Green Speeds

Most of the spring I hear comments both first hand and second hand about the speed of the greens.In general the feeling was “they are too slow”  “when are you going to cut them down”? Well the fact is, they were slow. They are no longer slow and we in Turfcare are constantly striving for smoother truer faster greens. Its rare that I have ever heard …”the greens are too fast” slow them down. I think that the membership needs to understand that I want fast true smooth greens but it just doesn’t happen overnight.The greens don’t get fast by simply “cutting them down”
While certain people can expect the greens to be fast, we on the other hand have to implement the practices needed to provide the desired greenspeed.
There are a number of factors that contribute to greenspeed.
-Moisture content
-Fertility practices
-Plant growth regulators
-Cultural practices
-Health of the turf
-Types of turfgrass

In the spring when the greens come out from under the tarps they are very fragile. They haven’t had food for months and they are not accustomed to the cooler temperatures. Believe it or not the temperatures under the tarps and 3 ft of snow is quite comfortable for turf. At some point you need to get them acclimatized to the temperatures they will be living in during the first part of spring. Low temps at night and cool temps during the day take their toll on the turf. 
At this time of year I need to keep heights up and rely mostly on rolling to get speeds up. There is also very little growth at this time and in most instances we have some damage of some sort on some of the greens. The soil temps are so low that most granular applications of fertilizer are not useful. we need to spoon feed the greens through foliar applications. This provides quick “spurts of growth” which cause inconsistencies in speed.
When the greens are wet, they are slower. With the amount of rain that we normally receive in the spring its a wonder they roll at all.
I have some tools that can help with slowing growth such as plant growth regulators. These are used but only when the health of the turf is good. (June-September)
Cutting, Rolling, Brushing, Verticutting, Grooming are all ways to help increase greenspeed. Guess when I want to do these practices? That’s right, when you really want to get out early and play. 🙂
These are just a few of the things that are factors.
Does this seem complicated? I hope so ,because it is. Believe me, I like fast, true, smooth greens as much as you, but it isn’t just a matter of just “cutting them down” We are consistently trying to provide the conditions that we all like but we cannot jeopardize the health of the turf in the quest for lightning fast greens.

Enjoy the day!!!
Heath Koch


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