There has been many times I've been going to sit down and write another blog but other priorities seem to keep me from doing so once again. We struggled through a seemingly cold May and are now baking in summertime heat. Just good ole Nebraska weather.
We believe that May is when we really make up ground and the course rounds into form about Memorial Day. That was no exception this year. The month of May is used to recover from aerification and thicken up the stand of turf. It can be tricky to manage for consistency then due to the swings in weather and that limits the quality and consistency of the greens. But by late May our brushing and plant growth regulation schedules start to improve the greens quality. This year was no exception and greens really improved in the last week of May as we hoped. They are usually the last part of the course to get to where we want them and that is mostly due to bentgrass liking just a bit more heat than the other grasses we manage.
Now we are into full summer mode and the course is looking and playing well for the Nebraska State Match Play this week. We always enjoy seeing how the course presents for good competitors. There were some very good scores with playing condition hot but not windy.
We have been working on a new poa control program this spring on some fairways (6, 14, 15, 17). That was going well until our last application which, while it achieved good control on the poa, it also damaged some of our good grasses. This caught us a bit off-guard as previous apps did not affect our turf that much. A sharp increase in temperature and our experimentation with a slightly more acidic solution seemed to really ding the ryegrass. So you will see some thinning in those spots in the short term. But in the long term we should come out with a more consistent stand of bluegrass. That is one of those learning moments that will help guide us next spring.
We liken poa control to cancer chemotherapy because it is very hard on the patient in an attempt to kill the cancer. And they may look really tough for awhile, but in the long term the goal is to get rid of the bad and the patient survives. And so too we expect the turf to recover and be better in those areas in time. That recovery is being hindered by some very unusual grub activity (for this time of year) and the hot weather but slowly and surely through the summer our turf will get better there.
That really is the only concerning areas on the course right now. Greens, approaches and fairways are looking good right now as is the wooga. The May rains provided good moisture for some of the wildflowers that call the rough home. It started with Western Wallflower (yellow), progressed to shell-leaf penstemon (pink flowers near cabins), and now spiderwort (purple clusters between 7&8) is giving color to the wooga. I'm not busy chasing my golf ball so I notice these things-hopefully you too take time to appreciate the diversity and beauty of our "wooga"
Until next time good golfing!