Voice of a Greenkeeper: February tips

We have just had probably the longest autumn ever with courses through the country seeing the most growth through December and January they have ever seen, actually having to cut for the growth not just for appearance.

Winter then arrived just in time for BTME Harrogate, with some snow and frozen conditions. We were greeted inside by a new fresh layout, meet up with lots of friendly faces, attend some excellent education, see new products and machines, and have a good catch up with friends old and new.

Moving through February, the forecast is for it to remain changeable, starting with colder wintery showers but warming up towards the back end of the month.

Conditions will be little different to December and January, so a good time to get some machine maintenance, cleaning, painting, course furniture and any tree management work done.

When conditions allow, always remember when the frost has lifted to continue to brush/switch greens and tees to remove moisture from the grass surface, stopping the spread of disease.

If ground conditions are favourable removing the dew with Sarel Roller or Star Slitters will be beneficial to help relive surface tension and get some oxygen in.

Sarel Roller

It will be a good time to finish any winter program or maintenance jobs: paths, bunkers, tree management, and the irrigation system may need some work before it is pressurised.

Looking forward through February into March, aeration of greens, tees and fairways is ongoing when conditions allow. A wide range of solid, hollow or slit aerators will be used on the playing surfaces. It is essential to keep the greens aerated to maintain oxygen and alleviate compaction but this is only beneficial if conditions are favourable.

Double Quick aerator

Courses throughout the country will have all suffered through last year’s summer with heat and drought stress. Spring will be a time to try and recover any areas still struggling. Good aeration through these areas will help with the recovery, as well as good moisture management.

The use of a fairway groomer, brush, or scarifier will remove some thatch and dead and decaying grass. This will open up areas in the sward for grass to regenerate, or to help the germination of fresh seed if an over seeding program is being applied.

The NEW 12′ Fairway Groomer

If moss ingresses in the areas where grass coverage has been lost, the application of a lawn sand, turf hardener or soluble iron, if conditions do improve towards the end of the month, will give a hardening to the plant and kill off some moss.

This will give a little kick to aid recovery, allowing for the removal of some moss through grooming or scarifying, moving towards more intensive maintenance through March and April.

Lets hope spring is a good one…