Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grassing Improvement Projects

If you've had a chance to enjoy a round or two during the past month of record temperatures (7 degrees warmer on average, each day) you have likely seen activities adjacent to #9 tee and some odd circular brown spots on #2 tee. In both cases we are replanting with more desirable grasses.

On #2 tee we have sprayed the spots of perennial ryegrass (a weed on this bentgrass / poa annua tee) and reseeded with the more desirable, more compatible, bentgrass. Perennial ryegrass has it's place, such as on our range tee and in the roughs, but it's darker green color and more rapid leaf extension rate is unattractive when it contaminates our tees or fairways. A few of our tees have a few to several spots of ryegrass (and many of our fairways do as well) and we wanted to test a Round Up & reseeding process. Round Up (a product that completely kills plants but is deactivated upon contact with the soil) was used to kill the ryegrass and since it has no residual soil effects, we sowed the desirable bentgrass seed within a few days after treatment. With light and frequent irrigation, and now more consistently warmer temperatures, we should see seed germination within a couple weeks and we'll be on our way to a more attractive, more uniform tee surface.
  Darker green Perennial ryegrass being eliminated - Bentgrass seed sowed into brown patches

Another seeding project in process is in the area to the right of #9 tee. In an earlier post I wrote about us eliminating a large grove of invasive buckthorn in this area and that our plan was to re-grass the area to Fine Fescues and native Little Blue-stem.
 Tangled mess -"buckthorn patch"- before removal this winter

Buckthorn removed, remaining plants treated to eliminate

 At the present time we have treated to eliminate the existing plant material and have begun to haul in a mix of stockpiled soil, composted scrap sod, aeration cores, stump shavings, and other debris that we have accumulated over time. We will "topdress" the area and cover the many buckthorn stumps, which have been treated with a product to prevent re-growth. We've used this same "composted" material in other tall grass, out-of-play, areas and it has worked well as a seed germination medium. Also, aside from this being a good seed medium, it's a great way to re-use or recycle material that otherwise would have to be discarded, and it save the very high price of having hauled and dumped off site.

  Our own "composted" material ready to be spread

The hauling of material will continue over the next couple days and then smoothing, sowing seed, and covering with a seed blanket will follow. Additionally, while we have left a "band" of buckthorn along the fence, to retain it's screening effect, we will be planting several containers of a taller native grass called Indiangrass, along the fence line for added screening. The Fescues will give us cover this year but the native grasses will take a few years to establish completely. When they do finally mature this should become a much more attractive area than the former "buckthorn patch" that previously existed.
I'll keep you posted as to our progress.

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