While the season will not be completed until the end of the month, or even the beginning of October, some of the end-of-season renovation can be carried out now, especially after all the competition finals have been completed sometime during the middle of the month.
Hollow-tining a green can be readily carried out within a day using a suitable machine which may be designed to collect the cores or staff may be used to brush, rake and shovel up the cores as soon as the machine starts working. If the cores are dry, a litter blower vac can be used to blow most of the cores into defined areas of the green making it easier to remove them.
Once the hollow-tining and clearing up has been completed, the green should be cut to provide a satisfactory playing surface. This hollow-tine operation can also be carried out a second time, at the end of the playing season, if needed.
Fusarium can be a problem now that the nights are drawing in and dew is more prevalent in the cooler mornings. This should be controlled using a proprietary fungicide to prevent widespread damage to the green.
When carrying out top-dressing, ideally undertake a survey of the green beforehand to give an indication of the levels. The identified low areas can then be top-dressed with more material than any high spots, which may not require any dressing. This will help in the production of a flat bowling green for next year.
- Make observations on crane fly activity as this will indicate the potential level of control that may be needed in October/November to eliminate leatherjacket grubs.
- Whatever else happens, make sure you get on with the renovation process as quickly as possible.
- With the season now closing, or closed, a thorough renovation of the square will be required.
- Mow the whole square to 5 mm or so, to produce a fairly clean top surface.
Scarify thoroughly: this could be from three to 10 passes/occasions. A scarifier with a collection system would be advantageous, making sure to carefully observe the changes to the surface to evaluate the impact of each pass of the scarifier – it depends on the standard of the square and available staffing. This operation will really clear out any undesirable vegetation. Scarify from corner to corner as this will be a change from the end to end direction which is carried out during the playing season. Caution must be exercised not to scarifiy at direct right angles as this can produce a cubed effect and weaken the surface and cause more of a problem when working in the topdressing.
- Mow afterwards to keep the surface clean and ready to receive the seed and topdressing.
- t is important that if the square is to be aerated, ideally with a punch action solid tine machine to 100 – 150 mm depth, that sufficient irrigation is carried out beforehand to assist in tine penetration.
- Sarel spike the square then overseed at 34 – 50 g/m2. Typically a pure 100% perennial ryegrass mixture is applied to the whole of the square.
- Apply the dressing if possible using a spreader to allow for an even application and work in a topdressing material, using a trulute and straight edge to ensure the square is even throughout.
- A pre-seed fertiliser containing approx 5-8% of nitrogen can be applied, if an application wasn’t given in August.
- Germination sheets can be applied, especially at the ends, which will invariably be almost bare. These will aid seed germination.
Now is the month to reduce the amount of mowing; also, height of cut should be raised to 25-35 mm after the final game. Many outfields are also used for winter sports such as football, so now is the time to repair any areas worn or damaged by overseeding and topdressing etc.
The onset of winter sports games will mean that an application of fertiliser will help and assist in creating strong growth to help sustain the required usage throughout the winter.
The pitches should be in excellent condition by now. A few divots may have been made, and these should be repaired/replaced wherever possible. A light topdressing may be needed in a few places and any final fertiliser application, if not applied last month, should now be given as perennial ryegrass growth is still strong but will be slowing down as the days become shorter and cooler weather is more evident.
- Continue with regular mowing and try and keep the grass as long as possible going into the winter period as this will give the pitch extra ‘wear’ protection and extend its suitability for use.
- Weeds can be a problem. This is the last realistic month for any selective herbicide application, although the grass should be growing well if an application is to be considered.
- Thin areas can be seeded and a germination sheet applied to help make the most of the remaining good growing conditions before autumn really sets in.
- Worm activity can be high this month, so some form of control may be required.
- The playing season commences and a good presentation should be aimed for on most pitches – and this should be achieved almost irrespective of the standard of play.
- If a fertiliser application had not been given during August, now is the time to apply it.
- There is typically a flush of grass growth during this month, so keep mowing on a regular basis and be prepared to increase the number of cuts rather than be tempted to reduce the height of cut to try and extend the period between each cut.
- Aeration should continue while ground conditions are, typically, good during this month. Consider deep spiking as the soil should be neither too dry nor too wet and in an ideal condition for good tine penetration.
- The playing season will be finishing this month.
- Commence renovation as soon as possible after the end of the last match.
- A typical renovation programme will probably include the following:
- Irrigation to soften the surface soil profile
- Initial aeration to penetrate the surface layer
- Further irrigation to soften the lower soil profile
- further aeration, this time at a greater depth
- scarification to remove any thatch build-up and lateral growth
- mowing to produce a clean surface
- overseeding (especially important along the base line and service boxes) making sure to use the correct type of grass seed.
- Topdress with a suitable loam, with 1 to 3 kg/m2 being suitable depending on the degree of wear and aeration equipment used.
- If a fertiliser has not already been applied, now is the time to do so.
- Irrigation may be required to aid seed germination and initial establishment following completion of the renovation programme.
- This is the main renovation period for flat racing courses.
- Where race meetings finish at the end of September, renovation will occur during early October.
- Typical renovation work will include:
- scarification (or chain harrowing with the tines face downwards)
- deep aeration
- mowing grass to a shorter length to expose thin areas
- fertiliser application, if not undertaken at the end of August
- overseed thin and bare areas
- topdress thin and bare areas
- light roll
- irrigate, particularly seeded and thin areas.
Renovation of the greens will be a priority this month: if the tees and fairways haven’t yet been renovated, then they will have to wait until after the greens have been completed.
Aeration of the fairways can be carried out before the soil becomes too wet. Scarification of the fairways should be done this month while there is still adequate growth for rejuvenation. Ideally, collect the resulting debris with tractor sweeper attachments, or similar.
- Traffic areas around greens and tees should be forked, or cultivated if relatively bare, then seeded or turfed.
The application of a systemic fungicide is sometimes considered to act as a preventative control of turf diseases. Any later in the season and the chemical will not be adequately absorbed into the plant structure; contact chemicals will then be required.
The application of a turf tonic consisting of sulphate of iron can be applied to assist in hardening up the grass against disease attack. This can also help to reduce the need for expensive chemical applications.