From the Bunkers – Week of May 25, 2020

HOULTON, Maine — Hello members and friends, we hope everyone is enjoying the great golfing weather. Spring is here and heading toward summer. The question has come up many times this early season. What has happened to our greens?

If you have played at all this year, you have seen the ravages of winter in Maine. The tan circles you see are from snow mold that develops after being under snow cover for more than 90 days. With the early snow in October, we were not able to apply a snow mold fungicide that might help deter the mold. It has to be applied before the snow that never left. The grey-black is winter kill usually caused by ice build up which traps escaping gases and suffocates the whole plant.

This week we are rehabilitating the greens. First, we verticut the greens with vertical spinning blades that dig into the accumulated thatch to allow more air to the soil. Then new grass seed is spread all over. 

A lot of the seed falls into the verticut grooves. After the seed is applied, we distribute a small amount of sand over the green. This is then dragged with a carpet mat to smooth and help push the seeds into the soil so that they can germinate. 

You may ask, why didn’t we start this three weeks ago? Seed needs heat and moisture to sprout. We can supply the water, but heat was up to Mother Nature, and as we all know, she wasn’t cooperating. 

Well this week is different, and with a full crew, we were able to get all the greens done. Now we will be watering several times a day to keep them moist. Please be patient with us. Like any remodel project, it always gets worse before it gets better. It may take 30-45 days before they start looking good again.

Nobody likes temporary greens, so we have decided to allow play to continue as close to normal as we can. It is not ideal circumstances to be walking all over the green as we are trying to grow grass. With your help we will persevere. Please repair ball marks. Try not to drag your feet on the greens. We won’t be mowing the greens as often at first so they may be a little slow.

The 18th green will be closed for practice and play. Please use the ninth green for both front and back nines. This will give this green a better chance without traffic. Fertilizer will be applied and next week we will apply the organic fertilizer on the fairways.

I want to thank our grounds crew for really operating efficiently to get this done quickly. They have done a fantastic job this spring with all the winter cleanup and now getting the mowing under control. If you see them on the course, tell them you appreciate their efforts. I also would like to thank our members who have shown their patience with the crew as we have been executing our plan. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer. Let the clubhouse know and I will get back to you.

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