Voice of a Greenkeeper: November & December Tips

We returned home after a couple of good days attending the IOG Saltex show at the NEC. There was plenty to see with over 100 exhibitors covering all areas of the industry. The education seminars and demonstration areas covered a good variety of subjects for all levels.

The conditions through October continued to be very wet in most areas, with some torrential downpours closing courses, and washing out bunkers and paths.  All adding to the workload. These conditions have given greenkeepers some very stressful days over the last few months.  They have had to contend with excessive growth, wet cutting conditions, worm casts, leaves falling, and high disease pressure through this difficult early Autumn.

The main priority on parkland courses at this time will be leaf clearance and tree work.  This includes raising canopies, and taking out any dead or problematic trees that may cause concern to playability or agronomical issues on that hole. This can be beneficial if done before the leaves drop.

At this time of the year, most course managers and greenkeepers will have raised mowing heights in all areas.  The use of hand mowers may replace triples where available, this preventing heavy ride on mowers being used, whilst frequency of cut will reduce from daily to 2 or 3 times a week.

Dew removal is vital on the days of non-cutting, with disease pressure being high.  This can be done with a dew brush, swish, light sarel roll, star slit or light roll depending on conditions and moisture content. Take a look at the GreenTek Sarel Roller which this can aerate and remove the dew keeping surface oxygenated and dry.

Aeration work can continue fairways, tees, greens and approaches when conditions permit with solid or slit tines. Think about the type and condition of your soil profile as some aeration at this time when conditions are unsuitable may damage the soil structure or increase compaction.

Winter works that can be looked at during this time include drainage work, bunker maintenance, tee refurbishments, ditch clearance, pathway construction, and tree work.

Traffic management is essential through this time of year to spread wear and protect.  Direction routes should be moved regularly.

During times of inclement weather over the winter months you can look at:

  • Servicing and sharpening mowers.
  • Turf equipment maintenance, including replacing worn blades, bearings, brushes and tines for maximum efficiency.
  • Bring Health and Safety programs up to date, and revise the risks.
  • Do any maintenance, cleaning and painting in the greenkeeper facilities.
  • Cleaning and preparing all the course furniture for the new season.
  • Budgets and plans for the year ahead.
  • Visit any demonstration days or shows to see the latest innovations.
  • This is a good time to get yourself and the lads booked into some education courses.

That’s it for me till Next Year

All the best

Have a good one