April Maintenance

General Maintenance

Due to the wet weather, you may have to make the decision to postpone your spring renovations until recovery gets underway again and in the meantime perform the following:

  • Scarify the green
  • Solid tine spike
  • Topdress
  • Overseed
  • Apply a spring fertiliser
  • Apply wetting agent (if necessary)

You should be mowing more frequently by now up to two to three times a week, although this will depend on the club's budget and level of play. Keep decreasing the height of cut until you get to the optimum height for the level of play requried. This will usually be between four and five mm.

Resist the temptation to cut any lower even if members complain that the greens are too slow because cutting below 3.5mm will put the sward under stress, and take away vital leaf that the plant needs to manufacture energy for growth.

Brushing and switching keeps the green clean and gets rid of any dew or surface water. The spread of disease will also be restricted by keeping the surface dry.

Aeration keeps improving the surface and subsurface drainage capacity of the green as well as increasing gaseous exchanges in the soil. Remember to use aeration equipment that is designed for the task and try not to disturb the surface too much before the playing season begins.

If you feel there is any damage that you may smear or damage the surface, then don't aerate. Once again, the budget and condition of the green may dictate your aeration programme.

Verticut  every two weeks to help thin the sward, remove weak grasses, help the sward stand up and it encourages tilling.

Fertilising is also important. Hopefully you have conducted a soil analysis of your soil profile so you know the nutrient status of your green. This analysis can assist you when purchasing and applying fertiliser products. Make sure you follow instructions carefully and apply at recommended rates, not overdosing the green or overlapping. The good news is that there are plenty of spring fertiliser products available to meet your requirements.

Agronomy

Particle Size Distribution (PSD): This is the right time to get your soil analysed. Measure for soil pH, nutrient levels and organic matter content - all good indicators of soil condition. If you haven't done one before, get a full PSD soil analysis done as this will let you know the precise make-up of your soil profile.

All soil is made up of percentages of clay, sand and silt. The PSD analysis will confirm the ratios of these in your soil to give you a better understanding of what you are working with.

These tests also give you an opportunity to check other physical aspects of the green, including root depth, compaction levels and what aerobic state the soil is in.

Fertiliser: Most groundstaff will now be applying a spring/summer NPK fertiliser like a 9:7:7 which will get the grass growing in April. Towards the end of the month, or maybe early May, it will be time to apply a slow release fertiliser to see you through until June or even July.

The choice of feed and its effectivenness depends on a number of factors including soil type, weather, and remember that moisture and air temperature are the catalysts for growth.

Weeds, pest and disease

As it has been very wet recently, there may be problems with moss and algae build-up. Keep an eye out for any attacks of fungal disease and use approved fungicides to treat. You may come across the following diseases:

  • Fusarium Patch
  • Red Thread
  • Fairy Rings
  • Anthracnose

Be aware that some of the damage that insects and pests cause are similar to those caused by diseases, so make sure to correctly diagnose the problem before treating or resolving it.

Common pests are:

  • Grubs
  • Leatherjackets
  • Chafer Grubs
  • Fruit fly
  • Ants
  • Worms
  • Moles
  • Birds
  • Dogs


Machinery


Your mower should be serviced and sharpened ready for the new season. Remember to keep machines overhauled and clean and also inspect irrigation equipment in case there are any leaks.

 
 
Dennis Mowers