Voice of a Greenkeeper: March 2019 Tips
Here we go again with more weather records smashed, February finished with the record being broken 2 days in a row with temperatures hitting 20 then 21 degrees.
We must take this as a benefit that will help get some early recovery to aid the renovations of areas that suffered last year. This has also given some people the chance to bring forward some spring maintenance, that will now not need to be done as the playing season starts.
As we move into March we must be mindful that winter could still hit us through the next 8 weeks.
As we look to the start of the golfing season, days are now getting noticeably longer and the sun a bit stronger, albeit after a frosty start on some days. We’re forecast a bit of a mixed bag during March, so not sure what we will get. Ideally all the winter renovation works will have been completed with the dry winter period, as once the spring/summer maintenance and cutting programs kick in there will be little time to finish them off.
This may be a good time to start working on any bunkers that may have been a bit neglected whilst you have been undertaking other winter projects. Time to edge and loosen the sand to distribute through the bunker, replenishing where required. Continue to brush/switch greens and tees daily to remove moisture from the surface, stopping the spread of disease and to help get the best quality of cutting with a dry cut.
Most units will have been reground in the winter service, and are usually cutting very well at this time. This can sometimes be the first cut of the year and sharp blades will always give a cleaner cut. This will also help ease some disease pressure.
A light Brush or Verticut, if conditions and growth allow, will help through this period as we see variations of growth rates in different grass species. This will help smoothness and speed without dropping the height of cut as there is still a chance we could have a cold snap that would put the plant under more stress.
The process of photosynthesis will now be starting, and more leaf will help the process and more energy being available to the plant.
The use of Vibrating Rollers after a light dressing will again help the smoothness at this time but please only if conditions are dry enough.
True Surface Select-A-Vibe Rollers
If March was to follow on as warm and dry as February it may be a good idea to open up the irrigation system and think about an early application of wetting agent.
This will be far more effective to help the movement of moisture through the rootzone and help the uptake of nutrient through the plant, which will be beneficial to a good start to the season.