Thursday, 19 February 2015

Organic matter management, new blades for the "Thatchaway" units

Organic matter is made up of dead and decaying grass plant material which develops at the base of the sward. Organic matter levels are controlled through maintenance practices such as verti-cutting where plant material is removed from the surface 2mm to 3mm, depending on the depth set. Sand dressing also helps to dilute the organic matter present. Both practices ensure that the build up of matter is prohibited.
 Other points to take into consideration when controlling organic matter levels are excessive fertiliser/ water inputs and ensuring that there is a healthy population of aerobic soil bacteria (through aeration), which will digest organic matter naturally.

The photographs below show a new set of verti-cut blades which have been fitted to the thatchaway units. The old blades are twelve years old and have lost there hardened tip and are worn.

new blade on the right

forty five blades are fitted to each thatchaway unit

The verti-cutting season will commence with the onset of growth during early Spring. Verti-cutting Greens helps to refine the sward and improve ball roll. As with many maintenance procedures too much verti-cutting results in the thinning of the sward and a negative effect on the desirable Fescue/ Bent grasses.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Aeration: Utilising modern technology

Machinery technology is improving constantly within  the fine turf management business. It is part of the Course Managers remit to keep up to date with the advancement of technology within the world of golf course management. Maintenance machinery is constantly developing to improve quality of performance and the reduction in disruption to the playing surfaces.
Campey's turf care recently carried out a demonstration to the Greenstaff of a new type of aeration equipment. Below are two photographs of the "Air2g2" aerator being demonstrated on the 6th Green.

The aerator operates by injecting compressed air out of the end of three tines which are forced down into the playing surface. The tine depths can be varied up to 300mm in depth.
The result from the release of compressed air is a fracturing of the soil around the tine hole area which relieves any built up soil compaction. Air exchange also occurs allowing soil air which is high in carbon dioxide following respiration to be exchanged with atmospheric air.
The major benefit of this aerator is the lack of surface disruption. This allows normal playing conditions to resume a lot quicker than using a traditional aerator such as the verti-drain where the heave created is more disruptive at the surface.


Friday, 6 February 2015

Woodland management, Tree pruning

The recent cold snap and the programmed winter works has allowed for tree pruning around the golf course. If left un-managed trees do not always reach their full potential, therefore periodic pruning must take place. All dead, diseased and damaged limbs are removed and then the tree is pruned to promote the desired shape.
Recent work has included lower limb removal to allow access around the tree with maintenance equipment. The gorse copses are being pruned, once the plant reaches some 1.8m in height and the growth becomes leggy the plant is pruned back to 150mm above ground. This process is carried out on a rotational basis and promotes fresh growth from the base.

The copse on the right hand side of the 8th hole is made up of Willow trees. These trees are periodically pollarded to extend the life of the tree. The willow is a very soft wood and if left un-managed usually splits or is blown over during high winds. The pollarding encourages fresh growth from the point of cut.

The recent pruning work on the 8th hole.

Cylinder sharpening and machinery servicing

The photograph above shows one of the Fairway mower cutting units after the cylinder and new bottom blade has been sharpened. Over the winter period all of the various cutting units, totaling 25, have there cylinders and bottom blades re-sharpened using our own cylinder grinder. The relief grinder was purchased in 2007 and has been a big asset over the years enabling sharpening of the cutting units when required during the year without having to be sent to an outside source.
During the winter months all of the maintenance machinery is serviced in-house with necessary oil and filter changes and bearing replacement carried out. Again this saves funds not having to send equipment away for maintenance work.