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Green Watch - The winter so far...

Jon Wyer, Head Greenkeeper talks about the winter so far and its effect on the golf course...

As we venture into the month of February, this winter has been relatively kind so far with any typical wintery cold weather being experienced only in the last couple of weeks. The weather has generally been mild and dry with the exception of one prolonged period of ground frost which penetrated to around four inches. This had an impact on the golf course as it has taken some time to thaw completely, allowing water to percolate through the ground and into the existing drainage system. 

These conditions create an ideal environment for moss to thrive on the golf course and create unwanted issues for both a green keeper and golfer. Moss is a spore producing weed with a ‘spongy’ texture that will tend to develop where turf is struggling to grow vigorously, holding moisture near the surface. Due to the nature of turf being dormant through the winter months is a perfect opportunity for moss to establish.  This can be an issue on greens where it can affect consistency of ball roll, or more frequently seen on tees where there is less traffic or footfall.  Any areas where grass coverage is sparse, or areas where there is excessive shade or moisture have an increased risk of moss establishing. 

There are no means to totally eradicate moss, so the best practice is to try to keep the surface dry with the use of aeration and wetting agents to pull moisture through the soil profile. Applications of Ferrous sulphate can irritate the moss whilst adding colour and hardening the existing grass plant, until ground temperatures become warmer and growth becomes more consistent, allowing the grass to compete with the moss growth.