Friday, 29 August 2014


Montrose steeple pictured from the Medal course showing
natural dune grasses in the foreground.
This month i will highlight some of the trials we have undertaken to try and increase the amount of heather that we have on the courses. Other photos of interest, taken this month, can also be seen below.

We don't have great deal of heather on the two courses, the main patches are on the 5th and 15th Medal holes and around the 3rd on the Broomfield, with other small clumps dotted here and there.In August when the heather is in full flower it adds a splash of colour to the links.It also increases the habitat diversity, giving year round cover for birds and homes for a wide variety of insect life.
Mature Heather in full flower close to the 16th Broomfield Tee.

Mature Heather close to the 15th Medal Fairway

 One of the first trials we undertook was to use a turf cutter to remove the thatch layer from a small area of turf close to an existing patch of heather. The aim here was to expose any possible seed bank and in doing so  encourage it to germinate.

The area prior to turf removal.

Turf in the process of being removed.

A full load of the thatch layer to be taken away.

This operation was carried out in 2008 and initially there appeared to be no signs of success. After about 2 years a few small seedlings germinated but now 6 years later there is a good population of young heather plants. I am not sure if it normally takes this long for the seed to germinate but at least it was successful.
One of the many young seedlings that eventually germinated
within the area that was stripped of the thatch layer.

We also tried digging up some clumps of heather and relocating into an area to the left of the 4th Medal  fairway. We felt that this would be a suitable area as it already had a few small clumps growing successfully nearby. The area was fenced off so it didn't get disturbed, however after initial optimism the heather started to thin out and eventually died off.

Relocating one of the plants.

One of the relocated plants.

Area after completion.
The final trial we undertook was to harvest heather seed. We were given permission to collect seed from an adjoining land owner 1 mile north of the courses at kinnaber. The seed was collected just after flowering. Before sowing the harvested seed we rotovated the chosen area to create grooves for the seed to sit into. After sowing we topdressed the area with a sand / soil mix and brushed it into the grooves. Unfortunately for whatever reason this method proved unsuccessful.

Collected heather seed.
                   Rotovator - used to create grooves.
Hand sowing.
some of the other photographs taken this month can be seen below.


 Black headed Gull.
These Gulls can be seen regularly on the links. Juvenile birds
don't initially show the chocolate brown heads that are distinctive
to the adult birds.
Large numbers of Oystercatchers can be often seen on the 
fairways of both courses. They use their long bills to forage
for worms etc.


Devil's-bit Scabious.
This wild flower can be seen in a number of locations over the
links. It is great plant to have as it attracts large numbers of
Bees and Butterflies.

This tall grassland plant, also known as Knapweed, looks like
a thistle but without the prickles.

This small plant is actually a parasite which attaches itself
to roots of plants such as clover and plantains. More than 2
dozen species of this plant are found in Britain.

This wild flower is very common on the links. It can be easily seen 
in the rough areas where it is allowed to grow to is natural height. 
Young plants can sometimes appear on the greens, it then changes
from being a wild flower to a weed and is removed.

This picture was taken on a willow tree to the right of the 8th 
Medal  hole. All the branches are covered in lichen. it is said
that this is a sign of very clean air.

Creeping Willow.
There are a number of patches of this low creeping plant on
the two courses.

Birds Foot Trefoil.
A common plant found growing in the grassland. It gets its name
from the seed-pods which are arranged like the toes of a birds foot.

Next month i will show some of the different species of Mushroom, fungi etc that can be seen around the 2 courses. I will also include other photos of interest that have been taken in September. 

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.