How to prep turf for the holiday season

How to prep turf for the holiday season
November 26, 2018 Terry Griffiths

Christmas holidays are fast approaching, and we bet you’re looking forward to kicking back and enjoying some well-deserved time off! But there’s something that could stop you from wholeheartedly submerging yourself in the Christmas spirit, and that’s a niggling worry about the welfare of your greens while you’re away.

Whether you’re a golf course superintendent, a council worker in charge of parklands, or a groundskeeper for a public facility, resort or sports field, you want to ensure that your turf remains healthy over the holiday season. This can be a challenging feat when you aren’t there to supervise and carry out maintenance tasks every day. But there are ways to ensure that you aren’t coming back to brown, dry turf riddled with weeds on your first day of work in 2019! Here are our top tips for preparing your greens for the holiday season so that you can ditch the turf anxiety and enjoy your time off!

Deal with weeds before you leave

Deal with weeds before you leave

Get up close and personal with your greens in the weeks before you set off for your summer holiday. Giving your turf a thorough inspection will allow you to identify and rectify any problems before you go, and provide you with better peace of mind while you’re away. Ignoring one pesky weed could result in returning to a full-blown infestation that has steadily grown over your two-week break. Keep an eye out for common broadleaf weeds such as bindii and white clover. If you see any signs of weeds emerging, be sure to treat the problem well before your holiday begins. Monitor your grass carefully for signs of lawn grubs too. Patches of dead, brown or unstable turf and an increased amount of birds, moths and wasps hovering over the greens are telltale signs of a lawn grub infestation. Treating lawn grubs ASAP is vital!

Mow but don’t overcompensate!

Mow but don’t overcompensate!

You may be tempted to cut your grass a little shorter than usual to prevent overgrowth when you return from your break, but it’s critical that you don’t take the blades too low. It’s set to be a hot, dry summer, and your soil will need plenty of shade to retain moisture and assist grassroots to thrive. You can always organise for a contractor to come in and mow while you’re away if it’s going to be for more than a week or two.

Make sure your sprinkler timers are in top shape

Many large greens, sports fields and lawns will have automatic timed sprinklers in place to assist with watering. Be sure to double check that all of the irrigation systems are in good nick before you leave. This means inspecting all of the sprinkler heads and piping lines to be certain that there are no blockages or leaks that could cause flooding or unsightly dry patches. If someone trusted nearby (or another staff member at a resort or large sports facility) is willing to keep an eye on the grounds in your absence it may be worth showing them how to turn off the system, should there be heavy rainfall while you are away.

Resist the urge to fertilise

Resist the urge to fertilise

Disruptions to your fertilising schedule may cause you anxiety, but it’s important not to get heavy-handed with the fertiliser right before you leave. If your turf shoots up at an alarming rate, you won’t be there to mow or maintain it. The best course of action is to actually to do as little as possible by way of making changes before you go. You don’t want anything out of the ordinary happening while you’re away and cannot deal with it. With any luck, if you maintain a healthy green in the weeks before you leave, it will simply carry on during your holiday, and only need a little extra TLC when you return.

We hope these preparation tips have put your mind at ease when considering the welfare of your greens over the holiday period! Now you can relax and enjoy your time off!

Need a few Secret Santa ideas for your groundskeeper mates? Check out our article Best Christmas presents for Groundskeepers. Happy Holidays!