Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 25, 2010

The other day, as the snow from the previous few storms began to melt away, we discovered a small bit of grey snow mold on the newly sodded tees. The new sod is “succulent”, due that we were pushing it with extra nitrogen to grow it in when it really wanted to go dormant. Also, the turf covers, placed over these tees to protect them from the whims of winter weather, produced a layer of humidity between the turf and the snow. These conditions created the environment that grey snow mold needs for growth and infection. We had treated these tees preventively before the snow, but the protection had run out – most fungicides don’t last more than a few weeks even in the best of conditions.

As soon as we saw the snow mold, we shoveled off the remaining snow from the tees and pulled back the covers. We kept the covers off for a few days to facilitate air exchange, and then re treated the tees with a granular fungicide. With the snow still deep in many places, and the underlying ground soggy, we had to “walk in” the spreader and the bags of fungicide – it was no easy task. Soon after we applied the fungicide, we replaced the covers on the tees.

Today it has begun to snow again, and the moisture levels are still overwhelmingly high, re enforcing the conditions that produce winter diseases (moisture produces diseases in any season). We will keep on it, watching and treating as we can, hoping that soon the weather will dry out and give the turf a very needed break from all the wetness we’ve experienced recently - but really, we've been wet since the spring of 2009.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ferbruary 22, 2010

Probably best not to drink the water, ‘cause something must be in it!

Recently, many on our staff are being blessed!
- Silvio Villalba and his wife welcomed a son the first week of January.
- Blanca Diaz is expecting her second child, due in late June.
- Clara Martinez is expecting her second child, due in August.

And as you probably have heard, Bucky and his wife recently welcomed their third child on February 18!

…I think that I am going to stick to drinking soda for a while, just to be safe!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 17, 2010

We still have about 6” of snow on the ground…but we are busy!

Faro has been very busy working on equipment, and has just begun tuning up the greens aerators. In the picture he is re- welding the frame of one of our older aerators – these machines take a beating, punching holes in hard, compacted ground! He’ll be going over the whole machine these next few days – checking bearings, tightening bolts, replacing tines, adjusting chains and linkages, greasing pivots, checking the engine… Then he will do the same for our other two aerators.

Meanwhile, Isabella and Ellie have been repairing and painting tee markers, ball washers, and cleaning and prepping equipment that not too long from now will be out on the course!

Outside, Jose and Baldemero are working with assistant superintendent Chris Lare, beginning the daunting task of cleaning up the tree debris from the February 6th blizzard.

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 12, 2010

This week we have endured two snow storms, both technically categorized as blizzards by the National Weather Service. The first storm came last Saturday and released a fury of hurricane force winds and a blinding snow. Snow accumulations were as high as 20" and drifts exceeded 3' in many places. Wednesday, just when we were about finished digging out from Saturday, the second blizzard came out of the mid west and formed a low off the NJ shore, which eventually pushed north up the coast, sparing us from another heavy accumulation, but still leaving us with 4" of new snow.

The snow really does not hurt the turf. Actually, the snow cover insulates the turf from the cold air, and helps prevent wind caused dessication. The problem that could be, is that if the snow does stay for an extended period of time and/ or forms a suffocating sheet of ice over the grass, it could cause toxic conditions to form by blocking the exchange of air and gasses. This is rare, but if you recall, it happened to many courses in the Philadelphia area in the early nineties when ice laid on the greens for well over six weeks! We have a long time to go yet before we need to worry about that!

Another problem that could occur is the threat of cold weather disease. The melting of snow causes excess water, which breeds certain cold weather fungi that can attack the turf. Like Gilda Radnor's character Rosanna Rosanna Danna would say, "it just goes to show, it's always something!" I am not concerned about it now, but I will need to be on my toes and stay ready for it. Once again, there will be plenty of time to worry about that later.

What did get hurt were many trees - mostly the cedars and white pines. The snow stuck to the green boughs and weighted the "cold made brittle" branches to the point of snapping off. The damage is everywhere, and it will take us some time to clean up the broken limbs, take down "hangers", and prune back the snags. These trees will make it, but many have lost their symmetry and will look contorted and lopsided for years to come. Near the 14th green, two tall native pines leaned over with the weight of the snow and uprooted. These we will have to take down.

The forecast is for sunny skies this coming week. I am hoping the snow will melt and that we can begin getting things cleaned up so that you can get back on the course!