Superintendents are always on the lookout for new equipment to improve the quality and efficiency of the maintenance operation. The following three pieces of equipment have the potential to improve course conditions, reduce water and chemical inputs, and improve maintenance efficiency:
1. Disc seeder—Overseeding bermudagrass with perennial ryegrass requires significant labor, water and chemical inputs. However, a new disc seeder can strategically place seeds approximately 0.25 inch deep and immediately cover them by rolling the soil surface. This substantially improves germination and minimizes labor and water inputs. Superintendents who have tried disc seeders have been impressed with how fast seeds germinated and matured when compared to traditional broadcast seeding.
2. Brushes for closely mown turf areas—Front-mounted or gear-driven brushes attached to greenmowers are common, but brushes can also be very effective for improving the quality of cut on approaches, fairways and tees. Whether your course has cool- or warm-season turf, regularly mowing with gear-driven or front-mounted brushes can improve the surface smoothness and density of closely mown areas and can help enhance mowing stripes.
3. Fraze-mowing machine—Fraze mowing is an extremely efficient way to remove thatch, weed seeds and even the fine-textured soil that sometimes accompanies sod. On bermudagrass tees, fairways and approaches, fraze mowing will likely require several weeks of course closure to allow for full recovery. However, the short-term disruption will pay long-term dividends in the terms of firmer, smoother playing surfaces. Fraze mowing may also temporarily eliminate the need for chemicals to control Poa annua and may even reduce the incidence of diseases like spring dead spot.
For more information on these and other equipment options tailored to your course conditions, please contact the USGA Green Section.
West Region Agronomists:
Patrick J. Gross, regional director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry W. Gilhuly, agronomist – email@example.com
Brian S. Whitlark, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org
Blake Meentemeyer, agronomist – email@example.com