TURF DIPLOMA DISTANCE LEARNING COURSE
Comment from one of our turf students
"Thanks for the videos, they are great! I got a lot of information from them. The Turf Management video is practical and easy to understand. Plant Propagation is a video every student should watch because out here in the real world no-one would give out such information. The Rose Growing Tape was very beneficial to me as I have about 60 odd roses. I thought I knew a little about them but this tape is a real eye-opener."
This course is designed as a foundation for a career in turf management.
Turf managers include golf course superintendents and curators of sporting facilities (eg. Football grounds, lawn tennis courts, bowling clubs, race courses, etc).
You must successfully complete assignments and pass exams in 14 modules, and also attend 100 hours of Industry meetings.
This requirement can be achieved by verifying attendance at a series of industry meetings, as follows:
Meetings may be seminars, conferences, trade shows, committee meetings, volunteer events (eg. Community working bees), or any other meeting where two or more industry people or people who are knowledgeable about their discipline.
Opportunity must exist for the student to learn through networking, observation and/or interaction with people who know their industry or discipline
A list of events should be submitted together with dates of each attended and times being claimed for each
Documentary evidence must be submitted to the school to indicate support each item on the above list (eg. Receipts from seminars, conference or shows, letters from committee or organisation secretaries or committee members. All such documentation must contain a contact details)
Note that each module in the Qualification - Associate Diploma Turf is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO GROW GOOD TURF?
Most people may think growing turf isn't all that complicated, but as you study this course you are going to discover that turf culture is in fact a very complex thing -that is if you are going to do it right.
Lawns can be relatively easy to establish and maintain if you prepare the soil properly from the beginning, use appropriate cultivars (eg. turf grasses), and don't stress the growing surface by over using it. In reality though, turf surfaces do get stressed. The plants growing in a turf are trod on, they have lawn mowers and perhaps other vehicles roll over the surface, they get damaged by weather events, attacked by pests and diseases and can be affected by invading weeds.
Consider What Snow Can Do -and that is just one of many things that might impact turf.
Snow can cause deterioration of turf in cooler climates; just as much as a heat wave can damage turf in a hot climate.
After snow fall, it is essential not to walk on snow covered turf as this can damage the turf beneath leaving ugly marks where grass has been bruised. Traffic may also increase the risk of fungal diseases.
When snow melts the most obvious damage to turf is caused by Fusarium Patch. This is otherwise known as snow mould and is most commonly caused by the fungi, Microdochium nivale (Pink Snow Mould) and Typhula spp. (Grey Snow Mould). Snow moulds are identifiable as circular patches of dead and dying blades of grass with a dark circle around the outside. Patches may be large in diameter and overlap. The grass becomes matted and fungal mycelia may be evident on the surface which can be white, pink or grey. Fusarium patch is a particular problem of golf courses, tees and bowling greens and is one of the most common turf diseases. Pink snow mould tends to be more damaging to turf because it affects the crowns and roots of the turf whereas grey snow mould typically only affects the grass bades. As the grass dries out, the mycelia tend to disappear.
Mould fungi are at their most active when temperatures are just above freezing and the grass is moist. As such they are most prevalent beneath a blanket of snow, and at their most prolific when snow fall is sudden and the soil has not had time to freeze. They can also occur beneath anything else which covers the turf such as leaves, tarpaulins, bricks, and so on. Whilst most prevalent during the autumn and winter in moist mild conditions, Fusarium patch may also occur at other times of the year provided that the conditions are right. For example, it may be found during mild springs and humid summers.
Snow moulds are found in the thatch of the turf where they exist until conditions become favourable and they become active.
There are a number of ways in which the turf can be prepared in order to reduce or eliminate the effects of snow mould during the winter.
- Grass should be mowed right up to the point that it becomes dormant in winter
- Fertilisers should not be applied within 6 weeks of winter dormancy as this will encourage fleshy susceptible growth
- Dense thatch should be raked out
- Leaves and other debris should be removed from the turf surface
- During snowfall, snow should not be piled deeply on grass areas as this will increase thawing time
- Avoid top dressing during optimal fungal growth conditions
- Ensure that the turf has good drainage and sufficient air movement to avoid moist conditions. This can be achieved by removing causes of excessive shade.
Other risk factors include:
- Alkaline soil
- The use of Poa annua which is highly susceptible to Fusarium patch. Fescues are more resistant to the disease.
Following infection it is advisable to avoid using fertilisers which may encourage fast weak growth that is prone to further attack. Lawn sands are regarded as the best type of fertiliser because they reduce the risk of further disease.
Fungicides can be applied where necessary though it is most effective for pink snow mould. Contact types are best and several have proved successful.
For home garden lawns fungicidal treatments are the last course of action and should preferably be avoided. Adhering to the cultural control methods above will help to reduce the impact of Fusarium patch. Normal grass growth should follow infection even in severe cases. Fungicide is most effective if applied before the first snow fall.
Over seeding and plugging may be necessary where grass is struggling to recover. Opening out of the matted Fusarium patch will enable the grass beneath to grow through.
Turf professionals need to be highly skilled experts in order to properly understand, and effectively manage the turf.
This course is a very sound foundation and designed to set you on a solid path to becoming the turf expert you aspire to be.