Having had a warmer and drier than average September has meant that fungus attacks have been suppressed but now the first signs of fusarium patch are on the greens, so a fungicide has been applied to try and stop them getting worse. In the recent past the pattern of fungus starts in late august/early September and coincides generally with humid nights and colder mornings and goes then through to April with breaks when frost is present. Fusarium can cause lots of damage to greens and the scarring takes time to repair, which is usually in late spring so prevention where possible is the best course of action!
The greens generally are performing well now into autumn with a firm surface and good grass coverage and there has been good conversion of grass types again over the growing season, which ultimately will help with disease control and irrigation.
In October generally we slowly start to reduce the amount of times that greens and tees and fairways are cut to control disease and damage and impact on the areas with machinery. Once the frosts start to appear we will stop regular cutting as the grass will stop growing but sometimes this will not be until December. At this time we will switch greens or brush them with either a hard or soft brush depending on the dew/ conditions.
The green keeping team focus will start soon on the huge job of leaf control whilst continuing with the course maintenance. Leaf control usually starts in October and ends the week before Christmas with the daily dispersal of build ups and the clearance of roads and paths before players arrive and blowing fairways and then the huge job of mulching the leaves in rough and woodland and open spaces. Often this is by far our busiest period having to juggle course maintenance with the playability of the course where leaves are causing slow ball location and player frustration.
Last year by far the largest part of leaf control was done during lockdown and players came back to a clear course. I never underestimate the job of leaf clearance as we start once the leaves have started to fall and finish when they are all off. We cannot delay the start until they have all fallen or finish early, we are totally dependent on the weather and how leaf fall progresses whilst continuing to maintain the course.