The greens continue to get better as they recover from winterkill. We have seeded most areas a couple times to try to reestablish a strong population of plants. In the worst areas we have sodded and patched with sod from our turf nursery. We will continue to do that until all areas are healed. But for the most part we just need time for the turf to grow back together.
Progress has not been as quick as I or you have hoped but we are gaining. Obviously the weather has been a factor in the slow recovery for a few reasons. First we have had a couple of very intense rains this May that have washed away some seed and carried the topdressing away that protects the seedlings from drought and traffic. Secondly, a late frost on May 12 hit our second round of seedlings pretty hard and injured or killed many of those. Finally, as discussed in a prior post recovery from winterkill is most difficult just because of the cool soil temperatures and lack of consistent temperatures to promote growth. That definitely has been the case this spring.
Most people wonder "When will the greens be back to normal?" Next week they will be better and in two weeks better yet as incremental progress is made. Within a couple of weeks many of the small blemishes will be grown together and greens will be decent. As we move into June we will start to manage greens more like we normally do and by mid-late June they should be back to what you expect at Wild Horse.
We are working as hard as we can to get back to good conditions and appreciate your patience and also the encouragement many of you have given to me and my staff.
Monday, May 4, 2015
We finally started seeing some seedlings emerge last week from our seeding on April 14. (Notice the light green rows in the picture above). It took about 6 or 7 days longer than normal due to the cold temperatures but we are glad to see some new grass. Seeding in marginal soil temperatures usually leads to inconsistent stands which is what we are seeing. In some places we have solid rows of grass in our verticut slits but other rows only show sporadic plants and then some rows have no plants. We are not surprised by this because the longer the seed lays in the cold ground the less germination you tend to get. But we did get some plants started early in the seeding window especially under the covers. Then we went back into the spots that had washed the worst from the hard rain or had poor germination and seeded again on April 28. We also seeded a few spots again today after deciding our stand was marginal. We think these latest seedings will perform better now that soil temperatures are favorable. So we have been doing everything possible to create a good seed bank for new plants to emerge and fill our voids. Again once the seed comes up there are other perils that can harm new seedlings. We have already seen a couple cold nights ding the leaf tips of some seedlings and a couple of areas look to have some disease affecting them. So it is a long road to recovery but we are off and walking!
Phase two of the recovery process is patching isolated dead spots with sod from our nursery. We have started this time-consuming process by concentrating our efforts in the cuppable areas. Then we will go back around again and start patching seeded areas that didn't germinate well and just keep making the rounds until we have a complete green. This phase will probably last all May as we tackle this tedious process as time allows. We have a decent amount of sod available in our nursery so we will use as much as we can to create a playable surface the quickest.
Speaking of playability, as mentioned in the last post the putting quality is at its poorest right now but as the seedlings start to mature and the remaining plants creep into the voids, the surface will become more consistent in a couple of weeks and will continue to get better toward the end of the month. By then the greens should be pretty decent with only isolated humps with thin grass. I expect that by the middle to end of June all winter damaged greens will be completely healed.