We completed the greens seeding process last Tuesday and Wednesday. We modified our verticut reels to cut a wider slit and then dropped the seed, verticut again, seeded again, and then dragged the seed in. Then we finished by topdressing and dragging once more. The goal is to create a seedbed that can germinate as many plants as possible to minimize recovery time. Unfortunately the heavy rain we had the past few days may have moved some seed and it may be necessary to reseed some spots at a later date. As I talked about last year when some of my colleagues suffered winterkill on their greens, recovery from winterkill on greens is the most challenging task in turf management. First the bentgrass seed is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. So it can easily wash, dry out, smother, or blow away. So just getting the seed to germinate is difficult. Once that happens, the seedling is not very vigorous due to its small seed size -bigger seed means more energy stored in the seed to help it get going. Then there is the problem of traffic from mowers and golfers so even once the seedling gets started it can be ripped out or damaged from traffic. To mitigate some of these issues our greens management will be much different than usual. First, we will water regularly during the day to keep the seed moist-it can only take a few minutes of drought at the crucial root extension stage to lose our little guys. Secondly, we will minimize mowing as much as possible during the next 3-4 weeks while still attempting to keep a putting surface. Finally all this must be done with temperatures that are marginal for seedling germination so maturation of the seedling takes much longer than you or I woulld like. If the damage we incurred from the winter happened in July the recovery time would be about a third as long so patience is key.
It is readily apparent now what is alive and what is not compared to a couple of weeks ago. The putting quality up to now has been OK but the greens in the next few of weeks will be more inconsistent as the dead grass recedes and the alive grass grows. As the remaining live plants start to fill in and seedlings germinate and mature the surface will become more consistent but that may not happen until mid to late May with good weather. We apologize for the inconvenience but are doing all we can to remedy the situation.