Spring clean for mature golf greens
By Carol Dutton
Harrogate's finest young golfers (boys under 16yrs) will meet Wales this spring on "cleaned" greens at a highly respected hundred-year-old parkland course.
Tony Baxby head greenkeeper at Harrogate Golf Club, Jay Dobson, agronomist from P.S.D. Agronomy Ltd. and David Snowden from Floratine have waged a three-year war to restore the efficiency of Harrogate Golf Club's heavy greens built on a clay sub base.
"Essentially we had to improve the way the greens performed," says Dobson. "There was a lot of thatch, they weren't stable chemically and the grass condition was a lot more variable than it should be. There were a couple of diseases issues, Fusarium and Anthracnose, and our aim was to prevent the infection in the first place."
Rather than re-build the greens with a sand based construction, the club charged the three-man team with turning the greens around.
Snowden who has worked with Dobson on a number of courses, following the agronomist's utilisation of Analync (the soil analysis system used by Floratine) produced a soil amendment and nutritional programme based on analysis of soil samples.
"As well as evidence of black layer, very little rooting and a build up of bicarbonates leading to high sulphur levels, nematodes were present and the root zone showed an excess of ammoniacal nitrogen," he recalls. "We used CalpHex a multi chelated calcium and Pervade a soil penetrant to flush out the unwanted elements and fed during the summer months with mainly potassium nitrates and some forms of urea using soil liquids every month to six weeks and foliar feed in small quantities every two to three weeks. We also used Protesyn, which provides essential amino acids to help the plant convert nitrogen into a usable form of nutrient. The aim was to encourage the plant to use up the excess nitrogen already in the soil."
Dobson compiled a mechanical programme of aeration and de-compaction including solid tining, verti-draining and cross tining, and secondary drainage using gravel banding and drill and fill. Deep scarifying and verti-cutting were introduced to control and remove thatch, as well as regular top dressing to dilute the organic matter.
Having been consulted at each stage, Tony Baxby chose his contractors and both the nutritional and mechanical restoration programmes commenced. Working as a team around Tony's tournament timetable (as well as the boys int
"We've turned the corner," says Snowden. "It's taken three years to make the soil more efficient and Tony can now apply what he needs for effective grass growth."
Tony Baxby reports a marked increase in the greens availability for play. "I know we've had a mild winter but we've hardly been off the course except during snow. Last summer the greens were as good as they've ever been."
For further information on Floratine, contact David Snowden on Tel: 01765 658031, mobile: 07799 036996 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org