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Thank you Anna,
The plant I am concerned with is common heather, Calluna Vulgaris.
I belong to a golf course renowned and dependent upon its heather. It is clay based.
During the last couple of years and particularly during the past 12 months, the heather has deteriorated rapidly and has died completely in a number of places.
Last week I carried out PH tests, albeit with a cheapish PH tester, and found that the PH was between 6.2 and 7.0 at various places on the course. I carried out about 10 tests in different areas.
20 years ago tests carried out were significantly lower, averaging out at 6.2.
My questions are as follows:-
1. Do you think that this increase in average PH from 6.2 to 6.6 is very significant?
2. Do you thing that the fact that no suppressants have been applied to the surrounding grasses would have an effect on the PH and the dying heather?
3. Do you think that the heavy moss that has accumulated within the heather during the last two wet winters has had an effect?
3. Most importantly, what steps do you think we should take to remedy the situation? We are talking about some 50/75 acres!
A weighty question, I know. But any help and your views would be very much appreciated.
Anna, I really am most grateful for your help. Such is our course that we MUST recover the heather as the course totally relies on it.
We can and will strip into the existing heather seed bed, which we have in the past with excellent results after 2/3 years. The problem is maintaining it thereafter, and I suspect reducing the PH level generally before stripping or seeding is a must.
The course is over 100 years old and is a renowned heathland course. None of the agronomists we have used have adversely queried our PH levels. It was my concerns that made me carry out the recent tests showing an increase in PH levels from 20 years ago.
Your suggestions are most interesting and will be suggested to the green committee.
Thank you again.