#12 @ Wild Horse

#12 @ Wild Horse

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Greens Seeding

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. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015


This video is outside the shop this AM.  Not too exciting but wanted to make sure I could get a video uploaded from my phone to this platform.  As most of you know this blog was contained within the Wild Horse Golf Course website under Superintendent News and will continue that way for awhile during the transition to this platform.  Once the transition is complete the tab will take you directly here to view the blog.  We think this version will be easier for us to post pictures and video which should provide you with more information.  Also more content will be stored and indexed to allow you to look back at previous posts.  Hope you enjoy the changes and continue to follow the maintenance team at Wild Horse. 

Winter Damage

Greens have greened up some more but many high exposed areas continue to struggle to get going.  The winter seems to have really set the turf back and I am amazed at how slow it has been to respond.  I brought some plugs into my office to see how they would respond in a warm environment.  


 You can see not all plants lived but probably 40% did make it, but they are barely poking their heads out as you can see if you look closely at the picture above.  So half dead is not good but I prefer to look at the bright side and it's better than all dead.  That gives us something to work with and should be enough to keep putting quality decent.
Below is a plug from good quality turf.   You can see how much better it is than the plug above.  It has some plant loss, but its overall vigor is much better than you see above for whatever reason.  That is why you see the blotchiness of the greens right now.  Some patches are lagging behind in their development, but should start to catch up in the next couple weeks.

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So what do we do from here?  We will aggressively fertilize to stimulate growth and recovery from the surviving plants and then overseed around April 15 to bolster the population.  We will explain that process and its difficulties at a later date. Also we will be mowing at a higher height of cut and less frequently than normal so greens will be a bit slower than normal.  As the turf starts to recover we will focus more on putting quality and less on just growing grass, but that will be the priority for now.

We continue to aerate fairways and are nearly half done with that project.  They are looking pretty good so far and will get mowed for the first time this week.  Greens surrounds and tees have been a bit slower to get going but also will receive their first mowing this week.  Both of these areas look pretty good coming out of winter.  There are a few thin spots on approaches from last fall's bentgrass killing applications as expected but we are really pleased with how they are going to be once they start growing.    

Wednesday, April 8, 2015