The Summer Heat of 2018
There is a very limited number of chemicals that can be used by golf course superintendents in Germany and many EU countries today. This makes it challenging to maintain water loving, shallow rooted poa annua putting surfaces. Reseeding with Agrostis/Festuca Grasses or even Rye grasses can help decimate Poa annua, conserve water and reduce chemical needs over the long term, but more than simply reseeding need be done.
The main focus of converting water loving, shallow rooted poa annua is on the removal of the thatch, the layer of organic material found on most putting greens worldwide. Thatch stores moisture like a sponge under damp conditions and hinders water from percolating into the root profile below. This moisture trapping scenario is ideal for Poa annua and disease to thrive.
The finest putting surfaces are firm, dry and fast. When thatchy greens meet these conditions, dry spots result, which usually leads to further water usage and costs. Thatch always causes poa to thrive, creates soft surfaces, excessive pitch marks, tire marks, compaction, and along the perimeter of the green, turf loss.
In order to achieve an acceptable green speed and true roll, soft greens are often and unfortunately mown too low, with all the known disadvantages. The elimination of thatch, compaction and reducing the amount of shallow rooted poa annua are necessary for healthy, quick and true putting surfaces. For those with too much thatch, poa annua and the resulting soft surfaces demands, among other things, a program of mechanical intervention combined with reseeding.
Eliminating thatch through mechanical intervention is necessary to significantly increase oxygen and water into the root layer. Getting water into the ground will reduce water consumption, cost, electricity and irrigation system wear and tear. It also allows these firm putting surfaces to remain healthy and playable earlier and later into the golf season.