After 3 weeks of spending my Mondays travelling at 0.9mph the job is thankfully complete. In past blogs i informed you as to why we were carrying out these tasks, in this blog i will tell you how the plan went, the good parts, the parts we can learn from and the things that occurred that were out of our control.
As i stated in my previous blog the plan was to remove cores from the wet areas of some greens week 1 & 3.
The 1st week of work started on the 16th of March, 1 week earlier than originally planned due to the mild weather. It was a perfect day for us with little rain forecast, no ground frost, the only thing it was missing was a little breeze to dry the top dressing.
We micro cored areas on the 1st, 4th, 6th, 10th, 14th, 16th & 17th, this went as smooth a clockwork and was completed within an hour. It was then back to the shed, micro corer off, verti- drain on, all done before 7am.
Micro core on the left, goes in around 75-100mm. Verti- drain 12mm wide tine, goes in up to 300mm.
So it was off to the 1st green to start the verti draining, this is when the first set back occurred, after just 5 yards!!!
This is a link arm that connects and lifts the verti- drain, we think the arm had a previous crack that caused a weak spot, the verti- drain just finished it off!! Thankfully with the help of the mechanic we use we were back up and running within 2 hours.
Day 1 we verti-drained 11 greens with 7 being dressed and drag matted in, the rest of the greens were completed on the Tuesday. Due to there being little rain forecast we even had to get the irrigation system up and running.
Week 1 ended with an application of fertiliser to the greens, a 8-0-16 +2%Mg +4%Fe, this was also irrigated in. In total 12 tonnes of sanded was spread, drag matted then brushed into the greens.
Week 2 was just a straight verti-drain, with all 18 greens being tined on the Monday, all the greens were dressed, drag matted and brushed in on the Tuesday. The pictures below show the 2nd green after being dressed, then drag matted, then brushed.
We also used the vibrating rollers on the greens to try to work the sand in, aswel as getting the surface back after all the heavy machines that had been on the greens. Another 12 tonnes was applied during week 2. The irrigation system was again used due to the lack of rain due, this is where our second set back came.
We lost pressure and found this leak running down the hill between the 12th & 6th. We need not to have worried with all the rain that has fallen since Saturday we have not needed the irrigation system!
Week 3 started on Monday, we completed all the verti-draining, top dressing and drag matting in on the day because we was aware of a weather front coming in that dropped 17mm of rain. The greens were brushed Tuesday. A further 12 tonnes of sand was applied on Monday.
We knew from the start that we wouldn’t be able to fill all the holes, mainly due to the fact that we are working with a relatively damp surface and not bone dry sand. The objective wasn’t to fill all the holes
The objective before we started on the 16th March was to get 30 tonnes of sand brushed into the holes we would create. In reality we got 36 tonnes on, and that hasn’t come close to filling the holes.
We wanted to micro core at the start of week 3 but this was decided to be put on hold due to the amount of rain we had the previous weekend, since Thurs 26th we have had over 45mm of rain, ideal for washing the sand in but not great for us to regain a flat putting surface.
The greens have started growing slowly after the feed was applied, hope fully the temperatures will raise soon, instead of this Baltic weather we’re currently having. This weekend they will get cut and rolled, this should help in consolidating the surfaces.
The micro coring planned during week 3 will now occur during April. we haven’t set a date yet, but disruption will be minimal. The work on the 7 areas on the greens may even be split up into 2-3 hits.
We’ve collected the weather data going back 10 years now. Last year we bought a soil moisture meter that informs us of the levels in the greens, so we now have a full years data from that to compare against.
The stats tell us that the winter of 2013-14 was wetter than 2014-2015 (Oct-Mar) 2014 was 566mm, with 2015 coming in at 494.5mm.
The moisture levels taken on the 18th green 4/4/2014 were at 63%, this was after a week were 15mm of rain fell. I tested the 18th this morning 2/2/15, the moisture levels were 58.1%, this was after 45mm the previous week. This 5% improvement is a step forward.
Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.
Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on email@example.com.