It is that time of year. Leaves are being collected, one or two key projects are in the final stages of completion and educational conferences are just around the corner.
As of late October, the leaves are still hanging on the trees. In fact, most superintendents visited this fall have commented on the lack of color and the late leaf drop this fall. Still, when the leaves do hit the ground they will need to be collected and removed. When it comes to priorities, focus on removing leaves from the bunkers first, because the Rules of Golf limit the options for searching for a ball in a hazard. There are always those key bunkers that come into play more than others. Check and clean those first, along with greens and surrounds, and then areas of rough can be cleared of leaf debris.
Travel throughout the North-Central region has provided evidence that golf facilities are investing in their future. All levels of renovation are underway. Everything from renovating a single tee or bunker to regrassing greens has been observed this fall. In every case, superintendents are trying to complete these projects before the weather dramatically slows grass growth. During fall, days are short and the soil temperatures are low. These factors make it challenging if projects are expected to be completed without inconveniencing players. Be realistic about project work. Seed and/or sod need time to mature prior to cold weather shuts down turf growth and development.
Fall and winter is also the time for state and local turf conferences. Conferences provide the opportunity to listen to new techniques and determine if research findings from university projects can be incorporated into your turfgrass maintenance program.
Finally, fall and winter is the time to reevaluate programs used during the 2013 season and make plans for next year. Fertilization, cultivation and basic mowing programs can be reviewed and fine-tuned for the new season. Bob Vavrek and I will be at many of the regional conferences, so if you have questions during or after, please give us a call. There are no issues too small or too big when it comes to planning for next year.
Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service
Contact the Green Section Staff