Why we do it
Here I will go through the different areas of the golf course and explain why and what we spray. I would also like to add that our old sprayer was not used as often as it should have been as it was prone to breaking down. With our new sprayer, we will spray certain areas much more frequently than we were able to previously. I have added a picture of fusarium in case you have not seen it before.
Fungicides: We spray year round as a preventative measure to our common fungus issues. Our most common disease is fusarium and this is the one you are probably most familiar with. Anthracnose is also common and comes in cool and warm season strains. Wittea patch, Dollar patch, Red thread and summer patch are other possible diseases on the greens. Certain diseases can do more damage than others. Pythium is a disease that can take over a green in a few weeks and the grass almost always dies without intervention. Other diseases worth mentioning are things like silvery thread moss and algae.
Fertility: We spray a nutrient program every year based off of soil reports and what the grass tells us it needs. I just submitted the fall samples and we will base the winter and spring fertility program on the results of these tests. When we spray we can add different micro and macro nutrients to the tank in order to give the grass what it needs. We also put out fertilizer when we spray greens and they get about half their food this way. We average about 3lbs of fertilizer per 1000 sq. ft. per year. A third of the fertilizer is put out during both aerations as a granular product and the rest is sprayed through the spray tank and irrigation system.
Wetting agents: The greens are sprayed with wetting agents year round to help keep water moving through them and in some instances to keep water in them. We use the two different types depending on the weather. We mainly use a wetting agent that moves water but if we are going to get a long stretch of hot weather we may use a retention wetting agent to hold the water.
Growth retardant: The use of a chemical called Primo is common in this area as it mostly keeps grass from growing vertically. Instead of the grass growing vertically it grows and expands to the side. When the grass grows vertically the greens can be slowed quite significantly and nobody wants that. We do have to Verticut the greens regularly to keep the greens fast during the golf season. The horizontal growth means more grass blades and more friction to slow the ball down. The reason we Verticut is to thin the grass out and create less friction on the ball which makes for faster greens.
Tees and Approaches
Fungicides: We spray on an as-needed basis when it comes to tees and approaches. We spray them a few times a year with long lasting fungicides to keep the fusarium at bay. We do experience anthracnose and other diseases from time to time as well. We have a limited budget and we try to make it go as far as possible to keep the tees and approaches healthy year round.
Fertility: We have been relying on the fertigation system to give the tees and approaches the majority of their nutrients. It has worked for the most part but there are down sides to doing this. One is if you don’t want to water than you cannot put out food and the only other option is to over water those areas. Also, most of the micro nutrients that they need should not be applied through the fertigation sysem. They are too expensive to use on the entire course and it is really difficult to rely on the system to deliver them exactly where we want. With the new sprayer we can deliver them when and where we want. We will continue to use the fertigation system when appropriate but otherwise we will use the sprayer.
Herbicides: We usually spray weeds once a year in the late summer as it is the best time to do so. With our old sprayer we were having problems spraying when and where we wanted, but now we can spray as often as we want. By the end of next golf season I believe we will have all the weeds eradicated from the course and be able to spray once a year or so to manage anything that does come up.
Growth retardants: Just like the greens, we will spray the tees and approaches with Primo. We want the horizontal growth on the tees and apps to get them as tight as possible. This will make for much better playing conditions and will be much more of a benefit to the playability of the course.
Wetting agents: We will put out the majority of the wetting agents through the fertigation system for the tee's and apps. We will spray them only if we do not have the ability to water when they are needed.
Fungicides: We only spray the fairways in desperate condition as this is very expensive to do. From time to time we will go out and spot spray areas that we are having problems with.
Fertility: Most of the fertility and food products for the fairways will come through the fertigation system. We will spray food and some of the cheaper macro and micro nutrients when needed or when we cannot water.
Herbicides: The fairways were half sprayed this year due to a failure in the sprayer. We will spray once this year and a few times next season to eradicate the weeds. We hope to have the course weed free and only spray for the occasional weed that comes up after next season.
Growth retardants: Our fairways will be sprayed with Primo during the golf season in an attempt to thicken them up. With the new irrigation system I believe we can have some of the best around.
Insecticides: We spray very few insecticides here but the fairways will get them from time to time. We are trying to keep certain insects at bay as well as other species that give us issues out there.
Herbicides: From now on we will spray for weeds when needed around the course. We hope to have all the weeds under control by the end of next season.