If you are new to the Lowcountry, you may be surprised by the many options available when selecting grass for your lawn. Unlike the bluegrass or tall fescue, you may be accustomed to, the grasses used in Bluffton are all warm season varieties. These grasses require a minimum of six hours of sunlight and will experience varying degrees of winter dormancy. Additionally, they normally can’t be seeded but are established vegetatively (spread using plant parts). When selecting a turf species, consider your lawn’s microclimate, the level of maintenance you desire, and how you intend to use your lawn. The following is a brief description of the five major grasses in our area to help make your decision a little easier.
Bermudagrass is the primary turf species found on both of our golf courses. Under full sun conditions, Bermudagrass is arguably the most resilient turf available. Under intensive maintenance, it produces a thick blue-green canopy that spreads aggressively and tolerates heavy traffic, while also resisting most disease and insect pests. In fact, the fairways on both courses have only been spot treated with fungicide once in the past two years. Despite these advantages, Bermudagrass is rarely used on home lawns in our community because it doesn’t perform well in shade.
Centipede grass is referred to as “graveyard” grass because it is low maintenance and is the least expensive turf to maintain. It is the primary turf species found throughout the Dye course high roughs and does best under low fertility situations. Centipede tolerates minor shade but prefers acidic soil conditions and does not perform well under traffic.
St. Augustine grass is the most shade-tolerant warm-season grass, although it still requires six hours of sunlight to thrive. Under high maintenance, it has wide succulent leaves and produces a moderately dense turf canopy. St. Augustine performs best with abundant fertility and water but is very susceptible to winter injury and is extremely sensitive to both insects and disease. These issues make St. Augustine one of the more expensive home lawn options in our area.
Empire Zoysia grass is the workhorse of Lowcountry lawn grasses. It is well adapted to a variety of environmental conditions and produces a dense apple green lawn. While it is slightly less shade tolerant than St. Augustine, it requires less intense maintenance, does well under modest fertility, is drought tolerant, has good salt tolerance, recuperates aggressively from injury, and is normally both insect and disease resistant. If heavy shade is not a problem, Empire Zoysia is a reliable performer throughout the Lowcountry.
Zeon Zoysia and Zorro Zoysia grasses are high density varieties that are close relatives to Empire Zoysia. They have many of the same advantages as Empire, but they require more maintenance and have slightly better shade tolerance than the wider-leafed Zoysia grasses. These grasses prefer a lower mowing-height and require periodic dethatching to prevent problems associated with heavy organic layering. We use Zorro Zoysia on many of the more shaded tee boxes on the Nicklaus Course where Bermudagrass would perform poorly due to the lack of sunlight.
A healthy well-groomed lawn adds both curb appeal and value to your home, and choosing the right grass for your situation is an important part of building a good landscape. While these guidelines provide an overview of what is available in the Lowcountry, it is always best to consult a landscape professional to help make the right decision for your own lawn.
The Bluffton Breeze recently ran the following article about our hosting of the annual First Tee Golf Tournament…
Colleton River Club hosted a golf tournament benefiting First Tee of the Lowcountry, a charitable organization that
teaches life skills and leadership through the game of golf. For the 108 participants the day began with a luncheon at the
Nicklaus Clubhouse, followed by play on the course and culminating with a dinner and auction.
While this was the first time Colleton River hosted First Tee’s annual tournament, the community has supported this
important and empowering organization for quite some time. In recent years Colleton River Club has hosted several
First Tee events and in 2015 proceeds from the community-hosted Junior Pro Am went to the charity, totaling more than
$100,000. Children that have benefited from First Tee programs volunteered as Greeters for the participants.
“The Colleton River Membership as a whole shares a charitable philosophy,” said Tim Bakels, General Manager of
Colleton River Club. “Our continued support of this very worthy cause is one of many examples. We had 5 Member teams
participate in the event and learned that at least one Member was so moved that they decided to begin volunteering for
Colleton River Club is located in Bluffton, SC just 1.5 miles from the bridge to Hilton Head Island. This Member-owned
private golf community features 705 properties situated on a peninsula surrounded by 7 miles of scenic shoreline.
The award-winning, signature 18-hole golf courses by Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye each have their own unique and
distinguished Clubhouses. Additional community amenities include an Augusta-style Par 3 course, the Stan Smith Tennis
and Swim Center with 6 Har-Tru courts and a Jr. Olympic Pool, as well as a large & modern fitness center, and a community
dock with deep water access, and a state-of-the-art golf practice park and a Learning Center unrivaled in the Southeast.
Romance was in the air at Colleton River Club! Members enjoyed a special evening at the annual Valentine’s Ball on Saturday, February 16th. Held at the Nicklaus Clubhouse, the evening featured live entertainment and a delicious array of stations, complete with a love-worthy gourmet Mac n’ Cheese bar – prepared by our wonderful culinary team!
Have you ever wondered how we maintain such consistently dense and fast greens?
Under normal conditions, our Tif-Eagle greens are mowed between 0.065 and 0.100 inches in height. Put in perspective, this is only slightly thicker than a single dime. In addition to these extreme cutting heights, we commonly use plant growth regulators to help promote the dense, uniform, and fast greens our members desire.
Each spring, in a planned approach to control the soil-borne fungus fairy ring, we must suspend the use of our normal turfgrass regulators to target this potentially destructive pathogen. If these control products are used in combination with plant growth regulators, they can have detrimental effects. The first of these two applications is completed in mid-February, and the second treatment will be applied closer to the end of the month.
We expect the greens speeds to be temporarily slower during this treatment process. Subsequently, we adjust our maintenance practices to include additional mowing and rolling to help maintain the speeds in an acceptable range. Thank you for your patience during these important preventative applications.
There is something soothing about meandering through the live oaks on the way into Colleton River Club. For first time visitors, the 2.4-mile drive cut through the natural forest alongside the Heritage Preserve builds a sense of anticipation of what lies ahead. Periodically this entranceway requires a bit of TLC to help protect the roadway from the forest that encompasses it. In the next two weeks, please use caution when entering and exiting the club as our crews will be performing maintenance along the entranceway. Along with cutting back native muscadine vines and unruly brush that is encroaching the road, we will once again be backfilling the shoulders of the road to help prevent increased erosion. While areas under maintenance will be clearly marked and staff will be wearing the appropriate high visibility vests, we ask that you please watch your speed when approaching work zones. We believe this necessary maintenance will enhance the native woodlands and help mitigate major maintenance expenses. Thank you for your kind consideration of our staff while we perform this work.
Last week’s edition of Kent’s Korner discussed the importance of renewal pruning roses. In addition to this normal garden remediation work, take notice of shrubs such as viburnum, wax myrtle, and ligustrum that have been planted as privacy screens or foundation plantings and may have outgrown their usefulness. Oftentimes, these plants obstruct the view of the house or become so top heavy that they shade out their own lower canopies resulting in a shrub that is sparse and has a mushroom-like appearance. When these shrubs reach this point, it is time to take an aggressive stance and perform rejuvenation pruning to control this unruly growth habit. Mid to late February is a good time to perform this work, before these plants flush out with new spring growth. While this may appear like a radical approach, it is a very beneficial process for many older plants. Aggressively cut back the old wood to correct the plants architecture, remove crossing branches, and diseased or damaged shoots. The resulting exposure to light produces healthy new growth that can be trained back to produce a dense and vigorous plant. Clean old mulch, pine straw, and/or leaves away from the crown of the plant, maintain adequate soil moisture, and apply a balanced slow release fertilizer on these shrubs to enjoy many more years of success from your landscape.
Oftentimes, rejuvenation pruning is a great option, however, this past week, near the intersection going to the tenth tee on the Nicklaus Course and the leisure trail, we opted to replace a group of overgrown shrubs that have outlived their usefulness. In this area we removed the unruly hollies and expanded the ornamental grass theme around the leisure trail to help obscure the tunnel but provide increased visibility at this busy intersection. We believe this change will enhance traffic flow in this area and is in keeping with the landscaping near the Halfway Café.