Golf courses are known for their lush greens and meticulously maintained landscapes. However, the presence of worms can pose challenges to the playing surface and impact the overall aesthetics and playability of the course. In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies for controlling worms on golf courses, ensuring healthy greens and an exceptional golfing experience for players.
Understanding the Worm Challenge:
Earthworms play a beneficial role in soil health and nutrient cycling. However, excessive worm activity can result in several issues on golf course greens, including uneven surfaces, casting (worm burrows and castings on the surface), and potential damage to turf quality and playability.
- Cultural Practices:
Implementing appropriate cultural practices can help manage worm populations and minimise their impact on golf course greens. Some key strategies include:
- Mowing Height: Regularly mowing the greens at the appropriate height helps reduce favourable conditions for worms, discouraging their activity and castings.
- Aeration: Regular aeration of the greens helps improve soil structure and drainage, making the environment less conducive for worm populations.
- Top-dressing: Applying a thin layer of sand or topdressing material can help smooth out the surface and discourage worm casting accumulation.
- Soil Management:
Maintaining balanced soil fertility and pH levels is important for managing worm populations. Conducting regular soil testing and implementing a targeted fertilisation program can ensure optimal nutrient levels without creating excess organic matter that worms thrive on.
- Biological Control:
Unfortunately, unlike in agriculture systems, Greenkeepers would not be advised to encourage the natural predators of their pests. This is because of the damage worm-eating birds, badgers, and moles can cause on the greens!
- Chemical Control:
Unfortunately for Greenkeepers, there is no silver bullet the can pull out of the chemical store for controlling worms. Many of the chemicals that were approved for use have now had their registration revoked. This is because they severely impact the environment. Particularly an issue were those chemicals that were extremely persistent and would enter water courses and interfere with the ecosystems present.
One of the effects we have observed from using Eutrema’s TURF-800 product on sports turf is that worms swiftly appear on the surface after application
. The worms seem are repelled by the hydrogen sulphide released from the dilute solution into their underground passageways. The worms appearing on the surface can be safely raked up and moved to another grassed area (such as the rough or fairway). However, even though TURF-800 is non-residual and breaks down into harmless plant nutrients, it is not officially sanctioned for use on earthworms. If you would like to know more of how to safely use TURF-800 please get in contact with the Eutrema technical team at email@example.com
Controlling worms on golf courses requires a comprehensive and integrated approach that balances effective management with environmental considerations. By implementing cultural practices, optimising soil management and biology, golf course managers can maintain healthy greens while minimising the negative impact of worms.