A short while ago we spoke of the compost teas we apply to the greens. Today we will delve a bit deeper into the type of biology and how it fits into our programme.
Now each to there own in greenkeeping, but the last thing we want to do is get involved in the feed, water, thatch, chemical feed again cycle. This type of management usually ends up with a very healthy crop of annual meadow grass (Poa annua), coupled with thatchy spongy surfaces, just what we don't want. We are trying to create conditions that favour the finer grasses, with a well aerated healthy living soil below the surface. This is where the compost teas fit neatly into our programme.
Photos of the compost tea in the brewer before it is applied to the greens.
The teas are full of beneficial soil bacteria and fungi, most will work near the top of the soil profile where organic matter and oxygen is present. They will help with the breakdown of thatch, as well as adding life to inert heat treated top dressings. The bacteria and fungi will also help to suppress diseases. Spores are always present for a disease like fusarium, and when conditions are favorable for that disease you will have a breakout. We always have a chemical if needed, but as much as possible we will try to fight with soil life as the front line in our armoury. As more and more chemicals are removed from the approved list, greenkeepers will have to change their approach to more austere management with the incorporation of soil life to fight diseases. At Hexham Golf Club, we have won an award from the EGU for good environmental practice as long ago as 2005, and by incorporating the use of compost teas we will continue to reduce our chemical footprint.
The season is in full swing now, so all the best from your greenkeeping team, we do hope your enjoying your golf.
Mal and the lads.