective herbicide application when ground and climatic conditions allow. All pesticide applications should only be carried out by competent trained and correctly qualified people.
- A balanced fertiliser application may be required towards the end of the month.
Basically, it’s a case of making sure the wickets are prepared well in advance and that they are used in the sequence planned before the start of the season – or at least fairly close to the sequence.
Immediately a game has finished try and carry out any minor repairs as this may enable the wicket to be used again straight away – depending upon the level of cricket and the length of the match – or at least provide the groundwork for re-using the wicket later in the season, if need be.
Try to maintain a consistent height of cut when mowing, 12 mm on average. Box-off clippings to maintain a high presentational quality. Make sure that all small areas of damage are repaired if time and climatic conditions allow.
Apply a turf herbicide this month if required to control weeds, (making sure that the herbicide used is approved for use and is applied at the correct rates). Only qualified operators should apply pesticides.
Make sure any end of season renovation work carried out in May is properly maintained. August is not far away and the players will be expecting a good surface for the start of the new season.
Important maintenance that will need to be undertaken will include:
- Regular irrigation, wherever possible, to help the grass establish adequately.
- A balanced fertiliser application to maintain sward thickening.
- Oversowing of any areas which look like they aren’t thickening up quickly enough; don’t wait another month to see what happens.
- Mow regularly to prevent perennial ryegrass flower stalks from initiating, otherwise this will lead to a thinning of the sward.
- Lightly top-dress any uneven areas.
- Wherever possible try and keep people and animals off the renovated areas, as this all helps in the recovery process.
- If time permits this month, consider painting the goal posts etc. in anticipation of the new season.
Some top courses would have been on TV screens by now and golfers will invariably be expecting their own greens to be above normal standards, although apparently forgetting about the available budget at these top courses when compared to their own course.
Maybe now is the time to consider including a brief appraisal for a ‘Greens’ report indicating some improvements which might like to be considered. This would probably be prepared and taken up in more detail after the summer because of time constraints. The important point may be to get some general agreement on potential improvements.
- Mowing will most likely be the main task carried out this month, but don’t forget other tasks such as:
- Divoting of a couple of fairways.
- Regular raking of bunkers – maybe partial raking one day and then a total rake the next – it all depends on sand disturbance!
- Divoting of tees and regular moving of the tee blocks/boxes to spread wear.
- Herbicide application to fairways may be considered if weed growth is a problem – don’t wait until the soil is too dry.
- The end of season renovation is only some three months away, so make sure all materials and any contract hire machinery is ordered well in advance.
- Routine maintenance work over the summer months will include the following:
- Artificial irrigation will be more frequent to produce a suitable firmness of ground for the day of a race meeting.
A liquid nitrogen fertiliser may be considered in June for the home straight, show paddock and ornamental lawns around the grandstand area. Alternatively, the whole of the racecourse might be treated to a light nitrogen application.
- Continue to divot and repair after each meeting.
- Weed control may be required, especially if none was carried out in May.
- Continue to mow regularly, with this operation forming a significant part of total work input.
- Do not neglect mowing on courses that are rested over the summer.
The end of season renovation should ideally be completed by now.
Post-renovation work will include:
- Artificial irrigation, if inadequate rainfall occurs, to aid grass seed growth and establishment.
- A light topping of the new sward, being careful not to cut too closely.
- Light rolling of some areas may also be required to re-firm the contact between newly germinated and establishing seeds and the soil profile.
- ’Keep off the grass’ signs might be erected – for players and the general public anyhow!
- Roll if there is still a suitable amount of moisture within the soil profile. Avoid rolling if there has been a prolonged dry spell, otherwise there is a good chance that the soil surface will crack and crumble.
- Check nets and winding gears regularly to ensure they are in a satisfactory condition.
- If there are any special events held during June, then additional brushing and mowing may be carried out to increase presentational quality.
- Verticut and groom regularly, but care needs to be taken around renovated areas, with the blades probably needing to be raised over these areas.