Thursday, July 30, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015

White turf?
The last two seasons we have incorporated a newer herbicide into out grassy weed control program that controls goosegrass , crabgrass, and common bermuda grass, along with limited control of a few species of broadleaf weeds.
It works by disrupting carotenoid biosynthesis and chlorophyll production, causing photosynthesis to stop. Without the plant able to convert sunlight to energy, the plant uses up its stored carbohydrates and then dies. This process takes approximately three weeks. In some plants, such as common bermuda grass, several applications are needed to control the plant.
You are not seeing ghosts or snow! 
Yet, you can see where we have used this chemistry, and how well it is working!

Friday, July 3, 2015

July 2, 2015

A few topics…
In May we had little rain – less than an inch – yet June brought close to 9 inches and was the wettest June since 1920, missing the record by less than a 10th of an inch. The radar shows a line of heavy rain storms bearing down on us this morning, today, June 2nd. I am concerned that this will continue to be the summer’s pattern.
Is the rain helpful? Like with anything else, excess creates problems.  With the rain, roots have shortened up due to the lack of oxygen in the soil – more or less they were suffocated back towards the surface where there is typically more air. We are seeing this on greens, tees, and fairways, and where drainage is less than adequate, decreases in rooting is more pronounced.
On the 11th green at the bottom right front corner where the soil becomes saturated and cannot drain due to  its poor construction, and the clay layer underneath, anaerobic conditions have taken over. Sulfur dioxide, a product of anaerobic respiration, has damaged the turf roots, weakening the plants to the point where anthracnose, downy mildew, and differing species of pythium have easily able to attacked  and thinned patches of poa. We have been solid tining the area and we also ran the verti-quake through this section. Pesticides do help reduce the populations of attacking fungi, but cannot overcome the wet conditions. We are continuing to do our best to remedy this situation.
As you can see, the rain causes other problems for the turf and the staff. It took five of us to lift and pull this cart, buried to the axle, out of a wet area behind the 9th green. The person was taking a shortcut off the cart path that at best might have saved him 10 seconds. It ended up costing the staff 7 labor hours.

I don’t want to rant, but we are finding and plugging out divots on greens…1 last week, 2 this week…


Friday, June 5, 2015

June 6, 2015

Dr. Albrecht Koppenhoffer from Rutgers University and his team of graduate students were here last Tuesday morning collecting turf and soil samples from the Annual Bluegrass Weevil study plots on the 7th fairway. Over one hundred samples of turf and the underlying thatch layer were taken. Dr. Kopppenhoffer also, by request, took samples from outside the study area which we have been treating per our program to evaluate how “clean” we are.
If you have been following this blog, you can appreciate how much damage this hard to control insect is. Adults lay eggs in shortly cut poa annua turf, predominately in the fairways, tees, greens collars, and sometimes along the outer edges of the greens. The larvae feed inside the sheath of the turfgrass plant and after the third instar, drill out and feed on the crown, or the growing point, of the plant. This feeding kills the plant. After feeding on the plant, the larvae bury underneath the thatch layer in the soil and pupate into an adult that will mature to lay eggs, repeating the cycle several times per year. Due to the nature of the “beast”, all stages – adult, larvae, pupae – can exist in turf at the same time. Each stage requires different control chemistries and the weevil can easily and rapidly develop resistance to insecticides used to control the different stages of growth. An insecticide that works one time may not work the next. The trick is not only timing the growth stage and applying the correct pesticide, but also to change them up so that resistance does not get out of control. Unfortunately, there are very few insecticides that treat the Annual Bluegrass Weevil at each stage, so choices of control and rotation are very limited.  On some courses, nothing works well enough to prevent widespread damage. Luckily, we have not reached that point, and one of the reasons that we were chosen for this study is because we have a population of weevils that hasn’t developed serious resistance.
We have been pretty good with rotating chemistries and timing applications, but we have only been treating for five years. Courses that have been treating weevils for far longer have developed resistance, which is no fault of the superintendent. With so few controls, resistance is bound to happen at some point. Our goal is to try to keep it at a minimum for as long as we can.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015

The following weather data chart sums up the challenges that we are having lately – a serious lack of meaningful precipitation. The other day, May 21, we received a slow, soaking .63” rain which was helpful but still was only a temporary reprieve, as it wasn’t enough to relieve the long term drying out that we have been, and are, experiencing.

Tabular data for barchart ... 
Starting Date
Ending Date
# of Days
Actual Pcpn
Normal Pcpn
Surplus / Deficit
% of Normal

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

Just a little break from talking turfgrass…

This year we have witnessed a lot of varied wild life throughout the course-
The foxes are back. There is a pair living off the 10th fairway in the brambles on the right. They have at least three kits that I have been able to see.  I see the adults hunting as far away as #15, carrying birds, rabbits, and squirrels back to the den. At times I like having the foxes around, but when they begin to dig in the fairways and sometimes on greens, I get angry with them. When they do this, we use repellants the best we can.

Over head we have seen red tail hawks – a pair has taken up residence in the trees between #12 and #11. Another pair is nesting along the left side of 15. Years ago we had a pair that was nesting  in the treed area right of the 14th hole. Our former Food and Beverage/ Banquet Manager Denise Sullivan    (God bless her always – I will always remember her) would tell me stories of their offspring coming over to her porch and scaring off the song birds she loved so much!!!

Also overhead we have sighted bald eagles, sharp shin hawks, cormorants, kestrels, and ospreys. I could list more! And in the ponds we have seen wood ducks, herons, mallards, black ducks, cranes, and kingfishers.

I could go on…

Its important to have wildlife on a golf course because it shows that we not only are taking care of the course, but of the land. A golf course that has no wildlife is a symptom of poor stewardship – not only of wildlife, but of it members. It all goes hand in hand.

By the way, soon the snapping turtles will be coming out of the 12th pond to lay eggs…Careful! They bite!