Greens & Grounds Update: Spring Transition is Approaching
As the warmer temperatures approach I would like to remind everyone that the summer transition is upon us. You have probably noticed that the mowing heights in the overseeded roughs and aprons have been lowered these past few weeks. You have probably also noticed that we have begun vertical mowing on the greens. The purpose of both of these practices is to open the grass canopy and allow sunlight to reach the Bermuda grass (summer grass) that is coming out of dormancy. As of right now I would say our fairways, aprons, and tees are 50% percent Bermuda grass and 50% rye grass (winter grass). Those are pretty good numbers for now but there is still plenty of work to be done to complete the process.
In early May we will apply a herbicide to the overseeded areas that will gradually kill the rye grass. While the rye grass is receding we will apply numerous applications of fertilizer to the Bermuda grass. The goal is to get the Bermuda grass to fill the areas where the rye grass existed.
The other piece of the puzzle that is needed for a successful transition is water and lots of it. I get many complaints about the courses being too wet in May and June but unfortunately without the extra water the Bermuda grass will not move. This will lead to bare areas throughout the golf course. Keep in mind that the extra water during transition is just as important as adding extra water during overseeding. Without the extra water neither process will succeed.
I have been asked by some why we even have to transition the golf courses. Why not just try to keep the rye grass all summer? First of all the rye grass will not survive the summer here. It will begin to die in late June and by late July it will be gone leaving dirt areas in its place. This process has been attempted at this club as well as other clubs in the past and the results were absolutely dismal. Since adopting our existing transition process which is supported by the USGA Greens Section we have not had to purchase sod for transition purposes. Many other high profile clubs throughout the valley are using this program with great success.
I apologize in advance for the unsightly and slightly unfriendly conditions of the spring/summer transition but you can rest assured we are doing everything necessary to make the transition process as quick and painless as possible. We have our fingers crossed that Mother Nature will provide us great grass growing weather this summer with a productive Monsoon.
With that been said I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe summer.
David Escobedo GCS