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.
The normal cutting height of our Tif-Eagle greens.
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.
Roses can be used in a variety of situations and help create added interest in the garden. Since most roses flower on new growth, renewal pruning is essential to help keep your rose bushes healthy and looking their best. Prior to bud break, in late winter or early spring remove old, unproductive canes, crossing stems, damaged tissue and spindly branches less than the thickness of a pencil. Employing proper pruning techniques improves plant vigor, reduces disease, and enhances blooms. Remember to use sharp pruning shears and make cuts at a forty-five-degree angle one quarter of an inch above a healthy bud. Opening the center of the plant to encourage air circulation, helps reduce disease and minimizes insect pests. Following pruning, remove the remaining leaf litter from around the bush, incorporate compost, and fertilize the plants with a slow release fertilizer such as Rose-Tone 4-3-2, according to the label recommendations. If you subscribe to the Estate Service Program, depending on the weather, we are targeting mid-February to prune and feed your roses. If you would like help with this service, contact Karen Berry in the Agronomy office at 843-836-4480 or by email at email@example.com. Thank you and happy pruning.
An example of pruning cuts on a rose bush.
Renew & Regrow
As previously discussed in the January 12th edition of Kent’s Korner, “Frost Bitten”, we urged our residents to resist the temptation of immediately cutting back the damaged foliage of many of our most reliable tropical plants. Now that we are past the most severe threat of cold, you should plan to remove the damaged plant material to encourage new growth. Avoid cutting into live tissue or the crown of these plants and simply remove the obviously damaged foliage. With normal weather patterns, many of these plants will resume growth and produce new shoots by early to mid-March.
Shrubs response to increased light, fertility and adequate water
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 overtake 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 the best time of the year 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 encourage 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.
Protect & Preserve
Among the many communities in the Lowcountry, Colleton River has few rivals. The elegant way the community blends with its environment creates a tranquil feeling that offers our members a unique experience. Part of the mission of the Agronomy Department is to protect, preserve, and enhance the natural environment that is Colleton River. To this end, we continually strive to promote the natural aspects of our community.
Three weeks ago, Kent’s Korner addressed the importance the eastern blue bird plays as a predator of insects in the garden. We are happy to report that this beneficial friend of our community has thirty-five new spec homes to choose from entering their spring courting season. Like good neighbors, numerous Colleton River members have already volunteered to help monitor these prospective new families as part of a passionate group of birders at Colleton. Anyone still interested in supporting these efforts can contact the Agronomy Department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the team.
The golf courses are entering a period of seasonal low growth and dormancy. Under these conditions, turf recovery is slow, and we must take extra care to avoid unnecessary injury. Accordingly, we ask that players continue to scatter traffic patterns, keep carts a minimum of fifteen yards from the greens, avoid driving through the centipede roughs, and consistently repair ball marks.
Freshly made ball marks are easier to repair than pitch marks that remain unattended overnight. When repairing a ball mark, it is best to avoid lifting or prying up on the indention. Insert a ball mark repair tool or tee at the edge of the indention and heal the mark by lightly pressing down and toward the center of the damaged area. Make several successive nudges toward the direction of the incoming shot, and then tap the area down with the heel of your putter. Thank you for demonstrating proper golf etiquette as we eagerly await the arrival of spring and more favorable weather conditions.