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As I write this and I scan Twitter looking for inspiration (not procrastinating - honest!) I'm stunned by the high levels of presentation I'm seeing as people put in some big shifts doing some last minute prep for members to return.
The levels of presentation being displayed is just fantastic and it's a credit to you all and I'm sure all your memberships will be very appreciative of your efforts. The thing I find interesting is that the levels of presentation (judging by the photos) are far in advance of what I'd expect to see at the end of March. The below graph shows the GDD (BT 6c) to date this year on the South Coast and we haven't yet hit a day where we've reached 6GDD which is always the point I feel things have potential to happen. You can pull this data off our GDD calculator for your site (just copy and paste in to a spreadsheet if you need to create something like this).
March has stayed very dry as predicted in my blog below about "drydown windows and best time for wetting agents". I think this dry down window and the lack of golf traffic really shows what challenges that the incredibly high levels of winter play on golf courses presents these days. Now I'm certainly no prophet but March is regularly the month that Evapotranspiration begins to out compete rainfall and the balance distinctly swings towards ET and drying out a little further every month from here on in.
I spoke to many people who were struggling to find ways to get maintenance done, but the last couple of weeks we've had those breaks and I've even heard of irrigation being run. It doesn't take long for the upper portion of root zones to dry down when the rainfall halts. Fingers crossed for an appropriate amount of rain and some temperatures for you guys, we could all do with some breaks this year.
It's been a tough month for those of you unfortunate enough to have high leatherJacket pressure, We've seen some great results from Acelepryn but it's also fair to say I've had some heartbreaking conversations too. The level of control we've seen with Acelepryn has been great but in some areas of the country where it's particularly mild the period of control would certainly benefit from being longer, these migratory pests are very capable of wandering around and reinfesting from areas of high infestation.
It's painful to see it when it happens, and we'll keep doing everything we can here to support and help people get more out of the product in this battle. I think it's important to recognise how big the challenge we have here is. I did a survey a couple of months back (find it here) where it became blindingly obvious to me that my desire to instantly solve people's problems was way too ambitious. For some sites with really high pressure this is a challenge that will take a whole range of solutions and ITM strategies to deal with it which will include cultural, physical, biological and Plant Protection Products. I don't think we have a full grip on any of it yet. But please - if you're having problems, get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org I'm happy to work with you, offer advice, learn from your situation and hopefully get us closer to some programmes that get the level of control you need to satisfy the members you've just worked so hard for.
I do think there needs to be improved communication with club memberships about this from a higher level as it's a growing problem and there are lots of very conscientious and professional Course Managers out there struggling with this and I'm sure they would appreciate some additional support.
I did a blog on how to monitor this pest and things to keep an eye on which may help below.
The good news is we're getting very close to spring hatch time, we're just heading into week 13 as I write - in 2020 we saw peak Spring hatch in week 17. That means a decent chunk of the population will have gone and the pressure will reduce, couple this with some decent growth and we move into recovery mode. Don't forget to log those sightings on PestTracker when we see them, every contribution unlocks a bit more of this puzzle.
Should I get started yet? If I start at half rate should I still use 200 GDD as a spray window?
All answered below
Exciting one this month and we got to launch our first biostimulant, if you have a bit of time it's worth taking a look. The journey into biostimulants is a fascinating one and one I'm looking forward to be a part of over the upcoming years.
Enjoy April and having some golfers back, I perversely hope that's the last time you will see divotless tees, whilst I bet it was a lovely feeling it's not a sign of a busy golf course which is what we all need to keep us focused and the mortgages paid.