Friday, August 27, 2010

Pok'n Holes.

I spent close to 21 hours this past week “spiking” fairways in a poor mans attempt at eliminating some the hydrophobic areas found on fairway turf.

My main concern is that Poa annua or annual bluegrass will colonize the voids and set in motion the endless cycle of grass then no grass when it checks out during the first sign of summer stress.

Poking holes will allow for better water penetration into the soil profile.

Ideally, we would treat hydrophobic areas chemically with wetting agents. In perfect times we would have done both.

The near record levels of rain led to short plant roots this summer. Couple that with the extra cart traffic we witnessed not to mention running heavy mowers over wet fairway turf created compacted soils which magnified our problem areas about the course.  Only our worse fairways were “spiked” in there entirety.

Manning the aerifier alone brought back memories of the 8 six hour days we would spend aerifying fairways with one unit. It would take us two weeks to completely get through the course and we always prayed for mother natures cooperation.


Friday, August 20, 2010

First signs of Fall

You might see leaves on a tree under stress beginning to change color or you may have noticed small birds foraging for seeds on crabgrass seed stalks but for me a sure sign of fall is our annual crew picnic held each year as a thank you send off for our departing college students.

I bring this to your attention as we will be modifying our maintenance schedules to compensate for the loss of manpower. The frequency in which tasks are completed will be reduced with some jobs shifted to other parts of the week and we will simply eliminate some altogether until the return of the next season. Always bitter sweet.


*#@&&!!! CRABGRASS!

Crabgrass: “Mother Nature, What a bountiful crop you've produced this year!” The summer annual Digitaria sanguinalis or Crabgrass seems to have taken over the world this year when compared to previous years and our two golf courses offered no resistance to this yearly pest invasion.

There are two reasons for this. First is that we had an early warm spring this year that put plant growth two to three weeks ahead of normal when comparing growing degree days with those of other years. If your lawn has a severe crabgrass problem this year, your preventative control measures may have been put down too late to control germination. Mistiming of an application was easily done this year. Secondly, we’ve had warm and humid conditions for weeks on end, ideal conditions that allowed the plant to grow exponentially this year. Also, severe diseases removed vast amounts of Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua) from the turf creating voids that were rapidly filled by this adventitious plant whose seeds can lay dormant in the soil for decades.

Notice the lack of traffic tolerance of the crabgrass plant under the constant pounding of the beverage cart multiple trips over the same tracks.
Now the question I ponder is do I aerify Tri City fairways this fall through the extensive patches of Crabgrass with the knowledge that there are billions of seeds on stalks ready to fall into these newly made growth chambers? I’m coupling this with the knowledge that this is an annual plant and that any seed that would happen to germinate this fall should be killed by the first frost. In the first photo you can clearly see the crabgrass follows the contour lines of a fairway cut that is much closer to the ground.  Was this caused by repeated fall aerifcations? (Answer “yes” to aerification this fall as this weed seed germinates in the spring. Better to have open holes now over next spring if the turf is weak. Also this is a good time to interseed your turf with desirable seed grasses allowing them the time to become established before winter hopefully with enough growth that they can grow and shade out any crabgrass poised to germinate next spring.)

Hopefully future budgets will allow the purchase of herbicides necessary to prevent spring germination or post emergence of this weed.

Speaking of crabgrass, in the photo below is a trial experiment using never before planted and I mean in the world planted "Round up Ready Ryegrass." 

We are experimenting to see if we can establish a combination of Ryegrass and low mow Bluegrass on Tri City fairways as a means of creating better fairway playing conditions there.  Once established, we should be able to remove and control all grass and broadleafed weeds with a single application of Round up at a low cost to the budget.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wall Street Journal "The Ugly Summer of 2010."

Here's the link to the newspaper article.

Not sure how long the link will stay active
Enjoy as we've seen another 1.4" of rain.  Even our puddles are drowning in water.....


Thursday, August 12, 2010

EBay Saves you money.

     Lost my camera out on the golf course somewhere and didn't find it until after the deluge early Wednesday morning. Digital camera and water = fried no longer working camera despite my efforts of disassembly and drying with compressed air. Oh well, I needed a newer model anyway Speaking of rain, since Sunday morning we’ve seen an additional 3.7 inches in the past four days. With all the heat and humidity (dew points in the 70’s) I wouldn’t bet against seeing Pythium raise its ugly head. I hope not, as we no longer apply a preventative chemical application to fairway turfs. With highs predicted in the low 90’s forecast for Thursday coupled with standing water present on several back nine fairways I have my doubts.

    Speaking of money, one of our Cushman Utility Vehicles governor self destructed internally. Just bits and pieces of metal inside. We called for availability and costs and were told there were no rebuild parts available and that a new one would cost over $1050! After calling a Dale Morrison CGS at Trappers Turn who rebuilds old Cushman’s as a hobby asked me if I tried to find the part on EBay. After a brief search, setting up both EBay and PayPal accounts we located and purchased a used part for $161.75 saving my maintenance budget almost $900! We got lucky this time, can not say the same about some repair costs encountered this summer as no fault of our own.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why does Turf Dies in the Summer?

I stumbled across this video link via a fellow Turfnetter Jerry Coldiron, CGCS that I thought you might like to watch.  Enjoy as another week of heat and high humidities is in the forecast.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Boot Blight Bug Dope

With all the rain we’ve seen over the past couple of months has lead to an explosion of mosquitoes everywhere on the course. The photo is a reminder that the aerosol in the sprays is harmful to the turf. (Makes me wonder what this stuff does to the skin?) Please apply sprays to your person over asphalt or gravel cart paths.

I’m guessing a size eleven.

And as a bonus:  The old saying goes;  "The more rain you get, the more you need."  This is a photo of Hydrophobic areas on our third fairway.  It is not a disease but sure looks bad.  Hydrophobic soils are created by soil bacteria that deposit a "waxy coating" over the soil particals.  Water is unable to adhere and is basically shed.  This happened in spite of the fact we've seen 15" of rain since the first of June.  Preventitive treatments of wetting agents, even in wet years, help strip the wax coating from the soil allowing the plant available water to stick.