Worm Castings

Course Update for October 20, 2017

By | Bentgrass, Fall, Frost, Worm Castings

To ensure our bentgrass greens are properly prepared for the winter, the golf course will close in mid November. An exact date will be determined within the next couple of weeks.

With the temperatures falling, leaf colours changing, and the days getting much shorter, it finally feels like fall. This time of year has its unique set of challenges:

Grasses are physiologically slowing down significantly and not growing as much. There is also less daylight, and some areas can stay in the shade for a good portion of the day (see photo below). Together, these two factors create a surface that is moist and lacking in structure. Damage with equipment and carts can happen easily and quickly. Therefore, in addition to our normal traffic posts, we will also be using stakes and ropes in some weak areas. Please avoid driving through staked areas.

The worms have come out with a vengeance. Usually hot temperatures in the summer help control worm populations. Without those temperatures this summer, there seems to be an abundance of worms, and the mess they are leaving behind is considerable. We are trying a few different techniques to clean the castings, but they are very challenging. Here is a picture of a fairway mower completely clogged up with the mud from the worm castings after traveling only a short distance along a fairway. (see photo below)

Expect frost mornings periodically throughout the balance of the season (see photo below). Frost usually occurs when temperatures drop anywhere below 5ºC and overnight skies are clear. Leaf blades in grasses are composed of 80% water. When temperatures are low enough the water inside the leaf blades and the moisture on the outside of the leaf blades will freeze. If you walk on frost it can rupture the frozen cells and kill the grass. Therefore, it is very important to stay off the golf course when there is frost. In some cases, frost will lift relatively quickly and in other cases it can stick around for hours. It mostly depends on sun exposure and temperature. Please call the Golf Shop on frost mornings for updates.

Have a great weekend.

Andre Aymar, Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for October 15, 2012

By | Turf, Worm Castings | No Comments

Fall weather brings along many favourable features for golf courses, but worm castings aren’t one of them. As days get shorter, air temperature and soil temperatures decrease and we tend to see more average rainfall. All of which are perfect conditions for earthworms. There are only three species of earthworms in North America that have been reported to occur in turfgrass, and out of these three only two of them create soil castings. The night crawler is the most common and abundant. When they feed on soil and organic matter at night they leave fecal matter at the entrance of their burrow, leaving a big mess on short cut turf such as fairways and tees.

Our turf staff are doing their very best to clean it up daily, but in areas where earthworms are densely populated, the appearance and playability of the golf course may be affected.

Andre Aymar, Assisstant Course Superintendent