If you have been out of the course in the last few weeks, you may have noticed the annual bluegrass (poa) that we have treated looks bad with the clumpy appearance. It seems like there is more of it every year. I think that makes it stand out even more. Round-up is very effective on poa when we have it in the dormant warm season turf in fairways, tees and around greens. As the zoysia and bermuda continue to green-up and grow, they should fill in the areas where the poa was thick. We were very aggressive with our treatment around greens this year. Some of those areas may require sod.
April is the time to aerify greens. We will begin aerating greens on Monday, April 17th. This process will take 2 days to complete. We will have nine holes open each day during aerification.
I am frequently questioned why we leave a strip of taller grass around lakes. It’s not for lack of maintenance, we do this for several reasons. The taller vegetative areas are called buffer strips and are very common on golf courses. There are various benefits of tall grass and vegetation along golf course water features.
They help protect water quality by filtering nutrients and sediment before they reach the water. In return this helps reduce algae bloom and growth of other invasive water plants. EPA research has shown water quality contaminants of pesticide, silt particulates and fertilizer nutrients are reduced 90-99% by buffer zones acting as bio filters for the water. The taller and thicker vegetation provides deeper rooting which helps stabilize the banks reducing erosion, which also reduces water quality. Buffer zones can provide shelter for nesting birds and aquatic organisms. It provides some deterrent for geese, they don’t like walking through the taller grass for water access.
The “natural” look does reduce maintenance cost, but is far from maintenance free. We still cut the areas completely down once a year, usually after the first frost. During the season we selectively top off the growth to keep it uniform. We try to keep the invasive weeds out of the buffer zones with selective sprays and hand picking.
While some golfers may desire a manicured edge, think of the artificial look of Augusta; naturalized buffer strips are very common on golf courses and play an essential role in a healthy aquatic system.
Certified Golf Course Superintendent