April was another mixed bag of weather where we had some record temperatures over the Easter weekend, then storm Hanna to follow with heavy rain and high wind bringing some cooler conditions.
As we move through early May the temperatures will remain lower than average but are set to pick up towards the last two weeks of the month. With some moisture we could see a good flush of growth as we move from May into June.
Despite a cold start the signs are that there will be some good growing weather during the end of May. This will aid the recovery of winter wear, spring renovations, and any areas still suffering with drought damage from last year.
May will see mowing operations in full swing, with the aim of reducing the height of cut when sward density and ground conditions allow.
Other operations that complement cutting to improve trueness and smoothness are the use of brushes, verticutting units, and groomers to remove unwanted organic matter and lateral growth. The frequency of grooming or verticutting will depend on turf health, growth and climatic conditions.
This will be a good time to start some light aeration and topdressing to help produce a smooth putting surface. Light aeration provides oxygen for good microbial activity whilst creating space for root development, and increasing the movement of air and moisture through the rootzone.
Solid tine with 6 or 8mm tines monthly if possible, with weekly use of star slitters or sarel rollers. These are minimal disturbance practices for maximum results. Follow these with a light topdressing, vibro-rolling, and brushing monthly for surface trueness, and golfers will hardly know you have done it.
There will also be the increase in seed head population through this period. Some will use silicone products to increase cell wall strength, standing the grass up to cut them off. Others will look to use brushes, groomers or Poa Buster units to remove loose seed heads and create a finer faster texture.
We will be getting some nice dry cuts now enhancing presentation. Some light grooming and brushing will help on fairways and tees, getting some air into the sward, and dispersing debris and worm casts whilst standing the grass up for a cleaner cut.