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Correspondence Greenkeeping corner Ask Arthur R

eaders will be unsurprised to hear that, like many of you, I haven’t had much to do outside for these

past few weeks, although I’m hoping that in the next few days we’ll be able to begin top-dressing the grass. The weather has been a nightmare all

over the country, from what I’ve seen on the TV news. And some of our greens still have many inches of snow on them, although thankfully, it’s clearing now. I haven’t seen drifting like we’ve seen

in Tayside for many years. With the strong east wind blowing, the fields were virtually clear of snow – but many of the roads were closed because of the drifts that quickly built up, and one green that I look after ended up with three feet of snow at one end. In these situations, it’s wiser to leave the green to clear naturally before you start working on the grass. From my postbag I see that others, like

myself, have seen growth slowing in the grass – one gentleman from Staffordshire told me he hasn’t had to cut his green since last July! Another, in York, said the grass stopped growing there in September despite regular attention – and plenty of rain. I’m afraid I have no answer to either of them. I just don’t know why the grass



stopped growing so early. My friend, the greenkeeper at Carnoustie Golf Course can’t figure it out either. It’s a real mystery. I’ve also had letters from some readers

asking how to deal with fusarium – a fungus that attacks greens. In my experience, every green is susceptible to fusarium – some more than others. I didn’t think last autumn was all that bad up here in Scotland, but in England it seems to have been a bit of a problem. One of the reasons that greens suffer

from fusarium is because of winter growth of the grass – and we haven’t had much of that up here on Tayside. You have to get to know

your green before you can identify the times of the year when it’s susceptible to fungal

damage. With most greens, it’s in October that fusarium takes hold, and if you spray the green with a fungicide near the end of September, that should help. But beware. Some fungicides are effective for only a month, so you might have to reapply it to the green two or three times. Knowing your green makes a big

difference and whether your club calls the person elected to the post a green curator, a bailie, a marshall or a green ranger, he’s the man or woman responsible for making sure the green is in tip-top condition. He or she’s also the most abused

person in the club – everything that goes wrong with the green is their fault, and they have to put up with people constantly griping to them. So the curator either has to be thick-skinned and let it flow like water off a duck’s back or... he has to be someone that people are afraid to cross. The most effective curators I’ve come across are those that people are scared to moan at for fear they’ll get the hairdryer treatment (à la Alex Ferguson). The detractors might moan behind their backs – but most don’t worry about that. Someone asked me if I could let

him have a year planner to show what treatment is needed and when. I might be able to if the weather man can come up with a planner to show me exactly how the weather’s going to be over the year. But that ain’t happened yet. The best thing you can do is listen to

for fear they’ll get the hairdryer treatment (à la Alex Ferguson)

58 NationwideBowler

I’ve come across are those that people are scared to moan at

Te most effective curators

your professional green keeper. They’ll be watching the weather and reacting accordingly. There’s a lot you can learn from them.


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Arthur Crichton passes on some of the hints and tips he’s gathered in a career that spans 45 years

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