Grasses growing under trees are subject to more than just shade stress. These grasses must compete with tree roots for soil space, water, oxygen, and nutrients. Tree roots may extend far from the canopy line (beyond the tree's actual branches and leaves), so these competitive effects can also occur at some distance from the tree. In some cases, removal of trees or trimming of lower branches may be necessary for continued grass growth. Decreased photosynthesis under lower light (shade) is directly related to a decrease in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates (sugars) essential for growth and health of turfgrass. Reduced sugar availability to support adequate growth can also exacerbate the negative impact of wear and other stresses on many turfgrass species because reserves are not available to support re-growth of damaged turf.
Tomorrow looks like our first chance for frost with a low around 40 degrees tonight. The following is taken from the "Common Questions" page on this blog: WHAT IS FROST AND WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT TO PLAY?
Frost is basically frozen dew that has crystallized on the grass, making it hard and brittle. A grass blade is actually 90 percent water, therefore it also freezes. Because of the short mowing height (sometimes as low as 1/8 inch) and fragile nature of the turf, putting greens are most affected by frost. Walking on frost-covered greens causes the plant to break and cell walls to rupture, thereby losing its ability to function normally. When the membrane is broken, much like an egg, it cannot be put back together.
Golfers who ignore frost delays will not see immediate damage. The proof generally comes 48-72 hours later as the plant leaves turn brown and die. The result is a thinning of the putting surface and a weakening of the plant. The greens in turn become more susceptible to disease and weeds. While it may not appear to be much of an issue if a foursome begins play early on frost covered greens, consider the number of footprints that may occur on any given hole by one person is approximately 60. Multiply that by 18 holes with an average of 200 rounds per day and the result is 216,000 footprints on greens in a day or 6,480,000 in a month.
As golf enthusiasts superintendents do not like to delay play, but they are more concerned about turf damage and the quality of conditions for the golfer. Frost also creates a hardship on a golf facility's staff as all course preparations are put to a halt until thawing occurs. Golf carts can cause considerable damage, therefore personnel cannot maneuver around the course to mow, change cup positions, collect range balls, etc.
You may see the grounds staff working on the course before play is allowed. The staff must get ahead of play to prepare the course by at least 30 minutes to avoid getting caught by the lead groups.
#14 and 1/2 of #12 fairway South aerified today. We'll aerify the other 1/2 of #12 this Friday.
Greens mowing height has been raised slightly in preparation for winter survival.
Monday and Tuesday of next week, we begin the surface drainage project on #'s 2,3,9 and 11 green North. Same process as last year on #'s 5 and 1. We will have a temporary green/pin installed on the hole while work is being conducted.
Some of the bunker capes/noses on the North Course are being resodded.
The Short Game green is progressing even though the seeding was late.
The bunker drainage project on #7 fairway South is complete.
The fescue areas have been mowed. We are applying herbicide this month.
The regrassing of the Short Game green went well despite the heavy rains last week. We have 100% cover and I expect to start mowing soon. With a normal spring next year it will be open for practice in May.
Now is the time when the turf gets ready for winter, storing carbohydrates for energy. To facilitate this process and insure we have the best chance for our greens to make it through the winter, we fertilize greens and raise the mowing height slightly. This extra "food" and extra leaf surface allows the plant to strengthen before the dormant season.
Today we arerify #15 and #6 fairway South. The weather is perfect and with limited availability this fall, today is a perfect day to make progress. This completes 1/2 of the South fairways. We continue on #14 fairway next week.