Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Compost Amendment on Fairways

16 Fairway, Good germination 
16 Fairway, Seeded Nov. 23rd
One of the recommendations for amendments on our fairways was to incorporate 1" of organic compost from leaf litter into the top 3" of the soil profile. We did this on all the fairways although it amounted to more of a dusting due to time constraints and material available. On most of the fairways we just put out a light dusting to darken the soil as we didn't usually have time to wait for the amount of material needed to be delivered to achieve the desired 1".

"Skip" in compost = No Germination 
Virgina tech in cooperation with the University of Maryland did a study a few years ago on germination rates, establishment, surface water runoff and overall turf quality when using organic compost vs no compost. The were establishing Tall Fescue in low maintained rough areas. They set up a trial tilling in organic compost, topdressing with organic compost and no organic compost control. They found that the use of organic compost delayed initial germination but once the seed did germinate it was healthier and stronger and performed better during the course of the trial. (you can read the report here, Page 15)

15 Fairway Seeded Nov. 10th 
When we got around to 16 fairway we had somewhat of a surplus of compost. Combined with the fact that we weren't rushing to get 16 done as it was approaching December and from our standpoint we were dormant seeding the fairway. Soil temperatures had already drifted below 50 degrees on average and we weren't expecting to see much germination this fall/winter from the seed but had high hopes the seed would germinate once soil temperature increased in the spring. We also had not logged the heads on 16 into the computer and therefore couldn't supply the new seed with water to encourage germination. With all that in mind I decided it would be a good time to do our own trial in regards to the organic compost.

"Pocket" of Compost 
Instead of doing the usual dusting I put out a good 1" of compost across the entire fairway and then worked it in to a depth of 3". We then seeded the fairway the same way and let mother nature take over. We seeded 16 on November 23rd, I used 15 and 3 fairway, which had been seeded on November 10th and 16th to compare germination times and rates.

To my surprise 16 out performed both 3 and 15 despite both those fairways receiving adequate irrigation following seeding. Turf cover on 16 is around 65% compared to roughly 20% on the other two fairways. In areas where the organic compost had been sitting on the surface and collected from rain the Bentgrass turf is doing exceptionally well and is growing. The rest of the fairway has germinated but isn't as far along as the seed thats in these "pockets" of the compost.
3 Fairway, Seeded Nov. 16th 

Come spring time I will be sure to put the full 1" of compost across the rest of the fairways

No comments:

Post a Comment