We developed this blog to provide golf course maintenance information to our members. From projects, small and large, to updates on course conditions, we want to provide as much information as possible. Although we hope this blog answers all of the pertinent questions regarding our operation, we always welcome more personalized dialogue. If you have questions beyond the information found on this blog, feel free to contact our golf course superintendent, Trevor Hedgepeth.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thatch Management on Kinloch Greens

The putting quality at Kinloch is highly correlated with our thatch management. As grass plants progress through their natural life-cycle, older leaf and root material dies and new plant components emerge. An organic build-up of these materials leads to a thatch/organic layer just below the turf canopy. This layer can become soft and "spongy." Aside from the agronomic problems that are presented by an over-accumulation of thatch, play-ability suffers as well. When you think of it intuitively, imagine rolling a golf ball across a sponge. The friction of the ball "sitting" in the sponge layer will reduce speeds much more than lets say, that same golf ball rolling across a firm pool table. So, as long as grass is growing, thatch will try to accumulate. In response to this natural phenomenon, we have implemented a frequent, but light topdressing program. This program is not to be confused with our bi-annual top-dressings during each aeration. Think of those applications as modifications and think of this program as routine maintenance. By applying light doses of sand in conjunction with the plant's growth rate, we always stay one step ahead of thatch accumulations. We apply this sand through push spreaders as to avoid inconsistent rates and the weight of bigger machines.

Aside from the ball roll and thatch reduction benefits, this routine incorporation of sand will always maintain our air-filled porosity in the root zone. We also know that these routine applications will not adversely affect ball roll on the day of an application. Although often negatively stereotyped, a light and frequent topdressing program is a major key to surface quality.