Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Prepping Greens for a Better Tomorrow.

Bull's Eye putting surfaces were "deep tined" for the first time since 2005 choosing to use Champion Greens from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.  This is my first experience working with them and from this experience I would use them again.  Seven total hours to "tine" twenty greens.  (ED Note:  Tri City greens were not deep tined this year and will serve as our check.)  I've always considered deep tining to be a drainage event more so than an aerification event, but this time around I'm asking for deeper and better rooting of the plants on our greens as the primary benefit.  Rooting should continue well into the winter until the point in time the soil freezes up.

Greens were "tined" to a depth of 8 inches to facilitate air and water movement into and through the soil profile.  I've noted a slight layer build up I believe came as a result of winter killed turf that occurred both winters of 2004 and 2005.

Taking advantage of open "tine" holes and the need for additional sand incorporation, greens were spiked with one half inch solid tines using our greens aerifier.  Our second aerification of the year was all but cancelled due to the massive interseeding of greens undertaken the first weeks of August.

I wasn't sure we could pull this aerification off as I had a complement of six men counting myself on hand to both clean up a messy golf course after a weekends worth of leaf drop and the requirement to fill jobs like topdressing, dragging and rolling.  All operations that go with any aerification event.

I volunteered to "man" the aerifier as a change of pace as I've become tired of the multiple trips to and from the sand silo from past seasons to topdress greens. Stupid me!  Eight straight hours of walking backwards and my cramping feet reminded me that I was no longer 24!  I did manage to complete 16 of twenty greens, not a bad days work.  I estimated I walked "backwards" over 16 miles!  My legs and feet felt like mush!

Note on putting green conditions.  We were unable to roll greens due to mechanical breakdown.  Greens will be rolled as soon as the unit is repaired and back in service.  Secondly, greens finished Tuesday morning could not be "dragged" to incorporate sand as light shower passed making the sand wet. (Wet sand "bridges" and will not fall to the bottom of the hole when trying to fill it.)  Lastly, as top growth for most part ceased, the majority of the topdressing present on the surface will be left there to serve as a winter protective blanket.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Maintenance Alert: Greens!

All putting greens on the Bull's Eye Course will be "Deep Tined" using a Verti Drain starting Monday October 22, 2012.  It is our goal to puncture several layers in the greens soil profile to foster better surface/internal water drainage and oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.  All factors that inhibit rooting depth.

Greens will be closed while they are being worked on, rolled and reopened for play.  Greens will once again be taken out of play as we work on back filling open holes with topdressing sands.  All 20 greens on your course will be treated with select greens "punched" twice to maximize soil modification.

The verti-draining process will take approximately 12 hours to complete, however back filling of holes with topdressing is a slow and tedious process and will take hopefully no more than three days to complete.  Green surfaces must be completely dry for us to work the sand back into the holes.

The last time our greens were deep tined was in 2005.  Here is a picture of a deep tine hole filled with sand that no longer functions effectively as it is cut off from the surface.  Normally you would find turf roots filling this column.  Channels cut to the surface will greatly assist in surface drainage hopefully minimizing our exposure to surface waters that caused substantial winter kill to our putting green the past two winters.  This is just the first step of many that we should be doing to guard against turf loss.  Thanks for your patience.  _Mk

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ready or not?

Almost ten weeks to the day #14 green was closed for renovation I've reopened her for play. It's amazing what six years worth of "normal" fertility can do to push a grow-in.  Please be advised that this green will look and putt differently for the remainder of this golfing season when compared to the others.  First the leaf texture will be coarse. This is due to all the extra fertility. The plants are "juiced-up" all fat and sassy!  Secondly, this green will putt a little slower as we will be taking it into winter at Tri-City greens height of cut to promote deeper rooting of the new turf.  Enjoy.  _Mk

Here's a reminder of what she looked like after a weeks worth of pounding from tournament golf, outings, excessive heat and drought.  Not much grass but did stimp 25 feet.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Winding down.

Six weeks ago I posted this picture of full greens mower baskets after mowing or "harvesting" grass after cutting a single green! (8/30/2012.)

The turf was "juiced" on fertility and under no growth regulation.  I posted this photo to demonstrate the rate of plant growth between daily mowing's and to explain the negative effects growth has on putting green speeds.  The plant was easily doubling its height of cut in 24 hours.  Plant growth was needed to push putting green recovery after a record shattering year of heat and drought we fought this trough this year.

Today, my baskets looked like this after "harvesting" just one green. (10/11/12.)

It is safe to say that the growing season is at an end.  The lack of growth signals a shift in greens grooming practices that favor rolling over mowing or days of doing neither.  The lack of growth is a signal to me that the time is right to start making preventative snow mold applications to the golf course.  Why?  Because expensive plant protectant chemicals are not removed from the leaf blade they were meant to protect by mowing.  So be forewarned that the course will be closed from time to time for us to make those applications.  (All products need to dry to be effective and safe.)

Speaking of "it's that time of year" as our growing season winds down I happened to notice the Forsythia by the club house blooming!  Yes blooming on October 11th, 2012.

Notice the purple of the foliage caused by frost!  The weather has had the better of me all year and has left the plants confused as well.  Do you suppose, in the light of climate change, I should be making pre-emergant Crabgrass applications before the blossoms fall?  Just wondering.  _Mk

Garbage time

Heading out onto the course after a night filled with cold Northwest winds, it always amazes me how we go from this;

to this in 5 to 6 hours!  A course playable and free of debris.  No more "Leaf Rule!"

And a woods that looks like this;

to this!  It all happens because we have good equipment and operators!

There will be little trouble locating your ball and playing a shot from there.  It wasn't that long ago that the leaves were "swept" up and hauled to a burn pile that grew to the size of a fairly large house for disposal. Today we blow leaves into the woods and mulch in place.  This practice saves both time (labor) and fuel.  The recycled leaves are good for the trees and the environment.  Pure pine needle straw is used to mulch the many pine stands we have.  If you have played recently you may have noticed the piles.
But when the ill Northwest winds blow, your course can go from clean to this in 10 minutes!
When it raining leaves (if you listen carefully, it does sound like rain,) it does not pay to keep chasing the same leaf across the course, we cut our loses and focus on something else.  Enjoy your course.  _Mk

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"True Colors"

October 2nd, 2012. 

Dear Members:

Fall is just about every one's favorite time of year.  Enjoy the beauty of your course!  _Mk