Friday, August 30, 2013

Pythium Spp.

The Stubborn High Pressure system stalled in the Midwest has pumped tropical air and heat (the dampest/warmest air of the summer,) into our area the past several days has created an environment perfect for Pythium development.  This disease is capable of killing turf in a matter of hours.  Spreads like wildfire under foot, mowers and on golf cart wheels.  This disease develops rapidly when dew points are in the upper 60's and 70's like we've experienced here lately.  Some grasses are more susceptible than others.  The disease has the appearance of a bread mold and for that reason it sometimes goes by the name "Cottony Blight." The disease pictured above came from the Fescue seed evaluation plots that are constantly damp due to frequent irrigation needed to germinate seedlings for establishment.  The perfect scenario for this disease development.  I haven't detected Pythium on the course yet, but I'm certain it is lurking beneath in the turfs canopy on our lower holes in shaded areas that stay moist later into the day.  As a side note; I last detected this disease on your course in 1986, my first year here as your new Golf Course Superintendent.  _Mk

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Old Habits Never Die

"Old Habits Never Die," such as the marking of dead and or dying trees on the golf course. The Black/Red Oaks pictured above were killed by the persistent and opportunistic Oak Wilt Fungus.  The fungus multiplies in the vascular bundles of the trees clogging the arteries preventing the uptake of water and nutrients. White Oaks "tolerate" fungal attack barely.  Wood County is classified as a hot spot for this disease.  The fungus is spread by the wind and invades the trees through open wounds caused by storm damage or saw cuts at the wrong time of the year. (April through October.) The fungus can be moved into new areas in firewood.  It is recommended that firewood piles be covered using plastic tarps to minimize the fungal spread by wind.
The marking of trees to be removed by us in the "off season" has become habitual to us.  "The Dead Tree Rolls" tally as of 8/16/2013 is:  (Who needs Imprelis?)
Bull's Eye
  • 39 Oaks
  • 10 Pine
Tri City
  • 16 Oaks
  • 15 Pine
Doing the math, that makes 55 Oaks and 25 Pines that need to be removed after the leaves finish falling and the grass stops growing this fall.  Tree removal is done in house by us usually beginning in November until the time snow becomes too deep to move about the course. _Mk

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Too Wet, Too Dry

The recent below normal weather pattern we've been experiencing had me thinking.  When was the last time I turned off the irrigation system?  It's been awhile. 

With the cool weather the course has been holding together nicely. We've taken advantage of the weather to complete some badly needed aerification and inter-seeding projects, something you typically would not dare to do in early August.  Our cool season grasses are enjoying it and so am I.  This is something we couldn't say last year. 

Back in June the farmers were concerned about getting their crops in the field yet today my home lawn is getting a little bit crispy and even with watering only needs to be cut every other week.  On the course I could see that the pond is a full six inches lower than full.  Rocks normally in the water are now standing on a dry shoreline.

My irrigation records told the story.  July 9th was the last time we've received rainfall greater than a quarter of an inch.  Any rains we've seen since then that approach a quarter of an inch came in short 5 minute bursts that runoff the property before benefiting us or come at us sideways as they did the night of the wind that felled the oak tree on 16 green.  I'm not complaining but we could use a good soaker.

Speaking of #8 pond.  The fountain is broken and in the shop for repairs.  I'm hoping it is returned to us shortly as the weeds continue to bloom in the stagnant water.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dodged Bullet: No more!

I was beginning to wonder if this would be the year we escaped storm damage.  The high winds that tore through the area at Midnight Wednesday put and end to that thought.  Our on course weather station recorded a wind speed of 36 MPH and a paltry .22" of an inch of rain.  A quick tour of the course suggested light damage overall.  Tops of few trees missing, a limb here a stick there.  I've witnessed worse and reminded myself of the wind storm of 2001 when we lost over three hundred tree. Some of that damage you can still see today if you know were to look.

Then I turned the dogleg on #16 and found myself muttering "Oh Crap."  The largest black oak on the course was now laying directly on the green.  This didn't really surprise me as this tree had been in decline and hollow for as long as I've been here.  With the passing of nearly every strong storm I could count on finding at least one major limb waiting to be cut up.  Here's a few photo's.

Damage to the putting surface is being repaired by seeding, topdressing and the larger scarred sections will be "plugged" with sod taken from our nursery.  This will be an ongoing process.
 I looked at my soil temperatures on August 2, 2013 around 2 PM and found them to be 68 and 69 degrees at 2 and 4 inch depths.  Last year during the drought, they were over 85 degrees.  The irrigation water we pull from the river was over 90 degrees last year, it's cool to the touch coming from the wash rack hoses this year.  I'm enjoying the fall like summer we've seen to date and the turf is much happier too.  _Mk