Two vitally important element for plant performance is light, and air.
Whether you are working with your garden lawn, golf course or even sports pitch, it is vital that you understand where the plants light will come from through a 24 hour period.
As we all know many stadiums will have large stands which cast shadows around the pitch, and therefore the use of artificial lighting allows for complete cover and even growth. The pitches end up being a fabulous playing surface through this artificial growth.
Obviously this is not possible on most golf courses or in most gardens, the best advice we can give in these cases is that you do a basic light and shadow study of the areas. The process is pretty straight forward and simple.
For this section we will split it into “golf” & garden”. In both cases this blog will list the theories and guide you through how to conduct the light/shadow test.
Split the golf course into areas of importance, greens, approaches, tees, & fairways once you have split them out, keep a record (written & spreadsheet) of the light & shadow castings throughout the year.
A super handy way is to take photos as you go, this means simply going for a walk and use your phone to take photos.
Let’s think of what may cast shadows on golf courses, links would be natural land change (dunes) and possibly some trees. On inland courses it is most likely trees and to a lesser extent the natural lie of the land.
Obviously the land challenge can not be changed, and it’s mega likely that the lie is what makes the course so special. The trees and their management is however something that can be considered.
If you can record all the separate areas that may be covered around the course by tree shade, you can then very carefully make a “tree management plan” to suit your course/site. But be very carful when doing this as there are loads of things and factors to consider, here is a list:
When looking at any garden, the process is very similar to the above, do a check of where the shadows are cast across your garden throughout a year, and consider which trees or hedges may be causing this, often it is the actual house or property causing the shade issues.
There are some plants and plant types which can handle shade etc more than others. It is important to consider when selecting seed mixtures and plant types to consider this, both interns of low light and high light…
Also consider the trees, shrubs and hedges that you may plant with this in mind, as a tree over the years will grow taller and wider if not managed correctly, the problems will gradually get worse and many grass/lawn plants will struggle to grow. Either through lack of light and air or through competition for nutrients.
If we manage trees, shrubs and hedges as we go along then the garden space can work in harmony.
To summarise, here is what to do, take a study of your site, use photos where possible to record where the shadows are and how long they become throughout the year. You can use Google earth to move the time and light around over a year, it will help give you an idea of shadows etc.
If you can combine the above together you should be able to plan your management strategies.
In both of the above examples “Golf & Gardens” we have a range of lawn, pro sports turf and wildflowers mixture which will fit your purpose and look amazing.
The team at GSS are always happy to help with questions and guidance on shade management, we can help with all sections and areas of turf management. We look forward to hearing from you, send us photos and videos showing the areas and challenges and, we will help.
In the photo below you can see the smallest amount of shade being cast by this turf that has been cut, this is just here to give an illustration of how easy it is for shade to happen: