Thursday, September 29, 2011

Of Tree's and Turf.

We all know tree's are tremendous "pumps" when it comes to pulling water from the soil and away from the desired turfgrass we're trying to as seen from the photo example below.  Tree roots have been shown to graft with companion trees to branch out far and wide to satisfy their thirst for a drink.  I'd be thirsty too if I had to haul several gallons of water up eighty feet.  That's equivalent to the height of an eight story building!  My back hurts just writing that.
However a tree the size of this one, died and was removed this spring creating a whole new issue for us that was never a problem before when this tree stood alive.

Now, after removal, we have a pot hole full of standing water!  You can just make out the darker shade of green turf, the backfilled stump hole, just above the pocket of standing water.

Tree's and Turf! Damned if you remove them, damned if you don't!  _Mk

Color Blind?

No we are not color blind.  It's the same material just a different color. The supplier of our golf cart path gravel is now mining a new quarry and no longer produces the gray path material we've used in the past. I like the color change but not the combination of the two. Slowly over time our paths will take on the red hue of rotten granite as we top dress ruts and potholes. _Mk

Monday, September 26, 2011

Drainage 101

You may have seen your grounds crew busy down on #16 fairway and the cut through between #14 and 16 making repairs to the sub surface water drainage system found there.  This system was first installed in the late sixties, early seventies to drop the water table in those fairways in an effort to keep them playable.

With the heavy rains that pounded the course this past summer those areas often stood wet and did not drain for long periods of time.  To find some answers, we hired a hydro-blasting firm to inspect the drain lines between the eleventh and fourteenth fairways.

I suspected tree roots overtime had grown into and plugged drain lines, what I didn't expect to find was the irrigation main installed in 1994 cut the drain line compromising its ability to function.  I was always led to believe this drain line was several feet under ground.

Note the flow of water pouring from the pipe on left.

The irrigation contractor poured washed stone around the pipe to allow some drainage but in wet years this make shift repair wasn't enough.

Removing the old tree root plugged drain tile.
I've included several photo's to give you an idea of the scope of some of the work.  Because I was on the "idiots end" of a shovel, in a wet hole that isn't kind to electronic gear, I didn't get all the photo's needed to complete this essay.

"Clogged arteries!"

New tile buried under a bed of washed stone.  What you didn't get to see was the small river flowing downstream before the drain tile and gravel was added.

Water "free flowing" as a result of our repair.
Heavy rainfall recorded on Monday September 26th will be the first test of our repair.  I'm confident I will not be greeted by a lake in that cut through area.  This system has served the club well over time and requires more maintenance.  Now that we have repaired the severed line it is our intent to scope the rest of the system to see if we can identify more problems that we can fix to keep her running freely.  _Mk

Seeing Straight!

I received an urgent message over the radio from our greens roller operator reporting damage done to our fourth green.  Redirecting my own mower, I headed over to see what kind of damage would greet me.  Boy after a year like this, more damage to putting greens was something I did not want to see.  I feared the worse and hoped for the best.

Sure as "the shortest distance between two points-is a straight line," the damage was as I expected.  A part had fallen off the roller frame and pierced the turf.  I've seen this damage many times before, usually left behind after a pine cone, acorn, or stick became lodged between the bedknife and frame after being driven over by an operator "too rushed" to get off his machine (for probably the twentieth time that half hour) to pick sticks.

Treating the wound as we would the plug for a cup set hole or the repair of a ball mark, tamped down and carefully topdressed, the stripe should be completely healed in a week or two.  _Mk

Monday, September 12, 2011

Aerification-Fall 2011

Dear Bull's Eye members.  Your greens section staff will be aerifying Bull's Eye tee's & approaches plus Tri City tee's this week weather permitting.  The aerifier that is part of the lease package was delivered today and will be put to good use before it is moved to another course latter this week.   (Editors note: A lot of good weather needed for aerification was wasted waiting for this "shared" unit.) _Mk

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Staying the course, slow but sure.

You should have noticed by now that the Seed Guard tarps have been removed from afflicted greens.  The overall success of using tarps depended on where the tarps were located.  Sun light, green orientation to sun angle, direction of play, foot traffic and drainage to name a few were indicators of our emergency repair success. 

In the process, we learned that bentgrass seed does not germinate at temperatures greater than 90 but more importantly Poa does not germinate at temperatures greater than 80.  Hence things really didn't "take off" until after the weeks of 85 plus degree days (almost 20 degrees warmer under the tarps) passed and the weather finally felt more like fall that we were able to count success.  Success in the fact that we see more bentgrass than poa!  The tarps did keep foot traffic and perhaps the biggest plant killer of all time, mowers (low mowing heights of cut) off these areas until seedlings had a chance to establish.

Ideally speaking, as we move closer to fall, tarps would remain in place as they help retain greater soil temperatures needed to promote healing when the night time temperatures turn cooler.  We are removing them as they have started to rot as most paper by products do after being exposed to the elements of sun and water.  They can only be removed so many times to allow for mowing before they simply fall apart at the seams.

To put it mildly, it has been a very long and frustrating year trying to hold putting green turf together.

In the photo above you can see countless Bengrass plants at ready to fill in the void where the Poa plant checked out this past summer due to heat, moisture stresses. 

What's to follow? Over the next several days, these "scars" will be fertilized to promote growth and mowing heights will be slowly lowered "close" to "normal" putting green height to promote plant density.  Some area's will be seeded once more before nightly frosts defeats our efforts while others, now that the damage has been reduced to a "manageable size," will be "plugged" as they will not heal sufficiently before winter sets in. _Mk

"A Member Said" "There's a new water hazard on the course."

I've always gotten a kick out this when I'm told "a member said" because when translated usually means "complaint to follow."

The white flag is blocked by the water spray.
However in this case "a member" told me that the pond fountain moved and the height of the water spray from the fountain made things difficult when playing from the forward tee to see the pin location on the green.  As my diabolical mind processed this I could see how much fun it would be to turn the fountain on and off to interfere with each passing golf shot.  How much fun it would be for this "water cannon" to knock shots askew.  That is until "An-other member"  not related informed me that the pump house where the electrical controls were located only had one escape route!  (Darn dream kill'n member, anyway.)

Well I discovered as expected the pump motor tether cable broke allowing the pump to drift to the west.  For the time being the pond fountain been shut off to prevent "green blockage" syndrome.

I would like to thank "a member or two" (Jackie M & Peg H.) for bringing this to my attention. (because members have names.)  _Mk