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Home » Course News » Greens Update

Greens Update

An update on a couple of issues currently impacting the course. Our Agronomist Neil Baldwin has been to the course to help and advise us on these topics. We have included some of the detail from Neil’s report.

  1. Leather-jacket issues-

Over the last few years, they have increased in severity and are now a serious problem. This is common with virtually every links course in the UK as the grubs are most active in light sandy soils. Their populations have increased due to mild winters leading to the grubs surviving and reproducing. The only effective insecticide was banned some years ago. So far at Powfoot we have managed leatherjacket damage by encouraging the grass to grow more roots to compensate and we have tried the new insecticide Acelepryn with limited success. The problem with this insecticide is that it is expensive, and timing of application is crucial and for this reason its performance varies.

We are also gathering data on leatherjacket populations in the greens using the black plastic sheets we have purchased. Leaving them on overnight and counting the number of grubs the next day. The threshold level is around 5 grubs per sq m. i.e., damage being caused is greater than the grasses ability to compensate with new root growth. We are also going to try an alternative spray to measure its effectiveness. All greens are impacted, although some more so than others.

The greens have been top dressed with sand to improve the putting surface. Grass growth is currently slow.

Unfortunately, leatherjackets are going to be the major threat to our course unless we get some harsh winters.

  1. Fairway moss:

The moss on the fairways is now becoming problematic and in some areas the grass sward has been lost. In common with a lot of links courses moss invasion has followed dry spring/ early summer weather from last year. We know from previous tests that the rootzone at Powfoot is water repellent and this also encourages moss. The fairways are nutrient poor, so the grass struggles to outcompete the moss.  It is a fine balance as the low nutrient status encourages the finer Bent/Fescue sward which gives the course its classic links playing qualities.

Our plan is to treat the moss with a mixture of liquid iron (which scorches the moss), wetting agent (treats the dry patch that predisposes the turf to moss invasion) and a very light dose of fertiliser (which boosts grass growth so it can outcompete the moss). This will need to be done twice or preferably 3 times this season (applied in one solution).

We will continue to monitor the situation on both of these issues and will keep you updated on progress.

Greens Committee