The state of our greens and plans for summer

Craig Parsons

As of the first week of May the status of our non over seeded greens is good. This is not a universally accepted conclusion, of course. There is understandable dissatisfaction from residents who are accustomed to spending the warmer months in temperate places with cool weather grasses and coming to Quail Creek in the colder months with over seeded greens using annual cool weather grass. Concurrently, other homeowners have lived the warmer Arizona months with sections of bare earth created by the demise of the over seed where the base Bermuda has been pushed out by years of overseeding. So last summer we pushed the Bermuda to build a healthy coverage and then didn’t over seed.

If you look at the putting green in the morning, spots where the turf has been worn are visible. Think Wimbledon center court after two weeks of tennis. A similar situation exists on Road Runner and to a lesser extent, Coyote. Quail, which had the deepest Bermuda coverage, seems less impacted. Road Runner greens suffer more from the ubiquitous unrepaired ball marks because they are newer. We can all help improve our greens by fixing ball marks. Can’t find the one you just made? Look a little. You can fix another one.

At the end of the summer we will determine if they are healthy enough to withstand the wear of 65,000 rounds each year. If yes, we will again opt out of overseeding.

There are a number of steps we will take over the summer to build the quality of our Bermuda greens, some of which have already begun. First, we will use the Monday closure to core aerate using 3/8” plugs. The greens will then be top dressed using sand specifically purchased for the purpose. The greens are then dragged to allow the top dress material to get into the holes. The greens are then watered aggressively. Early the next morning they are dragged again, watered and rolled. Early feedback says the aerified greens accept shots better than before plugging. They tend to be a bit quicker and less bumpy. We expect to repeat this process three times during the summer. In so doing, we open the turf to circulation which promotes better growth and limits the layer of undesirable decomposing material.

We will verticut the greens several times as well. Verticutting is the process of slicing greens vertically. It has several benefits. It opens the soil, which promotes better growth. It encourages the plants to grow upward. On Bermuda greens it reduces the impact of the Bermuda runners (called grain on TV). Verticutting also stresses any residual over seed grass by encouraging the base Bermuda.

Better greens through chemistry. We have applied a product called Revolver which is designed to stress the residual poa trivialis (the grass we used for over seed). As we approach cooler temperatures, we will apply a product called Rubigan to prevent the poa trivialis from emerging.