Voice of a Greenkeeper: February Tips
Well here we are, February already. After such a wet end to 2019, we are now seeing some dryer days and temperatures above average for this time of year. Many courses have seen some vigorous growth through December and January, and they are having to cut if they can get on with the ground conditions.
Talking to greenkeepers from Europe at BTME they were saying the same. Many of them are seeing milder winters with courses still open, when normally they would have been closed since November and frozen or covered with snow.
Talking of BTME Harrogate Week there was a good vibe around the Halls, and most people are now getting used to the new layout. With lots of friendly faces to chat to, usually about the weather, attend some excellent education, see new machines, and have a good catch up with friends old and new, it was another excellent event.
Moving through February, the forecast is for it to remain changeable, starting off warmer but then maybe some colder wintery showers towards the back end of the month.
Always remember, when the frost has lifted, continue to brush/switch greens and tees to remove moisture from the grass surface, stopping the spread of disease. If ground conditions are favourable, removing the dew with sarel roller or star slitters will be beneficial to help relive surface tension and get some oxygen in.
Looking forward through February into March, aeration of greens, tees and fairways should be ongoing when conditions allow. A wide range of solid, hollow or slit aerators will be used on the playing surfaces. It is essential to keep the greens aerated to maintain oxygen, improve water percolation, and alleviate compaction, but this is only beneficial if conditions are favourable.
The use of a fairway groomer, brush or scarifier machine will remove some thatch, and dead and decaying grass, opening areas in the sward for grass to regenerate, or to help the germination of seed if an over seeding program is being applied. It will also be beneficial to brush before cutting to remove worm casts or just to stand the grass up and present it to the mowers for a better cut.
If moss ingresses in the areas where grass coverage has been lost the application of a lawn sand, turf hardener, or soluble iron, if conditions do improve towards the end of the month, will give a hardening to the plant and kill off some moss. This will also give a little kick to aid recovery allowing for the removal of some moss through grooming or scarifying, before moving towards more intensive maintenance through March / April.
Let’s hope this spring is a good one!
Thatch-Away Sarel Roller or Star Slitter Cassettes remove dew and lightly aerate in one operation
The GreenTek Fairway-Groomer uses multiple rows of spring tines plus a rear brush to lightly scarify fairways and disperse worm casts