Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The final days of summer are upon us

Another good sunny morning to you all,

The sun is shining again and there is a faint breeze in the air.  I hope everyone is taking advantage of these the final days of summer.  And by the looks of the packed tee sheet, I'll hazard a guess and assume most of you are!

The end of summer brings on a whole new set of tasks to be completed.  Aerification of everything is about to begin, vertical-mowing of all bentgrass surfaces will continue, and everybody's favourite, the mowing of fescue has already started.  That's right, the fescue is coming down......

......I'll give you a moment here for your applause......

Judging by everybody's reaction to the flail mower making slow progress out there these past two days, I can see the delight in your eyes!  I will warn you however, it is still very difficult to find your ball underneath the hay.  There are a couple of reasons why we start mowing the fescue at this time of year.  The first and foremost reason is to regenerate the fescue for the next season.  However, within our fescue lies a lot of bluegrass.  Of course this bluegrass does not compete very well with weeds and other unwanted species when left to grow, and as such our fescue becomes riddled with annoying weeds.  In fact, this was the worst season I have had here at Sawmill for weed control in the fescue.  Part of it was the prolonged wet spring, which gave way to a hot wet summer, which taxed our small Turf Department crew.  Between weather hindering our efforts to spray the fescue, and being tied up by more important day-to-day tasks, the fescue sort of fell to the bottom of the priority list. 

However, as we end the summer of 2011, and head into the fall, this provides us with a perfect time to mow the fescue down, and apply a full application of herbicides.  By applying these products in the fall, not only should we see good control of the weeds already present, but a lot of the time you end up getting the weed seeds which are present in the soil, that would otherwise germinate and grow in the spring.  It's a win-win.

Now we still ask that you keep all cart traffic out of the fescue, and help any of our green fee and resort guests who may become misguided with their carts in the fescue.  It can be tough to tell the difference once the dust settles as to where the rough ends and the fescue begins.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated!

You will begin to notice some more dollar spot activity on our fairways over the next couple of weeks.  This was one of the toughest years I have ever had for the control of dollar spot, and it seemed like no matter what we did, the dollar spot continued to flourish.  Much like human beings developing a resistance to prescription medications such as penicillan, resistance can be developed with a turf plant, which in turn causes our fungicide applications to become less effective.  As such, certain products which we apply based on our plans, can become useless, and in turn become a giant waste of money.  This was a part of the case we experienced this season.

Now that we are near the end of the dollar spot season, it is really not that feasible or wise to throw money at an issue which will naturally disappear with the colder weather on its way.  Hopefully the weather does not encourage the dollar spot any more than it needs to, and we can keep our fairways as beautiful as they have been as of late.

And finally today, and seeing how I spent today's update talking about the end of summer, I might as well take this opportunity to let you know that we have set a closing day for the 2011 golf season for Sunday November 13th.  This will be the final day for golf of the 2011 season, as we need to ensure that the course is fully prepared and ready for the winter months ahead.  I won't mention that "S" word yet, but we all know its coming........

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jamie.downton@sawmill-creek.com

Enjoy the sun!


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