Sowing The Seeds Of Success

Water conservation is also an important consideration.

The entire course should be monitored daily for watering as most sites have dramatic soil changes across the course that require different watering frequencies and amounts. The biggest error today is to assume that a 30-minute schedule is needed for all stations.

Performing an irrigation audit will highlight inefficiencies in a system. The Mesquite Golf Course waters fairways and tee boxes three times a week with a deep watering cycle. Sometimes, two cycles are done in one night to allow water to soak in to reduce runoff.

Water conservation should be the highest priority in the industry; water conservation and an award-winning course can co-exist.

Aeration/Topdressing

Aeration is the most important step in a maintenance program, as soil compaction results in a thin and weakened turf, which provides unhealthy growing conditions for the turf grass.

Mesquite’s fairways and tee boxes are aerated three times per year and the greens twice per year. This is accomplished with a slicer aerator with sports tines on fairways and a core-type aerator with 3/8-inch hollow tines on tee boxes and greens.

The surface can be aerated and used the same day with little disruption.

Topdressing is conducted four times per year with USGA sand on greens to increase water infiltration rates and increase ball-roll.

Herbicides

An IPM Program (Integrated Pest Management) is used for all herbicides and insecticides. If you properly maintain turf grass using all of the steps listed above, there will be minimal weed and insect issues.

The best IPM cultural practice to weed prevention is a dense and healthy turf grass.

Spraying should be performed with a backpack sprayer, so the herbicide is only applied where it is needed. Boom-spraying or large broadcast-spraying should only be performed when applying pre-emergents, or spraying greens to obtain complete coverage.

The key to a good turf-maintenance program is ongoing commitment. Continually educate and train staff so the program can be successful. Take small steps to determine what is best for your individual circumstances.

This program was devised through years of trials, products, and equipment testing.

The best sources of information are through networking, industry associations, and inquiries. The Texas Turfgrass Association is dedicated to research, development, and education in the turf grass field, and continues to be a tremendous resource as new methods are discovered.

It generally costs much less to operate a well-maintained field year after year versus repeatedly starting over on a course that is not maintained properly.

Travis E. Sales is the Manager of Park Services as well as the Municipal Arborist and Golf Course Superintendent for Mesquite Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at tsales@cityofmesquite.com.

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