Golf Course Ecology Visits - December 2021

1 January 2022 Ecology Bulletin

As with all eco blogs and features, it’s usually best to be relevant to the time of year it goes out. An example was last month’s leaf collection and subsequent composting blog, so let’s carry on being relevant!

Now that the leaves have fallen, you will have a bare tree or trees which you can survey for cracks, water pocket damage, fungi decomposition amongst other things.

Another ‘thing’ is you can now clearly see if they need managing for thinning-out reasons. As we know, trees need control on a golf course; the amount I visit where trees were planted in the 1970’s and 80’s and then not managed could be described as considerable.

That being said, take a look at these snaps and see what I mean. The first is of a copse where no management has been undertaken, whereas the second shows excellent management, for a golf course, that is. I always suggest woods are left to their own devices as nature will decide the best way forward, however, golf woodland management is a little different as we need free flowing air movement and sunlight to our playing surfaces. That also being said, we can thin-out our newly planted trees so nature and golf can live together with minimal disruption.

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Trees too close together


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Well managed copse


The course in question where management is required was advised that at least 1/3rd of the weaker trees should be removed thus allowing the more dominant types room to flourish. If they are left much longer, then they would all reach for sunlight. This is never a good scenario as they then have no lower or middle canopies to stabilise them. Also, wildlife attraction is minimal.

Let me know if you need assistance and I’ll see what I can do.

James Hutchinson.


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James Hutchinson
BIGGA | Membership Services Manager - Ecology

James Hutchinson is BIGGA’s Ecology and Sustainability expert.  With over 30 years greenkeeping and ecology experience, including two years at St Andrews Links Trust as their Environmental Officer, he is well placed to offer guidance and advice to BIGGA members


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