Rygrass control in Links turf
A fine example of beautiful links turf is the 16th green on the Jubilee. It is a blend of fine fescue, bent and some annual meadow grass. Unfortunately other greens on the Links are not as pure and are infested with a broad leaved grass known as ryegrass.
The main problem with ryegrass is the clump forming, growth nature of the plant. It dominates the natural finer leaved varieties resulting in bumpy surfaces, especially during spring. It also doesn’t cut well and when wet, the leaves can be stripped, leaving a fibrous white sinewy material, which is visually poor and causes poor playability on the courses.
For years greenkeepers have tried to minimise the effect of Ryegrass by verticutting, scarifying or even re-turfing areas. However, this plant is a survival expert and withstands most of what’s thrown at it.
Recently, new products have been developed called Graminicides which act as selective agents that target the ryegrass but leaves the finer fescues, meadow grass and most of the bent.
We recently used this this product on the 18th green of the New Course as the ryegrass was increasing despite daily double cutting and frequent verticutting. As a result this made it difficult to find a clean position for a new hole. Only this green was chosen because it would allow us to concentrate our efforts on re-establishing a cover of fine grasses once the product had eradicated the ryegrass.
From previous experience it was decided to opt for a spring application just prior to the St Rule Trophy. This allowed us to seed the green with fescue and fertilise it beforehand; encouraging new growth to develop into areas where the ryegrass will die off.
The product, Rescue, was applied on 31 May and already significant “browning off” of the turf has occurred which should last a few weeks. During this time we will feed and carry out another double seeding operation. Ryegrass kill is likely to be seen after 4–5 weeks.
Short term, the surface will suffer as gaps appear where the ryegrass was, but having an intensive seeding regime and a healthy approach to turf nutrition should accelerate the recovery process, leading to a much better green long term.
Words by Graeme Taylor, Course Manager – New & Jubilee Courses