New PGR reduces clippings
17 Sep 2020
A Cotswold golf club has become one of the first to adopt the new plant growth regulator (PGR) Attraxor and is already seeing impressive results.
BASF and Agrovista Amenity launched the new PGR at BTME in January claiming up to 70 percent biomass reduction and up to 75 percent increase in sward density. Jamie Blake, head greenkeeper at Broadway Golf Club in Worcestershire, saw the product at BTME and has been one of the first to implement it in the UK. “I was amazed by how fast the product claimed to get into the plant. We measured our clip rate before using Attraxor and it was 25.9ml/m². The day after we had applied the product the clippings had reduced to 17.7 ml/m²., an almost 32% reduction,” he says.
Ray Hunt, Agrovista Amenity specialist and a former golf course manager, has worked with Jamie to introduce Attraxor to Broadway Golf Club. “Jamie was looking for improvements with his PGR programme to achieve greater consistency from fewer applications and Attraxor was the best fit so he decided to try it,” he says.
Broadway Golf Club sits 800 feet above sea level in a commanding position above the scenic Cotswolds. With nearly 650 playing members it is a busy course and Jamie reports that he experiences over 600 members using the course in a single week. “Our membership is capped at 650 and we have a very active group who make the most of the course. Expectations have risen with more televised golf and there is an assumption that our course should look like the ones on TV,” he explains.
The land drains well and is underpinned by Cotswold stone. However, whilst it is unlikely to hold water for long, during the dry weather it has been a challenge to keep the moisture content up. “We can water the greens and the tees but the aprons and fairways need a wetting agent. Especially when we have such long dry spells as this year,” he says. To monitor the ground closely he uses a moisture metre. “It is important to manage our moisture content accurately because in spells of hot and dry weather it can be a challenge to keep the balance right,” he says.
The north facing course offers superb views towards the Malverns but the aspect means it is slow to warm early in spring. “We sometimes use fertilisers in January because the temperatures are higher than March. We have had quite heavy frosts in March these last few years so we have adjusted to use a light top dressing of sand to smooth out the surface ahead of the course getting busier,” he explains.
The greens are predominately Poa Annua but Jamie has been encouraging Bent grass in to the mixture. “We have been over seeding with Bent two or three times a year to create a stronger balance. When I looked at Attraxor I saw it had a direct effect on the seed head production of Poa, so I wanted to be careful to not stress the greens too much,” he says. The label for Attraxor states that a reduced dose of 0.5-0.65 kg/ha is sufficient in areas with high density of Poa Annua. “We started on 26th June with a 0.5kg/ha dose and also used five kilos of sulphate of ammonia in a 300-litre tank to counteract any potential discolouration it may have caused. It worked straight away, we saw a reduction over night and there was no discolouration to the Poa or apparent stress which gave us the confidence to continue,” says Jamie.
With 34 years’ experience and the son of the previous greenkeeper, Jamie felt confident to up the dosage after the first application. “I chose to see if we could realise any benefit from increasing the dose to 0.6 kg/ha. I made the second application on 10th July at the increased dose. The clip rate on the 10th was 20.34ml/m², today we are ten days on and it has come down to 16.36ml/m²,” he says.
Jamie incorporates natural compost and bio-stimulants into a programme to help maintain the strength of the sward. “I use three kilos per hectare of nitrogen and, if we have a competition, I tend to use a little iron,” he says. Since using Attraxor he has seen no adverse effect to the colour and the sward density has remained high. “It was worth trying the higher dose rate but we don’t need it, so I will be using 0.5kg/ha in the future. Attraxor has fitted in well and is reducing the clippings considerably whilst helping to maintain sward density,” he adds.
On the tees Jamie and the team have taken a different strategy. “We keep the grass longer and have more rye on the tees so we opted for a dose of 1.0kg/ha for the first application. We don’t measure clip rates in the same way but following the first application a week ago the reports are good, and a visible reduction has already been reported,” he says.
“It is great to see Jamie has achieved greater consistency with Attraxor through fewer applications and that he has now extended the programme to Tees and Aprons,” says Mr Hunt. By using Attraxor throughout the course, in areas that are cut regularly, Jamie has greater control of the turf and fewer clippings. “It makes the turf denser so I have no plans to use it in the rough, but I am sure it will play an important roll in the other areas of the course,” adds Jamie.
The product will be used until temperatures start to fall so Jamie expects to stop applying in September or early October. “We have opted for a 150 growth degree day (GDD) for Attraxor and it is working well. In the past I have used Primo-Maxx with a GDD of 100 at the start of the year and then adjusted to 150 so I may opt for this at the start of the season with Attraxor too,” he explains. “It is clear that Attraxor has a strong effect and I will be using it in the future because even at a low dosage it is very effective on the green and at the higher dosage it is also working well on other areas of the course, so it’s here to stay,” he concludes.
Jamie Blake, Head Greenkeeper at Broadway Golf Club
Jamie Blake inspecting the greens at Broadway Golf Club
The greens are predominately Poa Annua but Jamie has been encouraging Bent grass in to the mixture.
Jamie Blake takes a different approach on the tees and used a 1.0 kg/ha dose rate of Attraxor for the first application.