Friday, 14 August 2015

Yarrow during drought

A few years ago I seeded yarrow into the sand trap surrounds at the advice of Armen Suny. This "weed" is perfectly adapted for the tough growing conditions surrounding sand traps, it stays green even when it is extremely dry, provides a good playing surface when mowed, and spreads to provide a good stable edge to a trap.

This year we have been experiencing the worst drought since they started taking records. Needless to say we have had trouble keeping some of our bunker surrounds in good shape. Today I noticed that the yarrow was still doing great, despite the difficult growing conditions on the course and especially on the bunker edges. Here are a few pictures to show just how happy the yarrow is.

The collar is on a steep slope. Any hand watering will wash out the trap. The yarrow is creeping in from the trap edge towards the green in these tough growing conditions. Without the yarrow the trap edge would completely collapse.

Close up of the yarrow creeping back from the bunker edge

Yarrow in a well irrigated bunker edge.

The only thing that is green on this unirrigated slope is the yarrow. Even the fescue and moss are brown

green happy yarrow on a very tough growing environment
I casually seeded my bunker surrounds a few years ago but am now considering an all out effort to bring more of this plant to my course. Aside from bunker surrounds I can also see this used for steep slopes, and even fairways and rough. I might even sow some into some "naturalized" areas so that I can start a self sowing chain reaction.

I am completely sold on the use of yarrow on golf courses. Water is a precious resource and anything that we can do to reduce that usage and still achieve our goals of producing nice looking and playing golf courses should be done. I think it's time that we take a serious look at using other drought tolerant plants for widespread use on golf courses.

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