This article was originally published in Volume 21.4 (July-August 2019) of Australian Turfgrass Management Journal.
Enhancing native areas on your golf course doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise writes ATM environmental expert Kate Torgersen.
Many clubs have approached me wanting to embark on native vegetation projects, however, budget restraints have often stopped them from progressing. But there are many different low cost measures that can be implemented that can improve and enhance native vegetation on your course. Whether it’s protecting native areas, utilising existing species on course and growing them on or sourcing funding through local council grants, there are many avenues that clubs can potentially explore.
Protecting native areas
The existing vegetation and seedbank in the areas you select will determine the results you will achieve and the amount of maintenance required.
When starting out try and choose an area you know may have a good seed bank as this will assist in a more successful outcome especially if you are trialling an area to demonstrate the benefits to the members and committee.
You will need to manage these areas to a certain degree, such as applying a selective herbicide to manage any weeds that appear or weeding the area as needed.
Leongatha Golf Club, south east of Melbourne, is a small country club maintained by three full-time staff and keen volunteers. It is an absolute gem of a course and in 2018 course superintendent Dylan McMeekin approached me for advice on how to best go about promoting native areas. Dylan was keen to reduce the costs associated with mowing rough and wanted to promote the native vegetation on his course.
The areas selected were roped off and left to grow to see what species were there and luckily for Dylan the seed bank was full of native indigenous species. Maintenance going forward included selectively spraying unwanted weeds from these areas. The results have been very impressive.
To read Doing it Yourself click here.