After tax day in April it gets busy with applications in the Mid-Atlantic. Primarily, it is time to put our pre-emerge herbicide in the roughs. Because of our tighter corridors and contours around the fairways, we use our sprayers to apply the pre-emerge. 13 300 gallon tanks are used to cover 60 acres. In those 3,900 gallons, we only use 40 pounds of material to cover the entire 60 acres. In addition to the pre-m, in the rough we also have been working on managing our annual bluegrass weevil population on the greens, tees and fairways as well as applying wetting agent to all surfaces to help with water infiltration. These applications help set us up for a successful summer season and aid in keeping the turf as consistent and healthy as possible.
We also broke down and put a application of nitrogen and potassium on the greens as well as the fairways. We have been trying to hold off and let Mother Nature kick start the growth of our bentgrass but it just has not happened. Since applying the Nitrogen on the greens on Monday, the aeration holes have just about made their final strides to fill in. The fairways will green up quickly next week and we will be in great shape from here on out.
A newer cultural practice for this year is mowing the native areas in the spring. In prior years we were able to use a growth regulator that slowed the growth of these areas but that material is no longer available. Our new flail mower makes pretty quick work of the natives and to quote our main turf consultant, "your best herbicide in the natives is periodic mowing". After this mowing is complete, our plan is to let the native grass grow up and develop a seed head for an attractive appearance through the season. The little blue stem grasses (like in between 1 and 9) will turn green and then back to brown again late in the summer. The mowing will prevent the grasses from becoming too dense and lodging, or falling over late in the season.
Over the years the area between 1 and 9, while relatively attractive, had become inundated with weeds and the little bluestem has actually thinned out by over 50%. By allowing the brown colored little bluestem to stay high, weed control was near impossible. We have now cut the bluestem down and been able to even out the other grasses here. We hope to be able to manage the weeds better this year and by summer time and then the fall, the bluestem will be back to looking normal. In addition, this past winter we found a grower in North Carolina who is going to grow us about 3,000 little bluestem plugs that will be installed this fall. Our goal is to create a more consistent look here on 1 and 9 as well as other places like behind 6 green.
This week we also found some time to use up some extra materials from our larger range net installation. The net that used to be along the service road was replaced with the 20 foot tall net and is now being used at the back of the range. The net that was here previously had taken a beating and since it was our first attempt at a net, really wasn't installed that well. Now that we are professionals, this net is strung nicely and will further help keep our range ball inventory up, and costs down. We have already seen a massive difference in keeping balls where they belong with the larger net along the left side.