Voice of a Greenkeeper: October tips

Well that was a summer that has given us all some issues going into Autumn! What will October bring?

This is a month that could go either way, from dry spells with cold light frosty mornings and lovely sunny afternoons giving some late localized dry patch, to autumnal wetter days and saturated ground conditions with heavy dew and mist.

With these conditions we need to keep an eye on night time temperatures, relative humidity and periods of leaf blade wetness.

Warmth and available moisture are the keys to both grass and fungal pathogenic growth.

As night time temperatures fall and we see reduction in sunlight hours growth rates will start to drop off, however lower night time temperatures will lead to heavier morning dew, prolonged periods of leaf blade wetness and increased risk of attack from disease pathogens.

Light aeration with Sarel Roller or Star Slitter operations will help the surface breathe and remove dew, keeping sward dry. Regular dew brushing or the use of a dew dispersal may be a good option too.

Looking at nutrition through this time is essential as air and soil temperatures are staying higher creating growth up till Christmas. We need to keep the plant strong and healthy but not encourage soft growth.

Combining little and often applications of a low nitrogen is a key tactic in marinating plant health, this used with seaweed and some chelated iron will help as a light bio stimulant and turf hardener through this period.

Out on the course leaves will now be starting to fall and hours will be spent blowing and collecting, we will be starting to raise heights of cut to winter heights, implementing winter work programs and putting wear management programs in place.

Greens:
October is a key month for aeration and maintenance work.

There are a wide range of aerators available with a large choice of tines from star tines, solid tines, slit tines and hollow tines; the choice of machine or combination of tines will be dependent on the ground conditions and outcomes required.

A lot of over seeding work will have been done to recover the areas from summer drought and heat stress already so be mindful of this.

Tees:
The aeration of tees will continue with solid or hollow tines, in line with autumn maintenance. Aeration should continue throughout the winter when weather conditions allow.

The tees have suffered through this summer’s conditions. Scarification and over seeding work will still be possible with the temperatures we are seeing now through October.

Fairways:
Following the summer heat and drought we have seen lots of areas that have suffered on fairways and green surrounds.

We can look at raking or scarifying these areas then over seeding if resources allow.

When the moisture levels increase, and ground conditions improve we can look at opening them up with solid or slit tines as much as possible increasing oxygen levels and improving percolation.