While the course at Rushmore Golf Club may be a tale of two halves, the approach to nutrition is wholly focussed on sustainability – with Course Manager Jaime Acton very proud of the six years that the greens have now been completely chemical-free.
Alongside cultural practices and an overseeding programme, much of the success Action attributes to products from the Suståne range of organic fertilisers which have delivered outstanding plant health, strength and resilience.
With the county line between Wiltshire and Dorset cutting straight through the ancient estate within which Rushmore is situated, the course delivers mature parkland or a more modern challenge depending on which of the 18 holes you’re on. The estate has sustainability at its heart, an ethos which Acton and his team share and put into practice with the Suståne products.
“When I took over almost 10 years ago, I inherited quite a heavy feeding regime, largely based on synthetic fertilisers,” said Acton. “I had used formulations from Suståne in previous roles, and knowing what they could do, began ‘weening’ the greens away from the synthetic feeds and the additional chemicals this programme required, and onto a primarily organic regime.”
Working closely alongside technical representatives from local distributor AGS, the Suståne programme has been refined over the years depending on the soil’s requirements – now consisting of 6-2-4 Turf Revival in the summer and 5-2-4+Fe for feeds throughout the cooler months.
Suståne 6-2-4 is specifically formulated to provide the right nutrients to assist with post-maintenance recovery and plant stress. In addition to water-soluble and organic sources of Nitrogen, 6-2-4 features Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae which has been enhancing the germination of Acton’s bent overseeding programme.
“We apply 6-2-4 every six to eight weeks at 25g/m2, which tends to correlate with our overseeding work meaning the seed is sown straight into that nutrition,” said Acton. “The plant is strong and resilient enough to cope with the pressures of that period, including disease, and specifically Anthracnose.
“In the autumn and winter we continue the dormant feeding with Suståne 5-2-4 which keeps microbial levels up, allowing us to protect against disease rather than having to react to it. The small amount of Iron in this formulation also helps to give us good winter colour.”
He adds: “While we haven’t used any herbicides or fungicides for six years, that’s not to say we haven’t had disease. But what we do get we can manage by reducing the stress and encouraging the plant to grow again. With our Suståne programme, we are feeding the soil rather than the plant, getting the nutritional needs right from the ground up and allowing the plant to take everything it needs to remain strong and healthy.”