Week 4 - Reduced intensity shows healthy plants
The ‘Lockdown Trial’, running at STRI on behalf of Syngenta, is now into its fourth week. The focus so far has been on low intensity management programmes and maintaining plant health with less time available.
Applications of Primo Maxx II have proven to be beneficial to being able to maintain healthy turf under restricted maintenance, reported STRI . The trial has demonstrated that Primo Maxx II applications, in conjunction with a baseline programme of Qualibra wetting agent and SeaMax WSF, have reduced clipping yield, regulated growth and improved evenness of the surface. All of this whilst maintaining turf under a low input management regime, reports STRI Research Operations Manager, Dr Christian Spring.
However, the government announcements made on Sunday evening has indicated, as of Wednesday this week, that golf courses in England can start to open under certain restrictions (See here). This is great news!
It does mean that surfaces now need to be prepared for play. Low intensity management programmes will need to be increased. With many staff on furlough, this could be difficult. A compromise between playing quality, plant health and essential management will have to be made. It is not possible for two greenkeepers to do the work of four greenkeepers.
Management of the lockdown trial will now change to reflect changes in golf course management.
Low intensity management with one cut per week will now be regarded as insufficient. This will be increased to two cuts per week, to reflect an increase in even low intensity management regimes.
Height of cut is currently five mm and plant health has been benefitting from this relaxed cutting height. However, in order to increase green speed and improve playing quality, this will need to be reduced over the next few weeks.
It may be the case that some golf courses delay opening for a few days. Other courses will be in a position to increase staffing numbers and increase management intensity ready for play.
The current situation is fluid, whilst acknowledging for courses in Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland, as well as some parts of Europe, there has, to date, been no change.
Keep an eye on the Greencast Advisory blog for the latest developments on the trial. Updates on The R&A, England Golf and BIGGA websites will more guidance on reopening golf courses and lilely responses in turf management changes.