Monday, April 6, 2009

Winter Injury Recovery Process - #3 & #11 Greens

You’ve likely seen our earlier post showing the Crown Hydration injury (available here) that we incurred on greens #3 and #11. It’s been a few weeks since then, and we felt it was time to discuss our response strategy to enhance the recovery.

When we first saw the injury we were, of course, alarmed by what looked like a devastating injury and what would clearly be a long road to recovery. We initially had visions of an extended temporary green on #11, significant sod needs, potential uneven seams, lengthy healing time, and unattractive appearance issues. Well, while we still have a ways to go before this green is back to normal, we are happy to report that there are encouraging signs that the damage may not be as extensive as we once thought.

Both damaged areas on #3 and #11 have been uncovered each day (when conditions warranted) and re-covered each night to keep soil temperatures warm and growth constant. This will be continued until the green is fully recovered.

We brought plugs from the damaged area into the office, potted them, and placed them in a south window for observation. After a week indoors, we began to see some degree of turf shoot emergence, which was encouraging, but it appeared as though there was not enough to provide complete turf cover. We knew then that as soon as weather conditions were appropriate we would need to initiate the repair process.

Our overseeding process involved:

• Creating thousands of small holes with a hand overseeding tool affectionately called “The German Tamp”. These holes provide an ideal site for seed to be placed, insuring necessary seed to soil contact and protective channels once seed germinates and seedlings begin to emerge.

• Spreading a mixture of bentgrass seed and rooting amendment (containing nutrients, vitamins, and bio-stimulants) using multiple passes with drop spreader.

• Lightly brushing the seed into the holes to insure soil contact
• Topdressing the areas with a dried green-dyed sand to lightly cover the seed and prevent it from washing away. The colored sand is used primarily to absorb heat energy to enhance soil warming and germination, but also takes the edge off the stark, light brown, damaged areas.
• The entire area is then brushed one more time and then recovered.

This work was completed last Thursday evening just in time for a perfect light rain that fell early Friday morning, settling all materials into the holes and green turf canopy.

Our work going forward will be to complete this same process on #3 green (a much smaller area) and #4 tee. We’ll monitor frequently and keep the seeded areas moist until the areas have fully recovered. Number 11 green will be kept closed on Mondays and days with light play expected to give it every opportunity possible to recover and new seedlings to establish. Thereafter, we’ll provide light and frequent fertilization and lots of TLC, and with a little help from Mother Nature in the temperature and sunshine department, it shouldn’t be long before this green is back to full coverage. It will require a lot of extra care this entire year, as new plants slowly mature but we’ll do our best to get it back to normal just as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during this recovery process.

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