Having exhausted all mechanical methods of improving surface drainage, Manor of Groves Course Manager Lee Brinkley went into the winter of 2019/20 facing the challenge of managing saturated greens once again. Or so he thought! A consultation with his regional Headland Amenity Technical Manager led to a trial of Xpedite® on four of the club’s problem greens and, despite it being one of the wettest winters on record, the greens had never been drier.
Nestled in a secluded spot on the Hertfordshire/Essex border, many of the greens at Manor of Groves are surrounded by trees, restricting both light and airflow to the surface. “It is no exaggeration to say that my predecessor and I had tried everything” explains Lee, who heads up a team of six greenkeepers. “We’ve hollow-cored, top-dressed, removed thatch and even installed drainage to try and solve the issue.
“Speaking with Peter Blackaby of Headland was a final roll of the dice to try and avoid the problems we’ve had for many years; with retention of water and the knock-on impact this has on overall playability and plant health.”
“We trialled Xpedite® on four greens, using the equivalent of 14 x 20kg bags per 500m2 of surface after hollow-coring last October, and were astounded with the results” Lee explains. “We had both mild, and wet conditions last year but the greens treated with Xpedite® stayed dry and playable throughout. This specific application dovetailed our existing nutritional programme which is delivering fantastic plant health, strong sustained growth and disease-free greens.”
Xpedite® is a soil amendment product that introduces non-compacting pore space into problematic rootzones. The porous nature of the Xpedite® granule, produced from diatomaceous earth, increases oxygen-holding potential and helps to improve permeability and drainage. In summer, it is able to retain water within its structure – which is then available to the grass plant during periods of dry weather.
Lee concludes, “Following the success we achieved last winter, we are about to hollow-core and apply Xpedite® on all 18 of our greens. The impact this will have on plant health should see us deliver the quality surfaces demanded by the golfers, as well as reduce the need for remedial treatments as we emerge in the spring.”