Make sure to check for disease activity and, if identified, spray with a propriety fungicide. Continue to brush as regular as possible to allow sward to remain upright and to remove excess moisture/dew, and if any earthworm activity is noticed try not to smear the casts. If possible aerate using solid tines to a depth of 125 mm. If climatic and ground conditions allow, mow sward by ‘topping off’.
Continue to check for damage especially if used for winter sports. If climatic and ground conditions allow mow sward by ‘topping off’. If possible, aerate outfield to 125 mm.
Earthworms may be problem, so regular drag brushing – ideally daily when conditions are such that large amounts of earthworm casts are produced – and aeration to keep the surface open to improve surface drainage and drying may help towards reducing the effects of the earthworm activity.
- Regular applications of sulphate of iron, say every 3-4 weeks, can help to minimise the effects of surface casting earthworms.
- If all else fails, then the application of synthetic pesticides may be needed.
Watch out for Fusarium patch disease during mild damp spells. Sulphate of iron applications can help to harden the grass against this disease, or alternatively, have a suitable stock of contact fungicide available to spray, usually at the first signs of this disease.
- Keep the grass topped at about 10-12 mm high: this will also help to reduce the chance of disease attack which may be more prevalent with longer grass as it will retain a more humid and damp ‘atmosphere’ among its leaves.
- Finish off bank repairs if at all possible.
- Prepare your maintenance schedule for next year, along with a budget requirement.
- Frost holes may be required on some greens in the early morning to provide a small amount of protection against inappropriate wear.
- Slit tine aerate on a regular basis.
- Green height to be maintained in accordance with course standards – typically this will be no higher than 8 mm.
- Tees should still be topped, although the actual height will depend on whether they are rested for the winter period or maintained in play.
- If artificial mats or carpets are used, ensure they are safe and secure, while sand-filled ones are properly topped up to prevent them wearing excessively.
- Fairways – if topping hasn’t already ceased, then this will most likely be the last occasion for a few months.
- Removal of leaves will be a big priority to prevent the turf being smothered.
- Start, or continue, planning for next year’s requirements.
- A budget report/proposal may be needed to be submitted to the finance committee before, say, Christmas.
- Divoting has to be a key task at this time of year as growth is very slow, if non-existent in some parts of the UK, so repairs need to be made to maintain a reasonable surface for as long as possible.
- Brush and/or harrow if conditions are suitable.
Overmarking should not be neglected. Consider the weather conditions and how many games have been played in determining a suitable overmarking programme. The bottom line will be what actually occurs on the ground, so do not stick too rigidly to the guidelines – overmark if need be – it won’t break the bank for several additional overmarkings and will enhance the presentation of the pitch out of all proportion to the small input.
- Slit tine aerate the pitch if smearing of the soil is not going to take place – be prepared to stop if conditions are found to be unsuitable, as more harm than good will be done by continuing.
- Sand worn areas as required.
- Soil conditions may become unsuitable for routine aeration, so selective handforking might be the order of the day.
- Sanding of wet or bare areas may also be needed.
- A final topping of the grass may be required, but a little extra length of grass at this time of year will help counter some of the wear taking place.
- Machinery should be prepared, if not already undertaken, for its winter servicing schedule.
- Avoid the use of relatively heavy machinery over the winter months when ground conditions are generally unsuitable.
- Aeration can be carried out during dry periods, assuming the soil moisture content is not high.
- Continue to divot and repair after each meeting.
- Continue to aerate, although ground conditions may now be unsuitable for most of the time.
- Dragbrush as required.
- Occasional topping of the grass might be required in the south.
- Machinery should be given an annual service over the next few months.