Initially the week started colder with a couple of grass frosts. The frost didn't penetrate into the ground so went after around 9am each day. The picture below highlights why the front putting green is prone to disease.
The edge nearest the clubhouse is clearly not frozen like the rest of the green. I believe this is because the clubhouse reflects any heat and light creating a slightly different microclimate in this region. As this strip is always slightly warmer and therefore more dewy and less likely to freeze disease pressure is higher.
Other reasons we find problematic greens on the course is shade. Whilst working around the 5th green it was an ideal opportunity to show the problems we face. At just past midday this is as much sun this green gets at it's highest point.
With high disease pressure in mind we have applied another preventative fungicide to greens and surrounds. We will apply another application in December to limit disease through until spring. As mentioned last month the contact fungicide active ingredient iprodione has been withdrawn, the dates have been released and we will have up to the start of June to use all remaining stock. With this in mind we must now face the difficult challenge of balancing preventative and cultural strategies to minimise disease. This is going to be a difficult one, as already on the wet and shaded greens we have seen unbelievable disease pressure resulting in fusarium patches on roughly 6 of the worst greens. Clearly we want improve the environmental conditions to allow as much natural resistance as possible, this could be more aeration, improved drainage, tree removal or resorting to unnatural measures like more frequent chemical applications.
Most of the leaves are now down and are still being collected regularly, the breezy conditions are blowing what's left around the course which then have to be blown clear of playing surfaces. The team are still out daily ensure we can keep the course in the best condition possible.
Obviously greens, tees and fairways are the priority areas so bunkers have been raked less due to time, and the fact that all debris needs to be removed first. So we are currently doing them once a week. When debris and leaves reduce then we can then rake more often.
Greens and surrounds have also been sprayed with calcium, iron, potassium and bio stimulants to strengthen them going into this cold spell. We hopefully will apply a winter granular fertiliser to greens, surrounds and tees next week.
The only cutting we have done this week is to greens, surrounds and the Derwent fairways, just to keep them tidy.
This week we have had Neville Maw our regular hedge cutting contractor here to cut all hedges and ditches on the course. Following the 3 days he is here cutting we then have a number of areas that will need hand cutting.
We are making a start to tree pruning right across the course along with continued removal of dead, dying and weak trees. This is a long process which involves assessing each tree and removing low and hanging branches. This is to ensure machinery can access all areas and golf can be played without to many restrictions.