Course managers from across the UK made their way to The De Vere Belfry recently to find out how they could realise the full potential of their courses by implementing a comprehensive overseeding programme and by adopting and encouraging good management practices.
The event was hosted by British Seed Houses and run in conjunction with R&K Kensett.
During the morning session, guests heard a presentation from Richard Brown, BSH’s amenity sales manager, who explained the importance of selecting the right cultivars and mixtures and gave the audience an insight into the company’s breeding programme objectives.
Andy Cole from PSD Agronomy then spoke about the many different environments where golf courses exist and how each course has the need for different inputs and maintenance regimes. He revealed that a survey conducted by the STRI in 1995 discovered that poa annua was the dominant species at all the courses involved and emphasised the importance of creating the right conditions for overseeding to alter the species composition.
Simon Barnaby from Scotts concluded the morning programme by talking about the use of the plant growth regulator, ‘Primo Maxx’, as part of the overseeding operation to enable new seedlings to compete with an existing grass cover.
After lunch, Keith Kensett gave a brief introduction to the Graden Contour Sand-Injection machine before leading the guests out into the sunshine on the practice green for a practical demonstration.
The Graden removes thatch and creates grooves which it immediately fills with sand, right in to the bottom of the groove. It firms the surface and creates ideal conditions for overseeding. In order for seed to germinate and establish, there must be good seed/soil contact. Once the organic matter has been removed and the surface opened up, the grooves provide this environment and allow for an increase in root structure and strength. To aid germination further, a moisture and nutrient-retentive soil amendment such as ‘Zeba’ can be added to the sand.
Simon Taylor, BSH’s amenity development director, who hosted the day, had been encouraged by the feedback he’d received from those who had attended: “Once greenkeepers look closely at their thatch and poa annua levels, they soon realise they’re managing something which is very unpredictable. To manage greens which offer more potential throughout the year, there has to be a higher proportion of finer grasses. Using the Graden prior to overseeding creates the optimum conditions for establishing these fine grasses which will far surpass the performance of any poa dominated green.”
British Seed Houses www.bshamenity.com