The week’s weather continued July’s performance, with 12 mm Monday-Friday. Continuous rain all Saturday and overnight into Sunday brought another 20 mm. The result first thing was flooded greens - see below - and significant puddles in fairway hollows. Course closure was unavoidable, but a second inspection at 10:30 showed substantial improvement and the course was reopened.
Despite the rain - and its effect on growth rates - the greens speed came in at 10’ 1” this week. Previously we’ve aligned speed with hot dry weather, but that’s hardly been the cause in July. Another likely reason is regular rolling with the Turf Iron, but as with so many aspects of green keeping there is a downside: rolling soft greens causes compaction which slows drainage - hence the short-term flooding. The greens really need vertidraining (steel pins driven 12” down to the stone foundations and cranked to lift the entire root zone) but the disturbance takes several days to settle; we can’t do that during the season. It will have to wait for the ‘greens week’ in late September, when greens will be scarified, possibly hollow-tined, vertidrained and dressed.
Quite heavy applications of dressing in the early summer has minimised pitch marks, although some were visible this week. Another negative consequence of the damp conditions has been the proliferation of worm casts, which are a real problem on closely mown surfaces, including tees: we can’t mow until the casts have been swept off.
The greens were again sarel rolled on Monday. The 2-3” pins help drainage and get air into the greens surface and any disturbance clears after mowing.
Gavin has hired a motorised hand-operated flail mower - like a tractor-mounted hedge cutter, but about a metre wide - and has been able to clear the rough that had grown up around the DEFRA trees planted at the beginning of the year. Once mown a generous radius round the trees is sprayed out to prevent them being choked. Most of the saplings are doing pretty well with the exception of the oaks - no idea why, since oaks generally do well on our soil.
The rain has made the course too soft to cope with heavy machinery, so there is no immediate possibility of the long rough or hedges being cut. We will need a dry week before that can happen.
7th August 2023