Putting Green Maintenance


  • Mowing – The green should be mowed at 3/16 to 1/4 inch four or more times per week.

  • Fertilize the green with 0.5 lb nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. on May 1 and June 1.

  • Fertilization – Fertilize with 1.0 lb nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. on Sept. 15 and Nov. 15.

  • Irrigation – Water the green in the early morning (5-7 a.m.) hours. Only water when the green shows signs of drought stress.

  • Pests – Several insects and diseases are potential pests of creeping bentgrass greens. The first step in pest control is to produce a dense, actively growing stand of grass.

  • Topdressing – Topdressing is the application of a thin layer of soil on top of the putting surface. Apply a layer of topdressing approximately 1/8 inch thick of screened soil to putting surface. Use a push broom to work the topdressing down through the turf canopy. Apply topdressing in early May and late September.

All that irrigation water washes the fertilizer through the sand profile! You will be amazed how quickly after germination the tiny grass plants turn yellow from lack of nitrogen. Feed them with your favorite potion, whatever it may be, but feed them often or the new green will wither and be retarded. It is always a revelation how much more fertilizer new greens need compared to old, established putting surfaces. Availability of nutrients is radically different than the amount applied.

The first cut is made with a walking mower equipped with a solid roller, set between 3/8″ and 1/2″. Don’t wait too long, or the leaf blades will flatten out under the mower. It is sometimes a good idea to lightly roll the green the day before cutting. That gets rid of the lug marks from the trap rake and the foot prints you left from periodic inspection. As subsequent cuts are made at lower heights, care should be taken so as not to remove too much of the leaf tissue. Lower the mower between 1/16th and 1/32nd per week. This gives the plants time to get accustomed to the last cut.