Friday, June 7, 2013

Greens Topdressing

One of the more important cultural practices we employ here at Ridgeway is topdressing.  Topdressing has many benefits as I've mentioned before so lets quickly go over what makes this practice so important:
  1. Dilute thatch and organic matter both of which make for unhealthy putting surfaces.
  2. Smooth the surface for a better ball roll.
  3. Better drainage.
  4. Produces a firmer surface.
  5. Protects the crown of the plant.
  6. Allows for tighter cut with out scalping.
Usually we topdress very lightly so that it can be watered in and not be noticed by golfers.  This past Monday we topdressed greens with a generous coat of sand and drug the surface with a large mechanical drag mat.  The decision to go heavier than normal was based on a couple of factors: 
  1. Last two summers we have topdressed very little due too heat and humidity. By topdressing heavily this week it sets us up better for the summer in case we cannot do our normal topdressing regimen. 
  2. In order to heal in some of our winterkill areas this spring we fertilized greens more than normal which can lead to an increase in thatch.  In order to dilute thatch, a heavier topdressing was needed as a corrective measure.
  3. The combination of topdressing and dragging the sand into the turf canopy has stood the turf upright making for a better cut with our mowers.  This allows for a better cut and a faster, smoother putting surface.
  4. The forecast of constant rain this week also played a factor because the sand could be watered naturally into the canopy.
I have said this before and I do not believe it is hyperbole, but the best putting surfaces are those which have the most consistent topdressing programs.  This is not one maintenance program that can be ignored or forgotten.