Most of us have seen and many have commented on the unsightly evidence of Fusarium fungal disease on almost all of our greens. Whilst this can never be fully eradicated it is quite easily controlled by the processes of Verti draining, Fertilising and Top Dressing. An effective chemical spray is available but use is weather dependent as the ground must be dry on a day when it is not windy.
Instead our Greens team will be Verti draining all our greens this Thursday 1st February. The process punches holes in the surface without removing any cores and the holes will be fertilised and left open for 7 days to allow air into the greens to encourage good root growth. This will be followed by overseeding and top dressing with the anticipation that within the next 3 weeks the Fusarium will be back under control.
We should also note that Verti draining must be done at specific times of the year and the consequences of not doing it are the greens will become soft and spongy creating a slower putting surface and diseases such as the Fusarium we are seeing today will be encouraged probably leading to playing the greens less in the winter.
COURSE SURFACE DAMAGE BY BIRDS
To protect their crops our landowning neighbours have, in recent times, introduced the use of Bird scaring equipment to help keep Crows and Magpies out of their fields. As a consequence these birds have had to look elsewhere for food sources in the winter months and not surprisingly they have seen the manicured area of our golf course as a prime source.
This has led to them pecking away at the surface of significant parts of our estate to find small grubs etc and this is evidenced by the damage now very apparent on the 14th fairway as well as many other greens and approaches.
Up until 2/3 years ago there was a chemical available to deter them but this has been withdrawn from the market. We have been looking at alternative solutions including Scarecrows and different reflective types of product but due to the size of the estate to be covered the price (what else?) of using these is prohibitive.
Unfortunately this damage is something we will have to live with for the next few weeks until the first growth of berries appears on trees and bushes diverts their attention away from us – until next year. Once we reach that period the green team will top dress all affected areas and full recovery should be achieved by the start of the 2018 golfing season.
MJC (for the Greens Committee)
30 January 2018