Low Resource Turfgrass
Turfgrass maintenance is the most visible area of resource consumption for the industry. It's understandable. As the playing surface that underpins golfer enjoyment, its quality can affect the bottom line of any golf business.
The challenges of variety
Playing surfaces range from indigenous grasses that are simply trimmed to a playable condition, to highly cultivated strains that are alien to the host environment. Maintaining indigenous grasses can require extremely low inputs of water, energy, nutrition and pesticides. In contrast, non-indigenous varieties typically require the construction of a completely new growing medium, regular watering, fertilisers and chemicals as well as energy-intensive mechanical practices. It’s clear which option makes better environmental and commercial sense.
Getting the most from turfgrass
The aim of the game is to minimise the overall use of resources in the maintenance of turf. This enables a smaller energy footprint and helps to reduce costs.
- Make the turfgrass area as small as possible.
- Maintain grass species that are best adapted to soil and climate and are the most drought, disease and wear tolerant.
- Feed and water grasses just enough to keep them healthy. Avoid overfeeding and watering as this weakens the plants.
- Maximise the health of the plant - by reducing stress, managing wear, aerating the soil, managing thatch to an appropriate level and encouraging strong, deep rooted plants.
- Set thresholds for pests and diseases, such as treating only those that cause significant damage, or only once a certain amount of damage is prevalent.
- Seek biological options to control pests and diseases.
- Use the least persistent, least toxic and most effective chemicals to treat pests and diseases that can cause significant damage to playing surfaces.
- Strive to target pesticide use on greens, and establish areas that are pesticide free.
- Establish no spray zones around sensitive features such as water courses and wetlands.
- Ensure all operators are well trained, all spraying equipment well calibrated, and applications best targeted for the desired purpose.